Sustainability of Silks and Linens
It is believed that silk was discovered in China over 5,000 years ago at the sites of Yangshao culture in Xia County, Shanxi, by Princess XI Lingshi, where a silk cocoon dropped in her cup of tea whilst sitting under a Mulberry tree.
There are lots of different types of silks. We are going to focus on the two most sustainable silks, Peace Silk and Matka Silk.
Peace silks, also know as Ahimsa silk in India, is a peaceful production way of breeding and harvesting silk because no silkworms die in producing silks. It's manufactured under the most stringent social and environmental standard in India.
The Silkworm breeding takes place under the most natural conditions. Even the trees where the silkworms grow are not treated with fungicides, insecticides or genetic sprays. The entire tree is covered with a net, similar to a mosquito net, to protect the caterpillars and leaves from other insects or birds.
Once the silkworms have spun the cocoons, they are kept sheltered until the pupae hatch out of the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. This process can take up to four weeks, which slows down the production but fundamentally produces silk non-violently. Once the butterflies have left their cocoons, the cocoons are processed without the use of harmful chemicals. Vyne Silk, Vienne Silk and Soho Silk are all products of peace silks.
Matka is essentially any upcycled silk made from the short threads that have broken away from the main filament and are therefore unsuitable for conventional silk production. To make Matka silk, these short threads are spun into yarns with a slightly uneven texture and less of a shine than conventional silk, as they are made up of several broken threads. This results in a unique fabric with a slightly more matte appearance than conventional silk, although it shimmers very subtly when placed in sunlight. The threads' spun nature means that they are slightly thicker than conventional silk but still very soft, giving it a feel between cotton and cashmere. Kashmiri and Simla from our collection are produced by Matka silks. Silk is considered a more sustainable fibre. It is a renewable resource, can biodegrade, and uses less water, chemicals, and energy than many other fibres.
When you are buying silk, you are helping small villages and communities earn a decent living. The silk industry - also known as sericulture - provides employment to rural populations, with around one million workers in China and 7.9 million workers in India. In some parts of India, sericulture has been an important enterprise for developing communities, particularly for women's empowerment.
Linen is one of the most sustainable fabrics known. The beauty of linen is that it can be grown anywhere globally, and its production is so simple. The natural colour of linen can be stunning depending on how natural fibres of the flax are treated.
The colour of linen can vary from creamy white or light tan. Linen can also hold dye colours which makes them perfect for many different colours. Made from a flax plant to produce linen, the plant is either cut or pulled from the ground naturally; once the plant is degraded, the entire plant can be used, making the production of linen with 0% waste.
There are many different environmental benefits of linen. One of them is totally natural material and biodegradable, which means it won't sit in a landfill site, one of the biggest causes of global warming. The farmers that grow flax must stay clear of using pesticides and other bad chemicals to keep it as an organically grown fibre as possible.