Bamboo: from farming to fabric

bamboo from farming to fabric

The ethical wardrobe choice that delivers on style, comfort and sustainability

With so many synthetic, polluting and unsustainable fabrics out there, many of us are now looking to wear products that are more natural and ethical. Bamboo fabric is a prime example of an environmentally friendly alternative. But it isn’t just about being a bit ‘greener’ – bamboo is super-soft, antibacterial and kind to the skin. When you buy bamboo clothing, you’re looking after yourself, as well as doing a little bit to help the planet.

There is a lot more to bamboo than just being a panda’s favourite food. Here we look at the origins of the plant itself, its benefits and the types of bamboo clothing now available.

What is bamboo?

Although very different from the type that grows on our lawn, bamboo is actually a type of grass. Strong, tall and fibrous, it can grow to around 35 metres in height. Bamboo is also one of the fastest growing plants, with some varieties able to grow almost a metre (91cm to be exact) within 24 hours – you can actually hear it growing!

It is the long, strong fibres derived from the pulp of bamboo that are used to make bamboo fabric. The result is a textile that is resilient and durable, thanks to the strength and length of the plant’s fibres.

When did we first start making clothes from bamboo?

The farmers of China and Vietnam have been wearing conical hats, woven from strips of bamboo, for more than 2000 years. The Western world took quite a bit longer to catch on. It wasn’t until early the 19th century that European women began wearing corsets and bustles lined with sheets of bamboo.

Although the first patent for a bamboo textile was registered in 1881, it wasn’t until the 21st century that bamboo fabrics hit the market place. As recent demand for more sustainable fabric has increased, so has the manufacture of bamboo fabrics and fashions.

Bamboo for fabrics and clothing

What’s so special about bamboo?

There are many reasons why bamboo makes a lot of sense to those looking for a fabric which is sustainable and more environmentally friendly. Bamboo doesn’t need pesticides and fertilisers and it grows naturally, yielding the same volume as cotton while using only 10% of the land area. Bamboo takes in five times the volume of greenhouse gas than timber trees, while producing more oxygen.

Bamboo fibre under microscope

(Bamboo fibres under a microscope)

It is completely biodegradable and renewable, in comparison with synthetic fibres. The fact that bamboo fabric is made from something that only needs rain water to grow, and helps reduce pollution, makes it a sustainable choice for eco-conscious fashion industry.

Natural clothing

Aside from environmental reasons, bamboo is a superior fabric for other reasons.  Many have likened it to silk, not only because of its smooth feel but also because of its properties. It works well as underwear and activewear; it’s breathable, lightweight, antibacterial and, like silk, wicks moisture away from the skin.

  • Soft
  • Lightweight
  • Antibacterial
  • Kind to the skin
  • UV protecting
  • Moisture wicking

What’s more it is comfortable, skin-kind and fashionable; keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. It really is a fabric that can be worn all year round.

Our bamboo-cotton range

Our bamboo-cotton base layers and underwear are bestsellers. These long johns, tops and vests are much loved by everyone.  Sports enthusiasts really appreciate the comfort, lightness and moisture-wicking properties of bamboo. It makes it ideal for hiking, skiing and mountaineering.

And for those of us who prefer something a little more sedate, our bamboo tops are also very popular for the amazing way they look and feel. Soft and luxurious – bamboo-cotton drapes beautifully and has a relaxed fit.

And stay tuned; for Autumn/Winter 2017 we will be introducing facecloths and towels made from the softest bamboo.

We source only the best of fabrics. As such, we are proud to include bamboo-cotton in our collection. It’s an eco-friendly fabric, ideal for all seasons and regulates the body’s temperature. Easy to care for and easy to wash, it is a high-performance multi-facetted fabric that you’ll want to wear every day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *