The new buzz word in the fashion industry seems to be vegan leather. So what is vegan leather and is it ethical, eco friendly and sustainable? In this post we will look at what vegan leather is and the options that are available and also look at vegan or bonded leather vs. genuine leather.
Leather comes from the skin of animals and reptiles and the basic component is rawhide. If leather is not treated, it will become stiff and fall apart as it is biodegradable. It will also be attacked by insects and other creatures that find leather a tasty snack.
This means that leather has to be “cured” before it can be used for garment and footwear production.Many years ago the tanning process of leather often involved the use of smoke, as well as vegetable tannins, salt, urine and animal faeces or even animal brains. So this was a very smelly and messy affair, so most tanneries were situated outside towns. Continue reading “What is Leather? The Rawhide from Animals”
Recycled plastic products offer an ethical alternative to the use of traditional materials. Recycling of plastic is becoming more and more important as more people are becoming aware of the environmental problems surrounding plastic waste.
The spread of this environmental sensibility has also led fashion to question itself on how to do its part, with more and more clothing brands beginning to propose collections using environmentally sustainable fabrics.
Plastic is one of the biggest contributors to materials that damage the environment and each year about 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans. From packaging to plastic bags, bottles, food containers and other single use plastic products, the waste builds up very quickly, causing even more damage to our planet.
Fabric dye is the colored substance that enable fibers and materials to be colored. It bonds chemically to the material that it is applied to. This makes fabric dyes different from pigments as pigments don’t chemically bond to the material that they color. Fabric dyes are easily soluble in water whereas pigments are insoluble.
To get a better understanding of what is fabric dye, we need to look at the different kinds of dyes, which are either natural or synthetic (artificial).
Recycling of fabric is the process whereby old clothing and other textiles are recovered for reuse or recovery of the fabric. Upcycling or repurposing can all add another bit of life to your garments before finally saying goodbye to them. Recycling of fabric could then be the final step.
Coir coconut fiber is a natural cellulose fiber which is obtained from coconut husk. It is the fibrous material that is found between the outer coat of a coconut and the hard internal shell. Copra is the dried coconut kernels from which coconut oil is obtained. Coir coconut fiber comes from a natural and renewable source and is one of the latest eco-friendly alternatives for textiles. Continue reading “Coir – the Natural Fiber from Coconut Husk”
Synthetic fibers vs natural fibers – which one is better to wear? Synthetic fibers are made by humans with chemical synthesis through a process of polymerization. They are different to natural fibers that are derived from living organisms with little or no chemical changes. Synthetic fibers were first developed to try to replace natural fibers as the demand for textiles for clothing was exceeding the supply.
Linen fabric is a textile that is made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is a natural cellulose fiber and comes from the inside of the stalks of the flax plant. Flax is an annual herb and is grown as a food and also a fiber crop. It is grown in warm moist climates around the world and has been cultivated for more than 6,000 years.
So where does Linen Fabric come from?
Flax that is used for textile production is known as linen in Western countries. The stalks are used making linen fabric, while the seeds are used as a food source and the oil is known as linseed oil.
Flax fiber is extracted from the bast beneath the surface of the stem of the plant. Linen fibers are lustrous, strong and flexible and absorbent. They are stronger and driers quicker than cotton, but are less elastic. To make linen fabric is a laborious process but it produces a textile that is cool and fresh to wear in hot and humid climates. Continue reading “Linen Fabric and Flax Cultivation”
Sericulture: the cultivation of silk for production of silk fabrics and textiles
Silk is a natural protein fiber and the best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of mulberry silkworms. Silk for production of silk fabric comes from pupae that are bred to produce a white coloured silk thread. There are several commercial species but the Bombyx mori is the most widely used.
As a child we used to keep silk worms in a shoe box and the lid had holes poked into it to give the worms fresh air. Every day after school we used to pick fresh mulberry leaves from the tree in the garden to feed them. We were always amazed by how quickly the worms grew. Sometime we cut cardboard shapes like hearts or circles for the worms to spin on. Commercial cultivation for production of silk fabric is very controlled today.
What is wool? Wool is a natural textile fiber that is obtained from sheep and other animals that have woolly coats. It includes cashmere and mohair from goats, angora from rabbits and also qiviut from muskoxen.