KOCHI: Japanese national Sachiko Betsumei’s first visit to Kerala three years ago was as a tourist. She had heard so much about God’s own country and was particularly drawn to its way of life. This curiosity took her one day to Balaramapuram town, a few kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram, which is known for the traditional handloom textile industry.
There she was introduced to Ayurvastra, a new-age initiative where handloom fabrics made by the weavers are dipped in ayurvedic dye. Impressed by this eco-friendly textile method, Sachiko, who was an aromotherapist, gave up her job and started her own textile line called the ‘Ayurvedic Haramaki’, in March. This naturally dyed women’s underwear is being promoted and sold in Japan. The word, ‘Haramaki’, means stomach warming cloth and what sets her brand apart is the use of these natural ayurvedic dyes.
Satchiko, who was in Kochi recently, said it was her visit to the Ayurvastra Fabrics Kairali Exports which gave her an insight about the eco-friendly method. She spent many days visiting the factory and learning how the weavers went about their craft. “I was fascinated with the 100% natural dyeing process. In Japan, people are turning to India’s natural methods, like the Ayurveda. I know many people who are learning this alternative science in Japan. This fascination for natural herbal methods is increasing in my country, which is why I realised there is a huge scope for such natural clothing. I believe the demand will increase over the years,” said Satchiko.
Though she does not make or sell men’s underwear, she plans to do so in the future. Apart from this, she sells leg warmers and socks, bedsheets and yoga mats. She procures the products from India and sells it in the Japanese market.“Currently, I sell through my online shop and during exhibitions. I plan to start a full-fledged shop in the future,” she said.