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Designer clothes, anyone? Get a dress made of spice-dyed fabric

india Updated: Feb 16, 2014 20:04 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times
spice-dyed fabric

Always wanted to spice up your wardrobe? Here's how.

The Spices Board of India is all set to launch a unique spice-dyed fabric which is eco-friendly and with healing properties to boot.

The fabric would be officially launched during the 12th World Spice Congress, which got under way on Sunday at Kochi. Delegates from around 40 countries are attending the three-day summit.

"We will finalise the fabric's marketing strategies during the congress. Besides domestic buyers, we are eying the international market in a big way. It is part of our initiative to explore new avenues for value-added products," said Spices Board of India chairman A Jayathilak.

The board's experts said that garments made of the fabric would cost 20% to 25% more than ordinary cloth.

The fabric has been made using a unique dying method where "cloth, spices, herbs and Ayurveda -- the ancient Indian science of healing -- are blended properly".

Some of the major spices used in the fabric are cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, clove, cinnamon and turmeric.

"80% of all the spices are used in culinary items. We want to give a new perspective, a fresh aroma to spices by weaning it away from kitchens. So we're planning many value-added products like this," Jayathilak added.

Initially, these spice-dyed apparels would be available at the Spices Board of India's signature store, located at a leading mall in Kochi.

Many foreign countries and airport outlets have already evinced keen interest in the fabric, he added.

"Last year we launched spice chocolate and it turned out to be a big hit. In the World Economic Forum in Davos these chocolates were well appreciated. This encouraged us to go for more diversification," Jayathilak said.

The board's R&D wing developed the fabric after more than two years of experiments.

Spice farmers and handloom workers are upbeat hoping the venture will open new avenues for them.

"Turmeric-laced cloth fights skin diseases and it is in great demand in Europe and Russia where cold climatic condition prevails," said Satish Kumar of the Handloom Weavers' Development Society in Balaramapuram, on the outskirt of the city.

World spice leader, India produces 50 varieties of spice with a total production is about 2.7 million tonne. Indian spices are exported to 150 countries worldwide.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, sea-farers from European and South American countries regularly set out on voyages in search of a sea route to India – the home of exotic spices.

It was Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama who reached Kozhikode in 1498 in search of "black gold" (pepper) which eventually led to the colonization of the country.

Centuries later, Indian spices are all set to storm the world in a different avatar.

So, the next time you step out to shop for clothes, you could perhaps try out a dress with the aroma of cardamom. Or cinnamon.

Like they say, variety is the spice of life.