The Handloom Textile Industry in Sri Lanka has a centuries old history. The legendary story of Kuveni, a princess of Lanka found spinning cotton when Prince Vijaya first arrived in our land, suggests that there has been a textile industry even before 2,500 years ago. This tradition of handloom weaving has been brought down from generation to generation in the country. The Sri Lankan weavers succeeded in creating a distinct identity of their own by transforming the traditional woven patterns and colour schemes into the beautiful textile designs. Presently, Sri Lankan handloom weavers use traditional looms for producing textiles, but in order to tap the modern day domestic as well as global market they need to adapt to new designs and technology. A truly Sri Lankan entrepreneur, Kandygs Pvt Limited has taken up this challenge and pioneered a project to weave handloom with bamboo yarn. The project was started off with the support of the governments, provided the weavers design training by the Academy of Design, in addition to the training on quality and entrepreneurship. At present Kandygs have stepped into support rural weavers and have started working with them by giving them design and good quality yarn, and finding a market for their products.
“Kandygs have worked with bamboo fabrics for a while and we have imported bamboo yarn as similar way we import cotton yarn and have already done a collection of products. We bring down bamboo yarn and dye them here in our factories and hand weaves the fabrics out of that yarn. We have already started exporting bamboo yarn fabrics to many countries for which we have quite a good demand since it’s a purely eco-friendly product which is produced by using 100 percent natural raw materials,” said the Design Director of Kandygs Pvt Ltd, Anuradha Yahampath.
The bamboo fabrics, known for its luxurious feeling on the skin, is soft like cashmere and shines like silk, and is perfect for our climate as it is permeable and breathes actively thereby cooling the body. What’s more amazing about this fabric is the fact that it does not stick to the body, but holds its shape well. Bamboo is the largest member of grass family and the fastest growing woody plant. It grows in diverse climates, making the bamboo plant a sustainable and versatile resource. Bamboo has many ecological advantages through sustainable land use, grows easily without pesticides or fertilizers. It regenerates after harvesting without a need for re-planting and is a good carbon sink. It can also be grown easily in river banks in Sri Lanka which in turn will help to prevent soil erosion.
The fashion statements these bamboo fabrics can make, is amazing that if you could step into their newly located store, there you will find an array of shawls, clothes and materials, which are perfect for a night out in the town, and the colours and designs that have been used makes you brighten up instantly.
“We showcased a collection of fashion wear made with bamboo fabric at the recently concluded Design Festival. Our objective of this was to show the fantastic properties of the bamboo fabric that are suitable for clothing,” she says adding that the response she got has been very positive but admits that there is a long way to go.
There are so many skilled handloom manufacturers in our country that don’t have the correct guidance to produce good and quality products which has a higher market potential in overseas. Kandygs have introduced and trained them to use bamboo yarn which they can use to produce better ecological product which has a high demand in locally and internationally. The Ministry of Economic Development through setting up and equipping a Centre to coordinate the work of the weavers as well as to facilitate sales supported the project.
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