Silk is the epitome of luxury when it comes to fabric whether it’s for robes, sheets, or dresses. And there’s a lot of work that goes into making this luscious fabric come to life. Silkworms spin cocoons that silk producers eventually unravel and join to create the thread. Silk production costs have gone up with the introduction of synthetic fabrics like polyester. Following is a transcript of the video.
Humans have been making silk for centuries. It’s a coveted textile for gowns, sheets, and robes. But why is it so expensive? Silk is the product of the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori. The caterpillars eat constantly. They’re fed mulberry leaves five times a day. After 45 days of munching and growing, the worms are ready to mature.
They have a special spinneret that secretes one long continuous filament. That’s the silk. The silkworms spin this filament into a cocoon. Then the caterpillar begins its transformation. Except, this is when silk producers butt in. The cocoons are steamed. This cleans them and kills the pupa inside. If the pupas were kept alive, they would degrade and break the silk. Then the cocoons are unravelled to reveal around half a mile of usable filament.
Filaments are joined to create a thread thick enough to weave into fabric. One yard of silk fabric costs approximately $US100. What makes it worth the cost? We spoke to a few experts on the subject to find out. Shawne Jacobs is the creative director and president of wedding dress design house, Anne Barge.
Consumers accustomed to synthetic materials like polyester expect perfection. Professor Daniel Nicodemo credits silk’s price tag to its thermal conductivity and sturdiness. It’s also easily dyed and doesn’t cause skin irritation. So what do you think? Is silk worth the cost?
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