Silkremainsone of the most sought-after fabrics today that is used for garment making due to its lustrous texture and immense tensile strength. In ancient times, only the royalties can afford to wear it because its intensive production process is costly. Another reason for its expensiveness is that it needs to be imported from China, the originator of sericulture, through the Silk Road which is perilous for the merchants because of the presence of bandits. For this reason, its initial rate gets pricier. Even today, silk is still expensive despite the use of cutting-edge technology to meet the high demand coming from the fashion industry.
Sources of Silk
Silk can be produced synthetically or naturally. Currently, it can be made out of 7 various sources in which each displays different properties and uses.
- Art or Bamboo Silkis a synthetic fiber made from blending viscose, a semi-synthetic rayon fabric made from wood pulp, and fibers from bamboo stalks. Although it shares the same smooth texture as natural silk, it is harder to clean and is commonly used as a rug or carpet.Its other names are Banana Silk, Luxcelle, Tencel, Lyocell, Bember, and Modal.
- Assam or Muga Silk is a natural fiber made from silkworm which is endemic in Assam, India. The silk is made by silkworms which are fed on a strict diet of aromatic som and sualu leaves. This silk is worn mostly by Indian royalties.
- Eri Silk is made from silkworms which can be found in China, Japan, and Northeast India. It is not typically used for garment making due to its high elasticity, heaviness, and wool-like feature. Instead, they are used in making curtains and bed covers as it provides good insulation.
- Mulberry Silkremains the silk-of-choice in the fashion industry because it is lightweight with immense tensile strength. It is the strongest known natural protein-based fiber in the world that is madefrom the saliva of a silkworm coming from the silk moth species of Bombyx Mori.These caterpillars are fed with mulberry leaves where their name is got. This silk is used commonly for making gowns, dresses, shirts, and men’s silk pajamas since it is hypoallergenic and has good thermal insulation.
- Sea Silk is an extremely unique natural fiber that is made from a bivalve mollusk called Pinna nobilis. It is a type of clam that can only be found in the Mediterranean Sea and is processed by the people of Sardinia. Due to its rarity, sea silk is considered to be one of the most expensive silks in the world.
- Spider Silkare natural protein-based fibersthat are produced by spiders which has a strength that is five times stronger than steel. If it is in human size, it could snag a jetliner. Unlike other silk, spider silk cannot be produced on large scale for the fabric industry because cultivating them would be a challenge since these hairy arachnids are known as cannibals.
- Tussar Silk, also known as Wild Silk, are natural fibers produced by silkworms from the moth genus Antheraea which are commonly found in the deep forest of India, China, Japan, and Sri Lanka. It has a natural golden color since the winged moth is in yellow, too. It is usually used as a women’s sarees because it is less durable with a rough texture compared to mulberry silk.