Buy Silk Shirt
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Silk is considered to be a luxury fabric due to its softness and sheen, often accompanied by claims entailing that it is a sustainable material because of its ability to biodegrade. The truth behind the silk industry is, however, anything but shiny. Why don't vegans wear silk? Is silk actually sustainable? Or even ethical? Could it be better to buy clothes made of peace silk? Read on and you'll find the answers you're looking for.
Silk is made out of harvested cocoons of silkworms that are painfully killed in the process. The silk production starts with female silk moths (most often Bombyx mori) laying their eggs - about 200 to 500 eggs each.1 The eggs hatch after about a week, get fed with mulberry leaves and eventually go through five stages in which they shed their skin and grow in size. At the end of the fifth stage, the silkworm caterpillar starts spinning and sealing its cocoon and then morphs into a pupa. The transformation into a moth takes just about one week.
As the silkworm has to experience a painful death by being boiled, steamed or baked alive, silk cannot be considered an animal-friendly fabric. To make 1 kg of silk, about 6600 silkworms need to die.2 That's 1000 animals for one silk shirt.3 And yes, silkworms (or insects in general) are sentient beings. They possess a central nervous system, brain and have the ability to experience pain.4
We as humans have domesticated silk moths (Bombyx mori) to produce fine silk. To optimize their silk production, we created a moth that is blind and unable to fly.1 She lays eggs only once and then she is killed. Her offspring are killed before they mature and grow into a moth.
The rule of thumb is simple: if you need an animal to produce fabric, the animal is being exploited. The fashion industry sees animals as a commodity and not sentient beings that can experience stress or pain. The same applies to the silk industry - even if the animal happens to be an insect.
As the silk production is a very labour intensive process, it requires many workers. The silk industry employs about 1 million workers in China and 7.9 million workers in India, mostly in rural populations.5 Unfortunately, this opens the door for the exploitation of workers who are paid unfairly low wages which are simply not enough to cover life essentials.6 And by workers, we also mean children, unfortunately.
Human Rights Watch reported about the abuse of child slaves in the Indian silk industry - about 350 000 working children, some as young as 5 years old - boiling cocoons, hauling containers of mulberry leaves, and embroidering saris.7 These children work for twelve or more hours a day, six and a half or seven days a week, experiencing physical and verbal abuse. Their wages range from nothing at all to about Rs. 400 (6.28) a month.
In fact, the Higg Materials Sustainability Index ranks the environmental impact of various fibres (from the production of raw fibres to fabrics) - and silk scores the highest when compared to all other fabrics.8,9 This is due to its global warming potential, water usage and pollution as well as the use of fossil fuels.
Peace silk, also called Ahimsa (which means non-violent) or Eri silk, is commonly offered as a better and ethical alternative because the process of stifling is avoided and therefore, the moths are able to climb out of the cocoons and breed.1,10 What often is forgotten to question is the fate that awaits the adult moths.
Just one female moth lays about 200 to 1000 eggs. In some strains, the eggs require refrigeration, otherwise, the offspring die in about one or two months. After refrigeration, they hatch and need to be fed right away - if not, they quickly die of starvation or dehydration. The final result, however, is the death of 200 to 300 embryos or hatching silkworms per moth - for any amount that exceeds the needs of the next crop.
How come? Well, the vast majority of silkworms raised for Ahimsa silk have several breeds per season. If you take, for instance, 20 000 cocoons, the next generation will result in about 2.5 million cocoons, and the next one in about 312 million cocoons. We could continue on and on, but one thing is clear - it is impossible to feed so many silk moths. So, many offspring are left to die from starvation and dehydration. This means that instead of killing one pupa per cocoon (in case of the regular silk production), hundreds of caterpillars are killed.
Tencel/lyocell, modal or recycled synthetic fibres are great alternatives to silk as they meet the criteria of being a soft and shiny fabric with a luxurious feel. So, good news: your clothes can shine and be more sustainable at the same time!
Luxurious, softer than silk, stronger than polyester, biodegradable and entirely made from wood. Tencel, the patented brand name of the lyocell fabric, is a more environmentally-friendly alternative due to its closed-loop production. And did we mention extremely beautiful? Just have a look:
Developed as an alternative to silk, modal offers a silky-smooth and soft touch. It is flexible, breathable and luxurious. Just like silk, modal is a fabric that doesn't crease nor shrink and it also drapes well.13 The sustainability of this fabric depends on its manufacturer and sourcing practices. Lenzing Modal, also called Tencel Modal, uses more sustainable wood sources, promises carbon-neutral production that requires less land and water than other fabrics.
Just like cashmere, there are many different types of silk, the price can vary from $8 to $80 /yard. The price differences depend on silk farms and how they manage their silk supplies. Organic silk tends to be more expensive as the price to manage sustainably may be higher.
The lustre of the expensive silk is the result from combining threads of different single colors in each of the weft and wrap. These make the surface shine and appear to change color as the angle of light on it changes. Put your silk shirt up to the light and see how it reflects differently to other silk products.
Whether it is the casual pairing with jeans or a formal combination with trousers, nothing can truly match the silk shirt's vibe. The style designed for both men and women offers quite an extraordinary opportunity to spice outfits for parties, high profile events, and even work.
Silk shirts help create funky outfit combinations as the fabric's texture offers you room to play around with various tucks and drapes. Therefore, we suggest picking out a pure silk shirt from Myntra to fit your aesthetic and style needs. Get your hands on the perfect shirt in your preferred style, fit, and budget only with India's largest online fashion retailer.
Silk is regarded as one of the easiest fabrics to style owing to its smooth texture and flow. Therefore, it is a must-have wardrobe piece for men, women as well as boys. Myntra not only offers an expansive selection of silk shirts but also sells jackets, coats, pants, skirts, suits, and so much more. In addition, the platform ensures to deliver packages promptly and gives you a choice to exchange items in a window of 30-days. Grab some of the softest silk shirts online with Myntra's curated product listings.
Highly regarded for its shimmering properties, the triangular prism-like structure of silk fibers not only helps it to shine but also allows it to reflect light in different ways. This allows for a multicoloured sheen, as it refracts light from different angles to produce a multitude of colours.
Biddle Sawyer Silks are a UK leading wholesale silk supplier, offering only 100% genuine fine quality silks. To place an order or find out more about our products & services, please get in touch with us.
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