There is no doubt that silk is a queen of fabrics. It is a completely natural fiber with triangular structure that makes it iridescent.
Besides it's lustre and beauty, silk has some other praised characteristics:
1. It is the most hypoallergenic of all fibers, due to it's natural protein structure.
2. All climate fabric. The silk absorbs up to 30% of it's weight in moisture without feeling damp, so it's great for summer garments (absorbs the perspiration and lets your skin breathe). It is also great for underneath garments because it doesn't add bulk, which makes it good for winter.
3. Robust and strong. Its smooth surface resists soil and odors well; is wrinkle and tear resistant, and dries quickly. It easily competes with steel yarn in tensile strength. The silk garment is longlasting and that makes it eco freindly and sustainable - slow fashion.
4. Light and takes color well. That means that to paint silk it takes less color and thus it is more sustainable and eco friendly.
There is also a wonderfull TED talk video about silk!
What can we do?
There is not much space for improving the process of silk production, it is what it is for last 4500 years and, unfortunately, includes death of silkworms. As much as I am not comfortable with animal cruelty, these moths are no longer capabale of living in natural environment, so if there is no silk production, there is no silk-worms too.
I explored this issue quite a lot and found that there are so called ahimsa (non-violent) or peace silk fabrics, produced in a way that lets moths exit the cocoon alive. As much as it sounds great, there is an issue of moths laying eggs that are then being destroyed, sold as food or starved. And even if they were taken care of, there are too many of them, so it would be impossible to raise them all.
It seems like in order to preserve the eri silkworm, it must be killed. The way I like to view this is that silkworm may be dead, but it's beatiful silk lives and floats with artistic designs like wings that moth is no longer able to produce.
For some of my desings where I apply silk in a way that can be fused with other fibers, I use recycled silk from sari factories in Nepal. There are two suppliers I would like to introduce you to, because I really admire their ethical business. Darn Good Yarn and Hippie Chicks Fiber Art
What they do is best described by Nicole Snow, owner od DGY:
And if that is not enough, remember that silk is completely bio-degradable, perfect slow-fashion high quality and durable fabric that doesn't add up waste and takes way less water to clean than any other fabric.
Don't compromise your style and attitude!
Though silk is beautiful and lustrous, due to it's beneficial charcteristics for people and environment it would be more appropriately called slow-fashion.
Silk is a high quality and durable fabric and will make a long lasting garment, not a waste.
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More details about silk and wool positive characteristics read in About Silk section..×