Manufacturers of fashion today tout the use of bamboo, because it is not only a sustainable material, but also highly comfortable. Part of the comfort lies in the fact that bamboo is thermally regulated. When it is warm outside, the material keeps you cool, and when it gets colder, the fabric holds in the heat.
Botanically classified as a grass, not as a tree, bamboo might be the most sustainable resource in the world. The fast-growing grass can quickly shoot up high in a day’s time. The material, which reaches maturity quickly, is typically harvested in around four years.
No Need for Fertilisation
The plant does not need to be replanted, because it features a broad root network, which constantly sprouts shoots. In fact, the plants’ growth patterns are just short of amazing. Not only do the plants pull in greenhouse gasses and UV light, they are continually producing new growth. In addition, the growing process is done naturally, without the need to add poisonous fertilisers or pesticides.
While the bamboo plant is undeniably sustainable, the material is not so simple to classify. The plant is processed into a fabric by two methods: chemically and mechanically. The mechanical method involves crushing the woody parts of the plant, then employing natural enzymes to break the walls of the bamboo into a mush. When this is done, the natural fibres are combed out mechanically before being spun into a yarn for bamboo clothing. This same approach is used for producing linen from hemp or flax.
Chemically Produced Fabrics
Bamboo that is manufactured chemically is regenerated as a cellulose fibre, or a fabric that is similar to rayon. Therefore, the fabric is sometimes referenced as bamboo rayon, because of its similarities to rayon materials. Most bamboo material that is part of today’s eco-fashion rage is manufactured by “cooking” bamboo shoots and leaves in chemical solvents.
However, the use of certain chemicals is not considered environmentally supportable. That is because some of the byproducts or ingredients used pose potential damage to the environment or health risks. As a result, some manufacturing facilities are currently using chemical treatments that are environmentally benign and that are not hazardous to one’s health.
The Benefits Associated with Wearing Bamboo
When bamboo cloth is produced with sustainability in mind, it provides a natural softness and sheen that drapes like silk, but is less costly and more durable. The clothing is easy to wash and dry, using a clothes washer and dry. Because of their round and smooth structure, bamboo fibres are non-irritating to sensitive skin as well.
Not only that, bamboo is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. This is because the material holds a bacteriostatic agent known as bamboo kun. Kun keeps bamboo from harbouring odours. As a result, bamboo apparel is more hygienic and fresher smelling.
Clothing made of bamboo is also hypoallergenic. In addition, the material is highly absorbent and is able to wick water away from the body four times faster than cotton. In warm and humid weather, bamboo apparel keeps the wearer cooler and drier, and does not stick to the skin. The wrinkle-resistant fabric is superior to cotton as it can be ironed at a lower setting.