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.
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.