Natural Fabrics

Natural Fabrics

Natural Fabrics:

We share an intimate history with natural fabrics that pretty much dates back as far as history itself.  Ancient Egyptian records date the earliest known manufacture of flax and woollen fabrics at about 3,000 years B.C., or around 5,000 years ago.  That’s about as far back as history records can reliably take us.

5,000 years later on and we see a world literally choked with synthetic fabrics.  So, how did it all make its way here, and what worth does it hold for us, if any??

At a time when our planet’s resources are becoming increasingly and critically stressed, synthetics, may in part, be argued to provide some plausible justifications for their own existence, however, the acceptance of synthetics into our lives mostly sprung from economic reasoning.

The very first man-made fabric to appear on our planet, was Rayon, a semi-synthetic by category, it was invented by accident in 1846, and first brought to commercial development in France in 1884.  It is produced by subjecting wood pulp to highly toxic chemical baths that act to soften the contained cellulose for extrusion into fibres.  Rayon was readily marketed as an artificial silk during the mid-1920s, and rapidly gained traction in the marketplace due to its affordability stemming from its cheap production costs.

By 1940, Du Pont had introduced Nylon to the world, the first fully synthetic fibre to hit the textile markets, and initially presented in the form of ladies’ hosiery. Ladies' stockings were a heightened fashion at the time, and up till the advent of nylon, stockings had been exclusively made from pure silk.  Silk stockings demanded an exorbitantly high price, but nylon provided a comparable product that was relatively inexpensive.  It was an instant hit with the people and skyrocketed to popularity, simply on the back of its affordability.

The following year, 1941, polyester made its debut in the marketplace, an invention of chemists at Calico Printers’ Association.  Polyester soon earned itself a prominent reputation by account of its unparalleled strength.  Then by 1959, Spandex was yet another to make its way onto the synthetics list, rapidly forging a reputation as an inexpensive and effective alternative to latex rubber. 

So, for millennia, without any history at all, and yet within less than a century, synthetic fabrics skyrocketed to enormous popularity, swamping the textiles and clothing industries on the back of their affordability.

Did anyone happen to throw the baby out with the bath water here, by any chance?

Well, no!  In fact, recent trends clearly indicate that natural fabrics are in progress of making a huge resurgence, while the trend shows little to no likelihood of abating.  All around us, we see a refashioning of all things natural, a progressive abandoning of the synthetic for all things pure and natural. 

While natural fabrics boast a host of environmental benefits, they are more broadly aligned with providing the healthy alternative when it comes to personal wear.  A closer look at that looks like this: the organic fibres of natural fabrics remain highly breathable for the life of the fabric, facilitating essential free gas and moisture exchange. 

The fibres of natural fabrics have a capillary effect that efficiently wicks moisture away from the skin surface, thus preventing incidence of rashes and chronic skin irritations.  Natural fabrics are also typically non-allergenic; and are also naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial – making them an ideal choice for hygiene.  Natural fabrics are naturally odour resistant, are chemical free, and remain soft and kind on contact with delicate skin.  Natural fabrics don’t generate their own static electricity as is commonly generated by synthetic fabrics – hence they don’t pose any potential threat of interference with the body’s natural circuitry.    

Ultimately, the good news is that natural fabrics have proven their worth over the long haul of time, and by the looks of things, they are here to stay.
~ jinki @