From time immemorial, humans have used natural fibres for sheltering themselves from cold, winds, and harsh climate. Back in early days it was using animal skin, barks from trees, vegetation and as time moved on and with technological advances in textile industry, we started moving from fabrics made with natural fibres to naturally derived man-made fibres to purely synthetic fibres.
And with time, natural fibre made clothing which was once not so uncommon became a symbol of up class fashion wear.
In our two-part blog series we would like to highlight how you can start introducing natural fibre made products to your closet; ranging from daily wear segment to occasional segment. We will also briefly touch upon key global geographical areas where these fabrics are produced.
To do justice to this broad subject, we will have dedicated blogs on two categories of popular natural fibres – 1) Natural Cellulosic Fibre 2) Protein Based Fibre.
Part 1: Natural Cellulosic Fibres
Let’s start with natural cellulosic fibers, which are structured from a starch-like carbohydrate called “Cellulose”. Some examples in this category are cotton, hemp, jute, flax (used to make linen). Today we will go into the details of the two must-have fabrics - Cotton & Linen.
Cotton – Cotton is mainly produced in India, United States, China, Brazil and Pakistan. In 2018/19, India alone contributed to 5.77 million metric tons cotton production[i]. It is renowned for its soft, breathable and high absorbent qualities, making it a must have fabric for hot summers.
Wondering how you can introduce this fabric to your wardrobe and whether it’s easily accessible? The good news is that cotton generally is a popular fabric; however, the organic cotton fabric may be a bit difficult to find.
You can introduce this into your wardrobe with regular cotton garments such as shirts, dresses, stoles, pants & shorts.
Linen – Linen is made from flax plant fibers. It is one of the longest used fibres; with its usage dating almost 36,000 years back[ii]. The best premium quality linen is produced in Western Europe (France, Italy, Belgium particularly) , Ireland and Ukraine. However, in recent times the bulk production is also happening in China.
Durability, strength, high absorbency, anti-bacterial properties make linen a great fabric for tropical, humid summers while the fabric itself looks and feels magical all year round. Linen is stronger than cotton and flax processing is quite labor and time intensive.
Coming to wardrobe essentials, linen is considered as a premium fabric with a unique, distinctive texture lending it a simplistic sophistication. It’s a bit highly priced compared to cotton and much of it is due to the intensive production process. Linen clothing is a must have for trendy as well as classic loving fashionistas.
Our recommendation is that you must have at least one ivory or white colored linen shirt and if you love colors why not try a dress, stole or shorts in pastel hues.
Did you know ? -According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, US paper currency is made up of 75% cotton and 25% linen[iii]
Hope with this you now have more idea about natural cellulosic/plant fibers & also how it can find it’s way to your wardrobe 😊 See you soon with our next blog focusing on protein fibers and it’s use in fabrics.