The Wonder Fabric In Textile Industry
The textile industry has been the forefront of innovative as well as rapid, almost radical change since time immemorial as it tries to meet the ever-changing demands of the market. In this textile revolution, we have now an unexpected, yet long overdue entrant. Bamboo, an emerging contender of vast potential, is the Golden horse in this race. Though initially scorned due to it coarse and brittle nature, it is now considered a revolutionizing factor.
Bamboo textile refers to any textile material, be it cloth, yarn or clothing, crafted from bamboo fibres. Though bamboo was an important structural component in clothing and was used since as far back as 1500 in Corsets, in 18th-century Bonnets and the mid-19th century Bustles. Yet, despite the abundance of the material, it never made a successful entry into the global textile market, being severely limited by the technologies of the time (inefficient, costly and cumbersome processing methods made it unfavourable for mass production).
That is until the early 2000s. Pushed by recent trends of environmental sustainability, the bamboo processing methods saw a breakthrough and thus entered the mainstream. And so, the stiff fibres used in crafts and weaving gave way to the modern Bamboo spun which is a type of Rayon.
The newly discovered process of manufacturing is relatively easy and cost-efficient. Here, the leaves of the grass, as well as the inner pith, which is soft and supple, is extracted, via a process called Steaming. Through chemical processes the obtained cellulose fibre is transmuted into a regenerated form of itself, thus producing a soft and smooth textured fabric called Viscose Rayon, a natural fibre.
The silky sheen of the resultant fabric as well its softness, superior wicking capabilities, breathability, its ability to be mixed with other fabric such as spandex, lycra, hemp and, most alluringly, its eco-friendly aspects such as biodegradability pushed it beyond the basics. It is now seen in many modern luxury fashion brands, most notably Vera wang, Versace etc. It positively appeals to the up and coming Eco-friendly designers/ indie brands as well as others, like NatureFab, Cariloha, Bhu-satva, and Free fly, to name a few.
It has a plethora of plus points, among which are certain traits which are highly sought after. Namely: Antibacterial, Hypoallergic, Odour resistant and Thermoregulatory. Bamboo is a natural antibacterial and the finished product derived from it retains the same property. This not only allows provides an antibacterial effect, but it also excludes the need for chemical anti-microbial treatment upon the finished product, which is not eco-friendly and is known to cause allergies.
Its beneficial effects do not stop there, the same property is also responsible for its odour repelling effects, by preventing the growth of foul odour inducing bacteria even after several washes. And to top it all off is the thermoregulatory effect which helps the wearer achieve the paradoxical effect of being cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Need I say more!
The ease of availability of raw material and the economical cultivation of the same drives the textile industry forward. Bamboo is a quick-growing crop taking only about 3-4 months to grow in areas where agriculture and forestry are deemed impractical and unviable. Its ability to thrive in diverse climates makes it a sustainable and versatile raw material. Even better, it is regenerating resource, which regrows, with increased mass rapidly. The increased demand serves not only the textile industry but also the population of farmers, workers, landowners etc. because bamboo is a cash crop, and cultivation of the same is a low risk/investment-high return approach.
Even by the roughest calculations, the bamboo textile industry rakes in at least 2.4 Billion Dollars per annum. This economy is projected only to grow in the coming years. It is rightfully considered the emergence of a Textiles Behemoth.
Though there are concerns about the growing market which may cause deforestation to keep up with the demand and safety aspects of the manufacturing process, the obvious advantages are simply too substantial and numerous to overlook. Eco-Enthusiasts and the Textile industry with the help of the respective authorities are trying to make the process safer and thus support this booming industry.
With public interest leaning more and more towards green and sustainable products, the bamboo textile is, undeniably, the right way to go for the eco-conscious individual.
Of all the above-mentioned companies and designers, one particular brand stands out, who saw that the market was wanting and decided to take the leap of faith;
NatureFab Sustainable| Ethical | Indian textile industry
This Delhi based clothing line offers a wide variety of organic bamboo clothing, mostly focused on activewear. They use a blend of 95% Bamboo fibre + 5% lycra, ensuring elasticity and comfort. The unique properties of bamboo fibre make it the to-go-to in activewear as it is thermoregulatory, anti-bacterial and, breathable. Sweaty and reeking gym sessions are soon to be a thing of the past as their garments are 60% more absorbent than cotton, allowing you to remain dry for longer period of time and actively eliminates odour.
This promising start-up caught the attention of the Government of India Incubators and is now incubated under IGDTUW- Anveshan foundation funded by Government of NCT of Delhi. It is also recognized by DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI. Surely, this venture is one that deserves global attention.