Like all Silk Chassis scarves, Saraswati silks are woven by hand. When I first discovered them, I was surprised and impressed by their quality: the fine, regular weave, neat selvedge (the edges) - not to mention the striking reversible colourways.
When you consider these are woven entirely by hand on decades-old looms, it brings new (or perhaps old) meaning to notions of luxury, quality and craftsmanship.
It should be no surprise then that each Saraswati silk scarf takes between 1.5 and 2 days to weave (excluding setting up the loom).
They are woven in a small workshop in a Varanasi alleys or gali, or in rural homes not far from the city. ‘Right now I have six looms in the workshop and 21 looms in the countryside in a cottage industry – the weavers are mostly farmers who weave in their free time from farming,’ says Mr Khan.
Mostly, men weave and women fill the bobbins with silk and place the warp (vertical) threads on the loom, in preparation for weaving.
Remarkably, 19th century English looms are still used by commercial weavers in parts of India. While Varanasi’s may not be from that era, they do have a certain patina. Mr Khan explains: ‘Only older looms are used in the handloom industry. Very few changes have come in the last century or more in handlooms.’