The Hottest Material in Organic Clothing

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When I heard bamboo was the hottest material in natural organic clothing, I had difficulty imagining what it would feel like. I have a bamboo walking stick, bamboo patio furniture, and a friend just put in a bamboo floor – but I just couldn’t imagine wearing it. Then I met a designer from a bamboo clothing manufacturing company. She assured me that if I tried it out, I’d be hooked. So, I tried it out, and she was right. I’m hooked.

Bamboo is a soft, light, comfortable fabric with many unique qualities. There have been those times when my bamboo T-shirt has become my nightshirt, my get-up-in-the-morning-and-jog-shirt (along with my bamboo/hemp blend drawstring pants) and then my off-to-run-errands shirt. Fortunately, most days I have the ‘wear-withal’ to put on my bamboo/organic cotton blend tank top and matching shorts before heading out for the day. In the nighttime I slip into the bamboo/cashmere slinky dress and it’s out dancing I go.

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The fabric also has memory – one woman I know wore her size small draw-string pants through her entire pregnancy. It stretched along with her tummy, then went back to its original shape after each wash. She’s now back to being a size small and so are her pants. A big plus for those that like to hold on to their favorite clothes is that the strength of the bamboo fiber increases the life of the garment.

Also, bamboo has antimicrobial, anti-odor and wicking properties, which means it pulls the perspiration from your skin, minimizing body odor and allowing you to feel cooler in hot weather. This makes it a big draw for joggers, athletes, campers.

Making products from bamboo is not a new concept. China has been using it for thousands of years for items ranging from textiles to building materials. In fact, there are more than one thousand uses for bamboo. It’s even a food source.

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The environmental perks are many. The fast-growing bamboo variety used for fabric can reach a mature height of 75 feet in 45 to 60 days, and the stems can get to 8 to 10 feet thick. This isn’t a tree…it’s actually classified as grass. It does not need pesticides, does not require much in the way of irrigation, and its self-generating root system sends out shoots that more than replenish the harvested canes. Adding to the “G” factor is the fact that the end result products are bio-degradable. The plant prefers a damp subtropical environment. China has been the major producer so far, but bamboo plantations have begun to spring up in the southern United States. In Savannah, Georgia, there’s an experimental bamboo grove maintained by The United States Department of Agriculture. International corporations are even utilizing bamboo as an ethanol and electrical energy.

To read more on bamboo fabric, click here.

  • Emm

    My issue with bamboo is that its usually in the form of rayon. Rayon people often think rayon is a synthetic but it isn’t. Viscous rayon is made from plant scraps, like cotton, linen or in this case, bamboo.
    The bamboo is mixed with chemicals to melt it, in a sense, into a slurry. Then the liquid is extruded through a machine, think of a pasta machine or play-doh being pushed though a disk with lots of holes. What comes out resembles spaghetti. Once the ‘spaghetti’ is dry, it can be woven or knit into fabric.
    The issue that doesn’t make bamboo fabric as green as another fabric is the process. The chemicals aren’t green.
    Also bamboo tends to be grown with pesticides, even though this article implies it isn’t.

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