Silk and sustainable. A mixed story…

Silk is lovely to wear and a natural product. But is it sustainable?

Boiled alive

Silk is an animal fiber originating from the cocoon of the silkworm, these are larvae of a butterfly species. Clothing made of silk looks luxurious because of the beautiful shine and soft texture of the fabric. But nothing could be further from the truth. The silkworms are bred and kept in captivity until they spin a cocoon. The cocoons, with the caterpillars still inside, are then boiled to soak off the silkworm’s sticky saliva. So the caterpillars are boiled alive so that the cocoon remains whole and finally the silk yarn can be unwound in one go. In this way a long, strong thread is created from which beautiful smooth fabrics can be woven.

Áhimsa silk

But there are also other types of silk. For Áhimsa silk the caterpillars wait until the caterpillars have left their cocoon as butterflies. This is done on special farms or by collecting cocoons of silkworms that are not bred and kept on a silk farm. Because the butterfly leaves the cocoon under its own power, a hole is created in the cocoon and many short silk threads remain. This makes it difficult to process the silk into yarn and a smooth fabric. In addition, the cocoons of Áhimsa silk are different in color and this makes it difficult to dye in a uniform color.

GOTS quality mark

In short, silk can be an environmentally friendly product as a raw material for clothing. No artificial fertilizer, agricultural pesticides or pesticides are needed to produce silk. It also requires relatively little energy to process silk into fabrics. But be sure to investigate whether this beautiful shiny silk blouse has been produced in an animal-friendly way. Because of the GOTS quality mark on the washing label and / or hangtag you know for sure that you are dealing with the Áhisma silk.