Just Because It’s Bamboo Doesn’t Mean It’s Natural!

In recent years, bamboo fiber has established itself in the textile industry. It is true that bamboo lends itself to ecological cultivation: its growth is rapid and it does not require fertilizers or pesticides. Bamboo also has significant advantages, since it naturally has antibacterial properties. But not all bamboo variations are created equal: it is essential to differentiate between bamboo fiber and bamboo viscose.

Endless Benefits of Bamboo

Bamboo consumes only about a quarter of the amount of water used for cultivating cotton and it grows without any chemicals. Once harvested, the dried bamboo is cut to extract the bamboo fibers. We can then use this natural and ecological material to make fibres which in turn is made into apparels.

Bamboo being rot-proof, it helps regulate perspiration effectively. We therefore particularly appreciate this material for underwear and nightwear: shorts, t-shirts and even loungewear short pajamas. We can then combine bamboo fiber with other natural fibers, in particular cotton and flax to achieve versatility in fabrics.

China and Japan have always used bamboo in textiles for their hats and shoes, but it was not until 1800 that it appeared in European corsets, bustiers and dresses. 

Bamboo and the Clothing Sector

It was not until the 2000s that we used bamboo more commonly in the clothing and home textiles sectors, thanks to innovations that have made it possible to transform bamboo pulp into a soft and comfortable fabric.

Bamboo is a renewable resource and bamboo fiber has been repeatedly mentioned as an ecological and sustainable fiber, but is it really?

Bamboo of organic origin can be transformed into a material that is neither natural nor ecological. It is therefore important to learn to read labels well to differentiate between bamboo fiber and bamboo viscose, because unlike fiber, bamboo viscose is chemically treated. This treatment involves particular usage of caustic soda and sodium sulphate to achieve the desired material.

There is nothing natural about making bamboo viscose!

On the other hand, bamboo fiber is highly preferred, considering it is ecological found in nature, made with little to no chemicals in a mechanical way. Bamboo fiber, and not bamboo viscose, makes it possible to take full advantage of the antibacterial and anti-odor properties of bamboo.

Bamboo textile is renowned for being environmentally friendly, antibacterial, organic and ethical. But to obtain a very flexible, very soft and silky bamboo fiber, textile brands often offer clothes that contain bamboo viscose. It is difficult to differentiate the two fabrics by simply touching and without in depth knowledge about the textile. Therefore, it is important to avoid brands that tend to greenwash and read labels while buying your product. 

Why do manufacturers prefer bamboo viscose to bamboo fiber?

Manufacturers often prefer using bamboo viscose since it is more flexible and seems softer to touch than real natural bamboo fiber. Bamboo fibre on the other hand seems more brittle and rougher to touch. However, the major reason why manufacturers tend to pass off bamboo viscose as natural bamboo fibre is because of the sheer cost involved in making bamboo fibre. Natural bamboo fibre requires a mechanical process of extraction and is tiring and expensive. 

It is easier and cheaper to produce viscose, but at what cost!

Bamboo viscose is not only harmful to the environment, it runs the risk of damaging the reputation of bamboo fibres by greenwashing. 

It is important to ensure that all products that claim to be organic, like bamboo fibre clarifies the content or the methods followed to produce that product. GOTS or the Global Organic Textile Standard certifies such products to ensure authenticity.

Organic designation standards:

  1. Containing 70% GOTS certified organic fiber

  2. All chemicals must meet environmental criteria

  3. Wastewater treatment must meet precise quality auditing standards.

Recognized worldwide, this label aims to harmonize standards relating to the textile sector since 2008. In general, the reputation of its specifications precedes it because it is the most complete of all textile eco-labels for: Cotton, Wool, Silk, Hemp and other fabrics. This label encompasses environmental and social requirements on the quality of the textile and its toxicity.

Need to know more about such interesting stories about natural fabrics? Visit VANYYA and experience it yourself!





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