A look at how fashion designers use bamboo in their collections

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“A man is born in a bamboo cradle and goes away in a bamboo coffin. Anything in between is possible with bamboo,” this Asian saying fully justifies the idea behind bamboo crusader Kamesh Salam’s initiative to dedicate a day to bamboo.

Salam founded World Bamboo Day as the former president of the World Bamboo Organization in 2009 during the Eighth World Bamboo Congress. Since then, it has been observed annually on September 18 to raise awareness, conserve and promote the bamboo industry and ensure its sustainable use.

GG By Asha Gautam |

This fiber has more relevance and a whole new meaning in a time like now where sustainability and slow fashion have become the talking point. Environmental protection is not just a matter of news channels, but a necessity for all of humanity. Among today’s all-natural fabrics, the fashion and textile industry can rely on bamboo for a variety of reasons.

Renewable fabric

The most common form used by the fashion and textile industry is viscose rayon, a fiber made by dissolving cellulose in bamboo and then extruding it to form a fiber. Additionally, bamboo can be grown quickly and can help curb the fast fashion trends currently in vogue.

In 2017, veteran designer and textile conservationist Madhu Jain invented bamboo silk ikat – an innovative weave of bamboo with yarns of khadi, cotton, chanderi and wool. According to her, “This new textile does not eat away at the earth’s meager resources. It is biodegradable and therefore the fabric will leave a negligible ecological footprint. It is a fabric of the future.

Not hard to get

Textile and clothing manufacturers are constantly exploring renewable natural fibers with unique performance. It’s their way of adding value to their products and grabbing the attention of consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z.

Samant Chauhan launched an eco-friendly line with the American company “MOKSHA for Earth” in 2016. She then presented “The Silkworm” AW’09 collection at London Fashion Week, while using bamboo in some of her previous lines . .

“Bamboo has a distinct characteristic that makes it sustainable. It is not difficult to use bamboo yarn and it is in good condition. You can weave it or use it in most of your looms. It sounds complicated, but bamboo is becoming more and more popular and you don’t have to go the extra mile or make the yarn,” he says.

Inexpensive, not exuberant

Designer Gautam Gupta of GG by Asha Gautam uses bamboo in two ways: one as yarn and the other as fabric. In yarn form, he mixes it with mulberry yarn to develop Banarasi weaves and uses it in sarees and fabrics. “Bamboo has similar properties to cotton. However, it does not consume a lot of water when developing from yarn to fabric compared to cotton,” he explains.

Since the number of bamboo threads is a bit low for the loom, you have to work on the fold and pay attention to the complexity of the design. “We can’t use it for intricate zari weaving to work on minimal fashion or semi-formal wear,” he says, adding that sourcing bamboo yarn is not expensive, but the process takes time, so it is a bit expensive compared to cotton.

“But with economies of scale, it will be affordable,” says the designer. He also adds that a good bamboo fabric developed in mills ranges from Rs 350 to 500 per meter. “However, when the yarn is hand-woven with silk, it goes up to Rs 1,000 per meter or more,” he sums up.

Bamboo, like many other agricultural wastes, is the future and helps all stakeholders, be it farmers or the environment.

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