Lately I have been shifting towards a greener horizon. Specifically, I have been asked to design some eco-friendly pieces for a few boutiques and I gladly took on the challenge. I am wary of labels. I don’t wish to be an eco-designer or activist at the moment. I do wish, however, to take small steps towards lessening my business’s carbon footprint by utilizing materials I adore which are also organic or eco-friendly.
To my surprise, I found out that one of my most commonly utilized fabrics falls under the “eco” category: silk habotai, or China silk. Silk comes from silkworms. The worms feed off of the White Mulberry tree and after about 10 days the larvae enclose themselves in a cocoon of raw silk produced in the salivary glands that provides protection during the vulnerable, almost motionless pupal state. The cocoon is made of 1 thread of raw silk from 300 to about 900 meters (1,000 to 3,000 feet) long! I find this terribly astounding and have always loved silk for it. About 2,000 to 3,000 cocoons are required to make 1 pound of silk.
If the worm is allowed to survive after spinning its cocoon, it will release proteolytic enzymes to make a hole in the cocoon so that it can emerge as a moth. This would cut the single continuous thread into many short segments. To prevent this, silkworm cocoons are boiled. Some people think this is not very nice. That’s where silk habotai comes in: silk habotai thread is made by joining the broken threads of a damaged cocoon. The fabric made from these rescued threads has small bumps from the joints and does indeed have an organic quality. If the silk farmers used no pesticides on the Mulberry leaves the silk is also classified as organic.
For now I am being supplied with raw silk noil and crepe de chine from <a href =“http://www.dharmatrading.com/”> Dharma Trading Co which all began with an acid trip. Really. Anyway, the silk is wonderful: quality, price & time consistent. I just placed my second order.