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Hey, it's haute!

`Jute is cute' is the message that's being spread at the Jute Show on at the C. P. Art Centre

Pic by Vino John

Friendly fibre: It's variety galore at the Jute Show. Pic by Vino John

Sneha Sridhar's dupatta, handbag, jewellery and sandals have two things in common. Besides being chic, they are made of jute. At 18, the college-goer swears by the golden fibre. Reasons: "Jute is natural. It looks delicate, yet it is sturdy. Above all, it is affordable."

Like Sneha, jute has its own fan following in the city. Little wonder, exclusive jute expos are catching on here. It is not just the diversification of the product line that's fascinating. It is the experiments as well, when it comes to colour schemes, textures and embellishments. For instance, "The Jute Show" organised by MOOWES (Marketing Organisation of Women Entrepreneurs) and TEJAA (Tamil Nadu Entrepreneurs of Jute Articles Association), showcases a wide range of products that combine utility and style. A host of entrepreneurs have displayed their creations at the show, which concludes today at the C. P. Art Centre.

Bags with the natural silken lustre embellished with a touch of embroidery, sleek suitcases and jute saris that surprisingly drape so well are some of the attractions here. "It's becoming very competitive. We entrepreneurs have to experiment and try out different finishes to stay afloat in this burgeoning market," says a stall owner, pointing out to some jute creations perked up with pretty polka dots.

Chic and cheap

"You walk into a big store and come out with very little purchases even if you spend Rs. 2,000. But for the same amount, you can get loads of jute products," says Ataullah Hossain, Marketing Manager, Jute Cottage, who has come from Bangalore, to show his collection at the exhibition. Besides beautiful bags, his line includes batuas (priced at Rs. 10) with a message `jute is cute' printed on them.

For those of you into eco-friendly textiles and home furnishing, there is a range to choose from. "Jute has high tensile strength, so it lends itself well to such creations," explains an entrepreneur, as he takes you through his line of saris in subtle hues of honey and maroon.

Says C. Shekhar of the Anakaputhur Jute Weavers Association, "As jute enters the fashion scene in a big way, some entrepreneurs like me are gradually moving away from weaving lungis to creating items in jute. What we are trying out is experimenting with textures — like jute mixed with cotton to combine comfort and chic."

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