The Vietnamese Stories of Sapa collection was an opportunity for the Là Fuori brand to deal not only with the ancient art of silk processing but also with current trends and trends in order to fully respond to the needs of the modern consumer. , increasingly attentive to their lifestyle in harmony with the environment and the life that surrounds it.
Our attention was immediately focused on vegan customers and we asked ourselves: “will they wear our clothes?”.
In fact, those who choose a 360 ° vegan lifestyle should not pay attention only to what they eat. The choice of clothes to wear also requires scrupulous control of the labels. One of these is silk. But why? This natural fiber is produced by silkworms, worms that in their development process create the filament used in the textile industry.
Towards a cruelity-free fabric
The exploitation of animals for the production of clothing is therefore an exclusion factor for a vegan. Added to this is the fact that to accumulate silk threads to be used in factories, the most widespread industrial technique involves killing worms. The larvae are bred as the most common domestic animals. Nourished with mulberry leaves, these grow until they reach the first evolutionary phase or the creation of the cocoon for entry into the pupal stage. But while in nature the chrysalises would transform into moths, in the farms these are subjected to a treatment that blocks the metamorphosis and kills the animals. The cocoons are in fact boiled in boiling water to unroll the wrapping and thus form the thread used in textile factories. This is one of the techniques used, the most widespread. A process, however, with a very low return. Wanting to provide some data, suffice it to say that 3 thousand silkworms are used to produce less than half a kilo of silk. An alternative breeding method that does not involve killing them is the Peace Silk (or Ahimsa Silk).
In this case, breeders wait for the cocoons to break, letting the moths fly away. Only then do they get the silk from the abandoned wraps. The system, however, is much more problematic: you get broken threads, which have to be woven together. In addition, the obtained silk would cost much more.
The origin of Ahimsa Silk
The creation and marketing of ahimsa silk is attributed to Kusuma Rajaiah, a 60-year-old government official from Andhra Pradesh in India, who holds the patent and trademark of Ahimsa Silk. Inspired by Gandhi, Rajaiah applied his 40 years of experience in sericulture and the theories behind the ahimsa lifestyle to silk production.
He discovered that it was possible to create silk without killing silkworms and began weaving ahimsa silk in 1990. In 2001, his company began marketing silk and continues to gain popularity both in India and abroad.
Ahimsa silk production is a humane alternative to this conventional silk production. It can be made from any type of silk. In this method, the silk cocoons are collected and processed only after the moth has hatched the cocoon. The moth secretes a liquid to dissolve a hole from which to hatch, breaking the long, continuous silk fiber into shorter staples. These shorter stitches need to be spun together; just like wool or cotton staples are spun into thread. The high sheen and luster of silk is exchanged for a thicker, more textured fabric.
From an economic point of view, ahimsa silk costs about twice as much as regular silk. It takes 10 more days for the larvae to grow into moths and hatch. Additionally, ahimsa silk cocoons produce about one sixth the volume of fibers.
A fabric with ethical principles
In Jainism, ahimsa is the standard by which all actions are judged. For a householder who keeps small vows (anuvrata), the practice of ahimsa requires that no animal life be killed. However, for an ascetic who observes the great vows (mahavrata), ahimsa implies the utmost care to prevent the ascetic from knowingly or unknowingly causing injury to any living soul (jiva); hence, ahimsa applies not only to humans and large animals but also to insects, plants and microbes.
Though Hindus and Buddhists never required such strict observance of ahimsa as the Jains, vegetarianism and tolerance of all forms of life spread to India. The Buddhist emperor Ashoka, in his ancient inscriptions, emphasized the sanctity of animal life.
What a better principle than this, therefore, for a brand like Là Fuori, which really wants to make fabric a lifestyle and an instrument of connection between different people and cultures.
Our garments tell about millenary textile cultures and being able to do it with the utmost respect for life will be a great exercise for us for a better evolution of art itself