From field to Fibre- What are sustainable fabrics?

The universe of fibres – From field to fabrics

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Ethical and sustainable values are at the core of KEMP GADEGÅRD. Therefore, when choosing fabrics for our collections, there was no doubt as to using only natural fibres and organic certified when possible.

In a series of blog posts, we will delve a bit deeper into what running a sustainable label means in practice, in order to increase transparency and most importantly, to keep our community involved.

The way fabrics are produced involve a number of steps, from harvesting, through spinning the yarn to weaving. Different fibres have different production processes, and in the following, you can learn a bit more about each one, and how sustainability influences the fibre. 

 

Organic cotton.

All of our cotton garments use 100% organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers, so their impact on the soil and water is greatly reduced. Not only does organic cotton use substantially less water to grow, but is also is softer and feels better on your skin than conventional cotton.

Cotton fabric is made from the fibre that grows in pods on the cotton plant. Cotton is grown in warm climates, predominantly in Turkey, China, the USA and India. It biodegrades quickly and cleanly. Cotton fibres can be woven into any number of styles ranging from feather-light to heavy-duty.

Our organic cotton is mostly grown in Turkey, with some heavier weights being produced in India.

Everyone knows how wonderful cotton feels and how easy it is to care for. It's a simple, durable fabric. Light as air, sheer, and delicate in appearance but not in structure – cotton is the perfect summer fabric. Just enough body to hold it's shape, with luscious drape and movement.

Care instructions.

Machine wash cold, tumble dry warm. Press on low with steam to remove wrinkles, or leave unpressed for a perfectly unfussy look. All of our garments are pre-washed at the studio before we ship them out.

 

Silk.

Silk is one of our favourite natural fabrics. Silk fabric is made out of the fibres produced by silkworms. The silkworm makes the fibre to spin into a cocoon, inside of which it later transforms into a moth. 

Silk is incredibly durable due to its high tensile strength – higher than any other fibre. A strand of silk is stronger than a wire of iron in the same diameter. It's naturally hypoallergenic (the most hypoallergenic of all fabrics), and is completely non-toxic. This means that neither the production of silk nor the breakdown of the fibre releases toxins into the environment.

Silk biodegrades quickly (synthetics take between 300-600 years to breakdown, and release chemicals into the soil as they do so). Silk retains moisture without feeling damp, so it's able to efficiently cool our skin in the summer. It's also thermally stable, meaning it provides insulation in the winter. It's smooth and soft and is extremely lightweight. It has a natural elasticity, allowing it to stretch without breaking.

Although not a vegan fabric, we believe that the benefits and highly versatile natural properties of silk outweigh the negative aspects. Synthetic alternatives to silk are made using petroleum products and toxic chemicals, are highly polluting, do not have the same beneficial properties as natural silk, take hundreds of years to biodegrade and - by way of their low cost - lend themselves to creating excess waste.

We mostly use a beautiful, luxurious, medium-to-slightly-heavy-weight silk crepe de chine. It has an ultra soft finish, is durable and opaque, and drapes and flows like liquid.  It wears well and holds up to washing, and still has the airy quality that makes silk wonderful.

 

Care Instructions. 

 We recommend dry cleaning your silk garments, as this will help them to remain in their original condition. Alternatively, you can also hand wash cold, and air-dry in the shade.

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Louise Gadegaard