Release Your Wild Side...
The eye-catching drape and luxurious texture of silk is hard to resist, it is so crazy to think that this textile is created from the process of a silk worm cocooning and turning into a moth. Very sadly, the moth never gets to emerge out of its cocoon alive, as this would damage the silk chrysalis and thus the quality of the silk (by destroying the single continuous filament).
I found this process a hard thing to take on board when one of my favourite textiles is silk. The production of this textile means interrupting one of nature's magical processes and killing silk worms.
Luckily there is a more eco-friendly alternative ...it's WILD SILK! Also known as tussah/peace/vegetarian silk. Kate Fletcher's (2008) book Sustainable Fashion
& Textiles, Design Journeys explains that not only does the wild silk protect the life of the silkworm/moth, the production of it protects the forest ecosystem as its silkworms are cultivated in open forests where there is natural food sources and no hazardous chemicals. Fletcher also states that its production can '...provide a major year-round income for millions of tribal people in India' (Fletcher 2008, p.27).
Wild silk is said to be of lower quality compared to conventional silk as the moth damages the silk chrysalis (the outer case of the cocoon) on its exit; forcing the textile to be compiled of short length fibres. If we do not include conventional silk in this comparison, then maybe wild silk would be considered a textile of high quality? The story itself is magical; a silk worm transforms itself, flutters away and leaves us to clothe ourselves with its intricate magic.
Pic. above left: FIN Oslo S/S 2010
wild handspun silk skirt
w/ organic cotton voile shirt
(Couldn't help myself but to post this pic. also -I adore the silhouette and texture of the dress!)
FIN Oslo S/S 2010
Organic bamboo voile dress