Have you been wondering is silk vegan?
- by asilklife
Before many answers would directly go to " silk is not vegan. "
At least if we talk about the standard, mass-produced silk that is used to make most clothing and other articles that are available to be purchased in shops or markets. The reason is that silk is produced from the cocoons of the larvae of insects, usually the mulberry silkworm.
Silkworms are the caterpillar of silk moths, but if they happen to be born into sericulture (silk farming), they will never get the chance to spread their wings because they will be boiled, steamed, or gassed to death whilst in their cocoon. Given that it takes around 3,000 cocoons to produce around one kilogram of silk (so roughly 5,000 cocoons to make a silk kimono), that is a lot of killing.
The conventional silk production process described above represents the majority of the overall silk market. However, there’s a more ethical alternative called peace silk, which is also known as Ahimsa silk.
Peace silk is made by allowing the Bombyx mori to complete their transformation into a moth in the imago phase.
While this is a less harmful way of silk farming, it comes with major commercial trade-offs including:
- For the Bombyx mori to grow inside the cocoon and naturally make its way out, the production of peace silk takes about two weeks longer than conventional organic silk.
- Since the Bombyx mori destroy the silk thread when hatching, the fabric must be woven together by hand. This means the threads are not continuous, and some folks argue that this results in a less delicate texture than conventional silk.
- The damaged cocoons yield six times less filament than a full cocoon. So instead of 1,500 meters of silk from a cocoon, we’re looking at 250 meters on average.
Because of these compromises, peace silk is twice as expensive and far less profitable than conventional silk. This makes it challenging for designers to sustainably work with peace silk in the global marketplace.
Peace silk process of creating silk humanely begins in one of two ways: either the pupa is allowed to hatch and the leftover cocoon is then used to create silk, or the cocoon may be cut open, achieving much the same result but often saving the resultant material from contamination by urine from the hatching moth.
With ahimsa silk, however, cocoons are left alone for seven to 10 days. Once the worms mature, they are allowed to pierce the cocoons and fly away as moths. Only then does the manufacture of peace silk begin. Each cocoon is checked individually to ensure that the moth has escaped before the silk thread is spun.
Spinning takes around two months and weaving another month. In other words, shipments can be ready three months after the moth's escape. We can produce up to 2,000 meters per month. Ahimsa silk is promoted as having the popular properties of regular silk. Even though it is slightly less lustrous, it is even softer to the touch.
We hope one day Peace silk could be widely promoted and used， and be sure the silk industry will have a better future and be more environmentally friendly.