Luxury & Fashion
Oct 1, 2015
The Soft Touch of Silk
Originally founded as Shakshambana Silks in 1984, the company was renamed Mulberry Silks Limited in 2002. Starting as a three person operation, Mulberry today employs around 400 people and carries on business in over 30 countries. In addition, it services over 50 brands in home furnishings and interiors all over the world.
The brand's philosophy is based on the principle of being in close touch with the customers' wants and needs and to fulfill them, as and when they arise. It is their satisfaction that is the main objective of the brand, and according to them, no standards are too high for what they have set out to do.
The brand takes under consideration the lives of the employees and, as such, provides medical insurance and employee provident fund, as well as performance related incentives and bonuses. There is an emergency fund for the employees to take care of unexpected events, a free education program for children until whatever stage they choose to study, overseas training programs for both design and production staff, appraisal linked career planning and a loan clearance assistance program.
The brand has been awarded the prestigious Indian Silk Promotion Council Award consecutively for the last ten years, and is also a Government of India recognized export house. Mulberry hasn't lost a single partner in 20 years.
The brand's design philosophy states that the best designs are the simplest, those that are easily understood and that are easy to identify with. They have now developed programs with leading designers, mainly from the European Union & the USA, with very good results, also collaborating with leading design institutes in India and abroad to place students for internships.
Today, Mulberry's has a 1000m2 facility at the corporate headquarters, and is currently collaborating with two leading designers – one from Germany and the other from France – while having regular joint developments with a leading studio in the USA and studios all over Europe. With a 350 ton dyeing & twisting facility, 40 power looms, 16 rapier looms, and 9 recently added embroidery machines from Japan, the brand is presently jointly working with Japanese partners to expand the scope of the present embroidery technology. They also have 10 handheld embroidery frames manned by approximately two hundred craftsmen.
The sources for silk yarn are China and Brazil. For the blends, the wool is from Australia and linen from Belgium. The silk yarn is only Grade 5A and above, and all yarn is tested by the Central Silk Board of India in strict compliance with its own rigorous world class standards. While the international fabric quality compliance standard is 6 defects per 50 yards, Mulberry's internal standard is 5 defects per 50 yards. They keep records of all defects and lot details for easy traceability and manually check every inch of the fabric. Packaging is eco-friendly and the little plastic that is used is reusable, complying with the American/European standard of packaging.
The History of Silk
In the 3rd century B.C., Chinese silk fabrics were beginning to find their way throughout the whole of Asia, transported overland to the West, and by sea to Japan, in long itineraries known as the Silk Roads. It was in Asia that the Romans discovered these wondrous fabrics but they knew nothing of their origin.
In 552 A.D., the Emperor Justinian sent two monks on a mission to Asia, and they came back to Byzantium with silkworm eggs hidden inside their bamboo walking sticks. From then on, sericulture spread throughout Asia Minor and Greece.
Sericulture and Silk Industry importance in India comes from at least the second century B.C. According to historians, raw silk was exported during the reign of Kanishka in 58 B.C. During the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries sericulture flourished in the states of Bengal, Mysore and Kashmir. India is the only country in the world to cultivate all the commercially useful varieties of silk.