Power to the consumer
Silk, an integral part of the Indian household, finds its way into our festive lives and merrier moments. Indeed, India happens to be the world’s largest consumer of silk, and also its second-largest producer. Not only this, India produces all four known commercially exploited natural silk varieties: namely mulberry, eri, tasar and muga.
The high demand within the country has unfortunately led to malpractices in the silk market across the value chain. Adulteration with lookalike, inferior fibres like nylon, rayon, viscose and polyesters, which cost hardly 10 per cent of pure silk, is rampant. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to detect fakes, and therefore inferior products are passed on as pure silk, thus depriving consumers of real value and their money’s worth.
In such an environment, a label of assurance becomes the all-important guarantee for the consumer. That’s how the Silk Mark label came into thought – and existence. Approved and launched during 2004 by the ministry of textiles, Government
of India, it is implemented by the Central Silk Board through Silk Mark Organisation of India (SMOI).
Over the years, the institution has evolved and spearheaded awareness among consumers in a big way. As of today, there are more than 2,800 authorized users who are members of the Silk Mark family. Over 2.20 crore Silk Mark labels are already in use and these labels inspire confidence in buyers, who have the ‘right’ to know that what they purchase is pure silk and nothing else. The current SMOI labelling system has three types of labels: a hang tag with a hologram; a sew-in label with a hologram; and a fusion label with nano particles. Each of these labels can be traced to the respective authorized user through a unique number placed on them. For hangtag labels, a unique ID is placed either in the hologram or on the hang tag. In the case of sew-in labels, the hologram carries the unique ID. Each fusion label too carries a unique ID.
The Silk Mark label is provided only to certified vendors and traders in pure silk, who are then authorized by SMOI to display the Silk Mark on genuine silk products. All such ‘authorized users’ of the label are members of SMOI, and governed by its rules, regulations and oversight. SMOI has a team of qualified, trained and experienced silk technologists who periodically conduct tests on Silk Mark-labelled products through their testing laboratories in major cities, and in the silk manufacturing and marketing clusters throughout India.
Further, to enable consumers to source pure silk products from different silk clusters of the country and provide a platform to authorized users to promote their pure silk products, SMOI conducts a series of Silk Mark Expos in various cities across the country. These expos provide an opportunity for silk lovers to be exposed to a range of silk products from different weaving clusters, all under one roof.