During my studies in the art school, I was learning in depth about textile materials, their coloring and chemical ingredients in a class called material training. Not to mention, for me, to pass the tests in this subject was like experiencing a heavy headache. Only today I realize the true goal for the received information during those lectures. Textile materials vary quite a lot by their ingredients but mainly they could be divided into two larger groups - natural and factory made (synthetic) materials.
In this blog post, I will tell You more about the textile materials - yarns and threads, that are used to create Vuuven products- therefore it's going to be a story of natural materials. Vuuven's core ideology is to work with materials that are sustainably grown and woven by hand, using almost exclusively certified high-quality materials.
Linen is a natural material. This material has unique properties - it's fiber is tight and durable yet the material obtained from it is light, air permeable. Linen has anti-allergic properties making it all time favorite when manufacturing bed linen and clothing. It easily absorbs liquid and because it is a natural fiber, dries quickly as well. From the beginning, linen fiber is a little bit hard, woody, but with using and washing it becomes windy, silky and pleasant on touch. Linen growth process does not require a lot of water and chemicals to kill the pesticides, as is often needed for growing cotton. Same goes for hemp yarn, eucalyptus and bamboo yarn, as well as Tencel and viscose. To grow these materials is much more sustainable as they require fewer resources. Fun fact - even our Latvian climate accommodates the growth of linen.
Vuuven linen scarfs:
For creating this material the main source is wood fiber, natural and renewable. From wood, cellulose is obtained, which after certain processing gets silky smoothness similar to that of wool. Because of its natural fiber, Tencel is soft and pleasant on touch. Another advantage is great air permeability which provides air circulation and great moisture absorption. This is a material of the new generation, which has gained its popularity only recently, finding its place not only amongst sustainable lifestyle fans but can be found more frequently also in the fast fashion industry - big chain companies like Mangos, Zara, H&M and others. It's a great alternative to wool and silk.
It's a material of natural origin that's obtained from bamboo or eucalyptus fiber. This material has anti-bacterial properties, it breathes well, is softer and smoother than cotton and reminds of silk when touched.
It's most commonly obtained from wood cellulose, processing mainly pine, eucalyptus, beech, and spruce tree wood. As a material, it's not very warm, but has a nice glow and is pleasant on the skin and touch. When looking at its chemical structure, it most resembles cotton. But on touch, it reminds us of that silky smoothness. Very often in the clothing industry viscose fabric can contain some synthetic material, like acrylic and polyester to reduce the cost price of production.
The origin of Alpacas is South-American mountains. Animals there have adapted to life with great changes of temperature, strong winds, ever-changing humidity - those protective qualities are those provided by their fur. Lama and alpaca wool does not contain lanolin or other oils, therefore, becoming a perfect match for people with high sensitivity and allergic reactions.
That's an especially fine threaded wool, obtained from merino breed of sheep (main regions are Italy and Australia). As the merino wool fiber is so thin, it is commonly used for summer clothing as well. And similarly to linen, this wool keeps You warm in the winter and cooler (pun intended) during the hot season.
Cashmere wool is most commonly grown in China and highlands of Mongolia, where goats need to adjust to extreme temperatures, which in turn makes them produce this highly warming material. Clothing that's made from cashmere provides even three times better body insulation than sheep's wool. Cashmere is a very exclusive material, hence the price. The thread is fine and has a silky smooth feeling.
Vuuven warm wool scarfs:
Vuuven does not use, but informs about these materials as well:
Hemp yarn - very similar qualities to those of linen. Only hemp thread is much more durable and cheaper material.
Cotton is a seedling fiber that's obtained from cotton plants. Textiles that are made from cotton are very long lasting and hard to wear out. Cotton contains mostly cellulose (91%).
In its growth process, many chemicals are used, most of them are pesticides. An estimated 16% of pesticides produced in the world are currently used on cotton fields. And producing cotton requires a lot of water. Those are reasons why textiles produced from organic cotton are gaining more popularity and there's an increasing demand for them in the market.
Obtained from Angora goats.
All the great qualities of sheep's wool are topped of fiber with shine, lightness, and airiness. The fiber is very long and fluffy. As a material, it is slightly itchy, because of the long fiber. Therefore it's often not quite fitting material to use in clothing production.
Angora (this material is obtained in an unethical way)
This wool is acquired from rabbits fur which is very light and soft. As very often the process of obtaining this wool is unethical and involves animal abuse it is too big of a downside to favor it for its other good qualities.
My main goal is to seek out and use only materials that are sustainable. I want to protect nature's resources, and choose only mindfully obtained materials, during which production there is the none or least risk of contamination of nearby waters, air, natural resources. I also think about what's going to happen after my garments are worn out and end up in landfill - focusing on materials that decompose fully, rather than turning into micro-plastic. On the verge of the climate crisis, I feel even greater urgency into taking responsibility for things I produce and resources that are used in the process.
If I were to create a sustainability pyramid than the top hero would be linen, followed by hemp yarn, viscose, and Tencel. Then organically certified cotton, bamboo and eucalyptus yarn, merino wool, sheep's wool, alpaca wool, mohair and finally silk, angora, cotton and all the variations of synthetic materials that exist out there.
This time I've presented You all the natural materials Vuuven is using in their product creating. And I also wanted to invite You to think about the true cost of producing and supporting unethically produced or obtained materials. If I've managed to spark Your interest in any materials or You are curious to hear more about the division of synthetic materials I will be very happy to see Your comment below. Maybe You have some insights You want to share or have an idea of a topic I should cover in the future posts? Please let me know.
Wishing You a bright and sunny day,