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Sustainability Lesson: Vegan Silk

We’ve all heard why a plant-based diet is a lot better for us and the planet but going vegan with your fabric choices can be similarly beneficial as well. Silk has long been known as the luxurious fabric of choice when it comes to evening wear, wedding gowns and even lingerie, but little regard is given to the unethical practices that go behind creating that very fibre. 

We are all too familiar with the beautiful stages of metamorphosis that a silkworm goes through in order to transform into a butterfly. However, the process of extracting pure silk deprives the worm of achieving that very transformation nature has destined for it. Silk is derived from the cocoons of larvae, so most of the insects raised by the industry don’t live past the pupa stage, as they are steamed or gassed alive in their cocoons. To put into perspective, approximately 3,000 silkworms are killed to make every pound of silk.

As a brand, ZAVI believes in leading by example. Which is why, it was absolutely essential that we procure vegan silk fabric instead. Vegan silk, also known as peace silk or Ahimsa silk allows the silkworm to emerge out of the cocoon naturally. Fibres from the leftover cocoon are spun together forming a silk which has the same luxurious feel of commercial silk. Peace silk is handwoven by fair trade producers in India and is sourced from the cocoons of the wild Eri silkworm, after the moths emerge and fly away.

The sustainable silk movement has also let to alternative material innovations with silk-like hybrid fibres that are being made out of plant or agricultural waste, like oranges, bananas, milk and rose petals, which use cellulose as the raw material. Italian brand ‘Orange Fiber’ is the only label which manufactures the first sustainable fabric from citrus juice by-products. Every year, 700,000 tonnes of citrus fruits are harvested in Italy, and the brand has patented a technology that extracts cellulose from the juiced leftovers that can then be transformed into a soft, luxurious silk-like fabric.

Innovative technology like this is exactly why its such an exciting time to be actively involved in the sustainable fashion circuit right now and we can’t wait for more such revolutionary fabric choices to prevail. Until then, take a look at some of the luscious peace silk offerings we have on store for you…

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-01-28

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