When you think of the word bamboo, what image first comes to mind? Maybe a picture of an adorable Panda or perhaps you imagined a zen Balinese bungalow? Fashion probably wasn’t the first image that came to mind. So here’s a fashionable surprise for you: bamboo has become one of the most sought-after garment fabrics, closely competing with big names, such as cotton and linen.
In these times of dramatic climate change, while focusing our efforts towards exploring a more sustainable lifestyle, the fashion industry has become an intensified topic to tackle. Thus, finding natural and eco-friendly fibers that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye is the ultimate treasure hunt.
Like any reputable contestant, bamboo also has its nay-sayers. Is it really sustainable and do its antibacterial attributes still work after industrial processing? Or is this yet again another shot at boosting a brand’s marketing tactics?
Diving deep down into these questions might be quite overwhelming, so here’s a guide that will enlighten you on the matter.
What is Bamboo Clothing?
Tracing back to its origins in Asia, harvesting bamboo has been a traditional activity for millennia. It’s practical uses extend from building homes, medicine, fencing, food and yes, even a fabric in garment production.
Bamboo clothing is made from the pulp of bamboo grass. Keep in mind that this is not the same source of food for Pandas. Identified as one of the easiest to care for and sustainable plants, this grass needs no pesticides, fertilizers or replanting as it regenerates on its own.
Bamboo garments are gaining a lot of popularity these days. As the natural fibers can be considered a substitute for cotton in terms of breathability and flexibility, bamboo clothing varies from shirts, dresses and T-shirts to socks and lingerie (courtesy of its softness and antibacterial properties).
How is Bamboo Clothing Made?
Here comes the tricky part: is the process of making bamboo clothing sustainable or is this another environmental nuisance? Well, it all depends on the type of bamboo fabric we’re referring to.
There are two major ways through which bamboo garments are created. The first option to transform the fast-growing grass into fabric is to spiral the raw organic bamboo fibers into threads. Even though this may seem the easy way out, it is laborious and tedious, involving significant effort from the workers. Moreover, the woven result is not as soft as one might expect.
This leads us to the second manufacturing option: bamboo rayon. This type of transformation requires in-depth processing, fueling the speculations on the bamboo sustainability and its environmental imprint.
But let’s break it down a bit.
1. The viscose process
The viscose process implies dissolving the bamboo, which essentially is cellulose, using special chemicals, in the end producing a viscous and pulpous substance. Extracted from the wooden pulp, the cellulose is then transformed into sheets, submersed in carbon disulfide, sifted and refine.
The result is twisted into threads that, ultimately, can be considered to be semi-synthetic. Even though the process of bamboo fabric production started out promising, the waste product is toxic for humans and the environment.
But don’t be warry, there is a solution to this labor of chemical havoc. Renouncing the process of chemically transforming the cellulose, the catalyst used in this alternative is reusable, minimizing the ecological mark.
2. The closed-loop process
The luxurious option for creating bamboo garments is to completely get rid of the cellulose extraction. This is called the closed-loop process. As a substitute to the chemicals, a natural enzyme comes into action directly onto the wood fibers which are then filtered and cleaned. Eventually, the fabric will be smooth, durable and eco-friendly.
What Clothing Styles and Outfits Suit Bamboo Best?
If you want to shift the trend in your wardrobe and take a full swing on sustainability, then bamboo clothing can be the right choice. Flexible, durable and with a considerable amount of beneficial properties, both for the environment and your skin, choosing a bamboo garment should be exciting!
But what styles and outfits go best with this particular type of fibers?
Temperature adaptable, bamboo clothes are fantastic for both winter and summer. Style wise, bamboo clothes are manufactured to satisfy a more laid-back look, but also an office attire. The range of options is promising! From T-shirts, skirt and dresses, to underwear and sportswear, bamboo garments satisfy a great area of needs.
Imagine enjoying a hike during a warm spring day, wearing a pair of natural UV-protective bamboo leggings and top and stylish phone cases. Breathable, moisture-blocking and comfortable, the natural fibers ensure the lack of body odor and are known to reduce skin allergies.
There is no need to transition to a minimalist and neutral color palette when wearing bamboo clothing. Using natural dyers, the fibers are colored in a broad spectrum of shades, so there is a high chance you can match that new set of mules with an organic bamboo summer dress. Bear in mind that the dyes used are long-lasting and don’t wear off when machine washed.
For the office, flaunting a more serious look is definitely attainable with bamboo garments. Choose a classic pencil skirt, patent leather stilettos, a crisp white shirt and a bamboo jacket. A bamboo jacket for office hours is highly beneficial due to its resistance to moisture and temperature control.
What are popular styles trending right now?
Being on trend resembles a lot to a Soul cycle session. Running around town for the statement fall coat that matches the mini quilted skirt and padded shoulders T-shirt, for sure burns as many calories as a day at the gym. Or at least this would be the dream.
1. Natural Fabrics Frenzy
Mixing and styling natural fiber garments with en vogue pieces is one of the biggest hits of 2020 that will pave its own path into 2021 as well.
A bamboo blouse with a plain design works wonders with a black fringe suede jacket, high-waist slim jeans and white sneakers.
2. Making Noise With Neutrals
One roaring style at the moment is the neutral palette. You can opt for different shades of beige or warm tones of dusted creams.
Wearing a long bamboo skirt with a pair of sneakers and a plain white shirt is a noteworthy look. Splash a dash of burnt tangerine into your outfit with a pair of statement earrings or necklace for a vivid signature on this outfit.
3. Bamboo Blazer Blast
Casually wondering how to stylishly transition from corporate meetings to Margaritas? A bamboo blazer is the unexpected, yet beaming with glory answer.
For an upscale feminine and contemporary outfit, choose a bamboo blazer in the color of your preference and add a pair of light blue mom jeans or boyfriend jeans. Accessorize your urban attire with a flair of bourgeoisie by wearing an empress headband and round tip lacquer high heels.
4. Bamboo Underwear
Are you used to wearing cotton undergarments? Aside from cotton, one of the best underwear fabrics is bamboo. Bamboo underwear is moisture-wicking, breathable, and durable. The bamboo fabric is comfortably soft, feeling great against the skin. It’s like cotton but more durable and long-lasting.
Trying out a bamboo underwear is a great idea and new experience for you. You might just find wearing one very pleasing and satisfying. Wearing a bamboo underwear makes wearing jeans more comfortable because it’s more absorbent than cotton. You can wear a bamboo undergarment with a dress, shorts, or any type of clothes you think of without feeling itchiness and other types of discomfort.
In addition, undergarments that are made of bamboo have antibacterial properties. Hence, you have some sort of protection against bacteria and other microbes that may possibly cause infection. According to a trusted source, the antibacterial properties of bamboo extracts with dimethyl sulphoxide are strong and effective against Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria.
You can easily buy high quality undergarments online, such as Bamboo Underwear. Just check the bamboo undergarment the company is offering by reading the listing very carefully. You’d want to go for companies known for quality products. Determine how the company manufactures its products and makes true on its claims.
Is it really worth it?
Depending on the production process, you can enjoy all of the valuable properties of bamboo fiber garments. Keep in mind that bamboo rayon is considered semi-synthetic, making it less soft, having its benefits toned down. But the good news is you can still enjoy colorful and stylish clothes through more sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics. What we are seeing more of in the fashion realm is a slow transition into a better form of self, caring not only about aesthetics, but also considering perpetual planet care. These are exciting times in fashion to try new natural fabrics and contribute to a slow fashion movement.