The popularity of silk in the ahimsa espousing Hindu-Buddhist cultures of Asia is one of those head-scratching contradictions the region throws up from time to time.

After all, the silk extraction process involves boiling the poor mulberry worms alive. In India, efforts have been made in recent years to produce an ahimsa silk, which entails waiting for the mulberry worm to mature into a moth before getting at the cocoon. And in Myanmar and Cambodia, weavers have turned to a more ancient kind of textile that doesn’t involve mulberry at all: lotus silk.

Producing a textile out of lotus fibres is an extremely labor-intensive process, requiring almost two months to produce the fabric to make up a single jacket. As you can imagine the end product is very expensive.

But then, instead of paying several thousand dollars for a brand name product that is probably made in a Chinese factory anyway, why not put the same money to better use in supporting a sustainable, ecologically-sound product that provides a dignified livelihood to women in these developing economies?