PEACE SILK (ERI / AHIMSA / VEGETARIAN SILK)

Peace silk means that the silkworm has been allowed to complete its cycle and become a moth, mate, lay eggs and die happy. This means that the single thread of the cocoon is broken to become multiples of shorter threads. Although not as shiny as traditional silk, it still is very beautiful and retains the characteristics of silk.

WILD SILK

Gathered empty cocoons from the wild, give a naturally brown colour.

HEMP

Hemp is a wonderful fabric for many reasons and it is one of the most versatile crops. It requires one fifth of water needed to grow cotton, grows in all conditions, needs few or no pesticides or fertilisers and grows quickly. It can be used for fabric, paper, rope, food and building materials. (P128 Eco-Chic The Fashion Paradox by Sandy Black, Black Dog Publishing, London 2011) It is also lovely to wear, feeling cool in summer and warm in winter and is much stronger than cotton. It blends well with a lot of other fibres such as silk, wool, tencel etc… which means it isn’t so coarse as it can be by itself.

ORGANIC COTTON

No chemical pesticides, fertilisers, insecticides or herbicides are used to cultivate organic cotton. Nor is it genetically modified. It benefits the farmers’ health and wealth as they aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals and they don’t have to buy them. It is also beneficial for the soil, water supply and surrounding ecosystem. ( Eco-Chic The Fashion Paradox by Sandy Black, Black Dog Publishing, London 2011) It is also beneficial for the wearer of this fabric as it contains no poisonous chemicals that can be absorbed into the skin. However, dying and finishing can compromise the fabric’s purity if harmful chemicals are used. See notes on natural dyes.

CARING FOR SILK

All natural silks and hemps can be hand washed. Soften by rolling and shaking when almost dry. Do not soak coloured fabrics and rinse well. Look after your silk clothes with love.

NATURAL DYES

Fabrics might be organic, fair trade and ecologically sound, but if they are then dyed with toxic chemicals, it seems to defeat the purpose.
Vigilantia strives to use fabrics that are dyed naturally. Not only do the colours look beautiful, but they are beneficial for all. Industrial dyes pollute waterways, affecting local people, animals and the environment – usually in a third world country where there are no environmental regulations.
‘Synthetic textiles and synthetic dyes are silent contributors to ill health. Many commercially dyed textiles still shed colour after many rinses.’ (Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, India Flint, Murdoch Books, 2008, Australia)
The skin is an organ of the body, and wearing toxic chemicals contained in fabric close to the skin can’t be a good thing. Vigilantia uses bought, natural hand-dyed fabric as well as its own locally dyed eucalypt fabric.

EUCALYPT

Some of Vigilantia’s first range is hand-dyed locally with eucalyptus leaves. On silk, the particular variety of gumleaves has produced a lovely beige colour. What is great about eucalyptus dyes, besides the smell, is it is a natural mordant, so no toxic chemicals or heavy metals are used to fix the colour. The leaves are sustainably and locally sourced.

INDIGO

The indigo used in the debut range is sourced from the Artist Empowerment Project in rural India and dyed by Aurora silks in the US. No mordants are used to fix the colour, the fabric is well washed and pre-shrunk and has an excellent colour fastness. Indigo is a completely renewable resource, organically grown,
improves the soil quality and is a legume. Healthwise, it improves skin health, calms the nerves and repels insects and parasites. (www.aurorasilk.com)

GOLD

This colour is obtained with the fustic extract from a micro plant in Mexico that supports a community of harvesters and processors. Again, no mordants are used to fix the colour. It is great for sensitive skin, and stimulates the immune system. It is also well-washed and pre-shrunk. However, it does lighten with exposure to light and washing. (www.aurorasilk.com)

EMERALD

This colour is also made from Indigo and contains the same qualities. See notes on Indigo.