When a designer wants to add beauty and luxury to a collection, silk is one of the go-to fabrics for this purpose. However, for designers who seek to produce vegan, eco-friendly lines, this can pose a problem.
As we all know, silk is created by silkworms, which make their cocoons out of silk thread. The typical silk production process involves killing the worm and harvesting the silk from its cocoon- not exactly vegan-friendly.
So does this mean vegan designers can’t use silk? Not at all!
If you are designing a line and want to be able to be certain that no animals were harmed in the making of your products, there is a solution- ahimsa silk.
“Ahimsa” is a Sanskrit term meaning, “do no harm,” making it an appropriate namesake.
Ahimsa silk, also known as “peace silk” is real silk from a silkworm; however, the worm is left unharmed when the threads are harvested from its cocoon. Instead of the typical silk production process, which involves boiling the cocoons to release the threads, the silk is harvested only after the moth has emerged from the cocoon. The moth is unharmed, and the threads are left free to be used by us.
While this process is more expensive and labor-intensive (the fibers are broken when the cocoon hatches, rather than harvesting a single, continuous strand) many designers feel the payoff justifies the work and price, and use ahimsa silk in their collections.
The end product of ahimsa is just as beautiful and high quality as it’s regular counterpart.
Want to source or experiment with ahimsa silk?
Aurora Silk, a company based in Portland, OR, has been using the ahimsa production technique for a while, and has a wide variety of cruelty-free silks for designers to choose from, including satin, taffeta, tussah and raw silk.