GOTS

ARTISANAL SILK FROM SOUTHERN COLOMBIA

JUNGLE FOLK

Finally, summer ishere! In our summer collection you find beautiful light dresses, shirts, capes and pullovers made of silk. The natural lightness of silk makes it the perfect material for a hot summer day. Where does the silk we use come from?

The silk is produced in a cooperative named CORSEDA located in Popayán, in the south of Colombia. 

This cooperative was founded as an alternative for the farmers to cultivating coca plants. The cooperative, consisting of 200 families, produces organic silk. This involves the breeding of the silkworms, the cultivation of the mulberry plantation and the treatment of the cocoon to the silk. The mulberry leaves are not treated with chemical pesticides nor is the raw silk cleaned or softened with chemical substances therefore, the silk is all organic. 

JUNGLE FOLK

Silk is the end result of a long process. First the mulberry leaves have to be cultured. The only plant silkworms eat is the mulberry plant. The cultivator has to take care that the eclosed silkworms are always covered with mulberry leaves so they have enough food to grow. 

The development of the cocoon happens after 25 days, in which the silk worms are always eating and sleeping 3 days alternately. After the silkworm has grown 10’000 times bigger it begins to spin its cocoon. 

JUNGLE FOLK

To gain raw silk the cultivators have to gather the cocoons, dry t, cook and grade them and in the end cook the cocoons to gain the silk fibers. 

The next step is to wash the silk fibers with water mixed with soap or oil to soften the sericin. Sericin is the protein that keeps the different fibers together like natural glue. The women have to take eight to ten fibers to get only one silk thread. The different fibers form in the end one long silk thread.

JUNGLE FOLK

To achieve the typical softness of silk the silk has to be washed in warm water to degumming it. Then the silk is dried.

The silk has then to be spun into threads,this is a very difficult process since the aim is, that the thread has always the same thickness. 

The threads are then dyed, in the cooperative CORSEDA the dying is all made with "low impact colours", we dye small quantities in bowls of hot water.

You see, that the production process of silk is a very long and intensive one. The silk from Popayan we are using is very special since all steps are all handmade. The cooperative has to fight with many difficulties like climate change which sometimes destroys the cultivated mulberry bushes to extreme weather conditions in which the silkworms don't survive and the cooperative can therefore not produce silk. Also there are many diseases which can be a danger for the little silkworms. Also the (now very small) Colombian silk industry suffers from the concurrence of cheap, industrially made silk from Asia. There are actually now only two cooperatives producing silk in Colombia. We try to support this cooperative as much as we can and designed many beautiful items made out of CORSEDA silk in our spring/summer collection.

The silk was knitted into beautiful dresses, capes and shirts. We also wove the threat on big old looms into fabrics for jackets and dresses.

Organic silk in contrast to normal silk is not treated with any chemical substances. You will feel the difference, feeling this wonderful material on your skin! 


ALPACA, ALPACA

Winter is slowly but surely starting..
And if you’re looking for warm and cozy clothes, you should step by at our shop in Zurich. We have a range of beautiful knitted sweaters and cardigans which will hold you warm during the whole season! The material that we use for our autumn-winter collection is alpaca-wool.
We want to tell you something more about the particularly of alpacas and their wool…

Jungle Folk Alpaca
alpaca2.jpg

Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina at an altitude of 3,500 m to 5,000 m above sea level, throughout the year.
The wool we're using is coming from Arequipa, Peru. There are more than four million alpacas in Peru. There, the species has shared its existence with people of the Andean steppes since the earliest times. There are two kinds of alpacas :
The Suri Alpaca has very long, dense, wavy fibre which is lustrous and soft to the touch.
The fleece of the Huacaya Alpaca is curly and voluminous, somewhat shorter than that of the Suri.

Jungle Folk Alpaca

Both are highly valued for their excellent characteristics: they refuse to burn unless in direct contact with a flame, they are soft to the touch, absorb a little humidity from the surroundings, and are thermally insulating, strong and elastic.  
These characteristics guarantee the animals a permanent and appropriate coat to protect against extreme changes of temperature and this fiber offers the same protection to humans. 
No other natural fibre occurs in so many different colours. There are about 50 different colours that are known and used.
That’s why we’re very happy to have many different alpaca-items at our store, that surely will keep you warm during the cold winter. 

Jungle Folk Cape knitted alpaca

Peace Silk

The manufacture of conventional silk has long been regarded by many as a cruel exploitation of mulberry silkworms. Fortunately, there is an alternative for those who adore silk but also respect animal rights – the Peace Silk.

A Peace Silk Yarn (Photo by Aurora Silk)


Silk, also dubbed as the ‘Queen of Fiber’, is a natural protein fiber that is loved by many for its luxurious appeal. The fabric’s texture is soft and smooth, which is quite amazing considering it is also one of the strongest natural fibers.
 

The commercial production of conventional silk commences with the cultivation of silk worms which feed on Mulberry leaves. After several weeks of feeding, the silkworm begins to spin cocoons, by producing a special sort of saliva that hardens when exposed to air. As the silkworm continues to spin by continuously weaving its head in the pattern of the figure ‘8’, the silkworm becomes completely encased in the cocoon. When the silkworm becomes a moth and is finally ready to emerge from the cocoon, it secrets an alkali fluid that breaks the cocoon and destroys the silk in the process. Hence, in the production of conventional silk, the pupae are killed usually by boiling the cocoons in hot water so as to preserve the silk. A small portion of pupae are kept alive to produce the next generation of silkworms. The fibers are then unwound to form a single strand, which are later combined with other strands to form a single thread. This method of producing silk was first developed in China over some 5000 years ago, and as a result of this long period of captivity, mulberry silkworms have evolved to become blind moths that are unable to neither fly nor eat due to the undeveloped structures in their mouths. 

Watch the Production of Peace Silk from 9twenty Creative

An alternative form of silk is the Peace Silk, which is produced without harming the silkworms and enables them to live out their full life cycle. The moths are allowed to emerge out of their cocoons and the silk fiber is subsequently collected and spun from opened cocoons. This process is extremely labour intensive but it provides employment benefits to the weavers and their families. As the fiber is not collected as a single strand but as many smaller strands, the Peace Silk is believed to not be as strong as conventional silk. However, as it is spun as a fiber rather than as a thread in the case of conventional silk, it is also said to be warmer and softer. In fact, natural silk is often said to possess temperature regulating properties which help the body to retain heat in cold surroundings and expel heat when it is warm. It is also known to be a hypoallergenic fabric. The well-known Ahimsa silk is an example of a type of Peace Silk produced in India.

 

Jungle Folk's Silk Jacket

Jungle Folk’s Silk Jacket is made from Peace Silk lovingly hand-woven in India. The natural artisanal fabric is of extremely high quality and the end result is a classic style jacket that is almost weightless and extremely soft to the touch. Fashion can be made without the harming of animals! Find our Silk Jacket online at Jungle Folk's website.