THE LATEST ECO-FABRIC TO JOIN THE FOREST DIGITAL FABRIC RANGE
Sustainability may not be something you think of when it comes to the creation of silk but at Forest Digital we are committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible. So we searched for a silk manufacturer that had a greener and environmentally kinder policy – and we found one that was producing new and aspirational silk that we couldn’t wait to include in our range of fabrics.
The silk industry is an ancient one, originating in China around 4000 BC. Centuries later, in the days of the Silk Road, when silk trading linked the East to the West, silk was so highly protected by Chinese emperors, that divulging the secrets of creating it was punishable by death! Now in 2021, we are proud to share how our organic silk, a new addition to our fabric collection, is created.
The organic silk Forest Digital now uses for digital printing is produced using regenerative agriculture — a well-thought-out agricultural process that puts the care of the planet at its centre and reverses global trends of atmospheric carbon accumulation. Our silk manufacturer has developed silk made without toxic dyes and produced by using less energy, keeping its carbon footprint as low as possible and quality as high as possible.
Manufacturing silk in a way that does little or no harm to the environment is a complex process so here is a step-by-step guide that reveals how our organic silk, the most beautiful and luxurious of fabrics, is created sustainably and organically causing little or no harm to the planet.
Threads of silk come from cocoons created by chubby bombyx caterpillars who are fed fat on mulberry leaves. So the first step in creating organic silk is to grow organic mulberry trees so that the caterpillars are fed organic leaves. So the trees for our organic silk are farmed in a vibrant self-sustaining ecosystem. This holistic way of agricultural production reduces tilling and so reduces the carbon released into the atmosphere and along with low water consumption, chemical-free pesticides and fertilisers massively improves sustainability, lowers the carbon footprint, feeds the earth, and supports the local environment.
Firstly, the trees are planted and grown on terraces so that rainfall naturally irrigates the land. Terrace farming allows rainfall to water the trees which reduce the need to pump in new water. Also, the terraces help to retain nutrients within the topsoil as the rainfall irrigation flows downwards.
Puts Nutrients into the Soil
Intercropping is the process of planting another crop in between the crop of mulberry trees. This creates a natural ecosystem and feeds the soil keeping the land healthy and fertile. The crops attain a symbiotic relationship and establish a micro-ecosystems that protect both the mulberry trees and the other crops from agricultural illnesses and unstable weather conditions.
Replenishes the soil
Another way of ensuring the soil does not get depleted is to rotate crops – changing crops out for other crops. This gives the earth a chance to recover and to receive a range of natural nutrients so that the soil remains balanced and healthy.
Without the use of harmful pesticides
The use of toxic chemicals to kill slugs, snails and other pests that would feast on the mulberry leaves has been averted by allowing ducks, chickens, and geese to wander through the mulberry trees. They not only eat the pests but also fertilise the soil. As well as these efficient birds, solar-powered bug zappers are used to remove flying insects. This helps to increase biodiversity.
Natural and chemical-free
As well as the duck and geese poo, the other natural fertiliser – organic limestone ash – is used to feed the soil and boost production. It is sprinkled on the land and put on the trunks of the mulberry trees. So much better than toxic chemicals used in the majority of today’s silk production.
Ready to make silk
Once the organic mulberry leaves are harvested they are fed to the silkworm larvae who grow fat until they are ready to make their cocoons.
Woven by the silkworms
Spun by the silkworms for their metamorphosis into moths, the cocoons are the first stage of organic silk production. It’s the threads from these abandoned cocoons that eventually become a silk.
REELING, WEAVING, AND DE-GUMMING
To create the organic silk fabric
The raw silk fibres are first reeled then woven together and then de-gummed (which removes the sericin/gum from silk yarn and improves the sheen and texture) in a factory powered by solar panels to further reduce the silk production’s impact on the planet.
Now available for digital printing at Forest Digital
We are so pleased to have sourced a silk manufacturer that meets sustainability goals in so many ways so that we can offer our customers organically certified silk of such high quality.
Silk is the most luxurious of fabrics and the strongest natural fibre is known to man. That’s why we work with it – digitally dying it with water-based inks to bring our client’s colourful, intricate, artistic designs to life for their customers. We know we are producing a classic piece that, if cared for, will last for years and years. We produce scarves, ties, garments, pyjamas, cushions, and, more recently, masks in an array of shapes and sizes and we love working with silk and are proud to say we are experts in it.
Talk to us about digitally printing on organic sustainable silk – fashion does not have to cost the earth.
Visit our Digital Silk Scarf Printing UK page to learn more about our silk scarf service.