Did you know there are 15 different kinds of natural fibres?
Well there are.
Produced by both plants and animals, each type of natural fibre has it's own individual characteristics and ideal use. Plants fibres include both materials ideal for textile and clothing, such as cotton, flax, hemp and ramie, and other more coarse varieties. Sisal and jute are popular for rugs and other furniture. Coir, from the outer shell of a coconut, is used to make rope and brushes, among other things. And Abaca has been recognized as an energy-saving replacement for glass fibres in automobiles.
But the most luxurious of the natural fibres are those produced by animals.
Imagine the softness of a cashmere scarf as it brushes across your skin. Or the smooth coolness of silk. These materials simply exude quality.
Mohair is renowned for its luster and sheen, giving it a silk-like feel. It comes from the hair of the Angora goat, and is nicknamed the "diamond fibre." It's used to make textiles.
Camel hair can stand alone or blended with another fibre, such as wool, to make textiles. It comes from the two-humped Bactrian camel - both the fine, soft undercoat and the more coarse outer coat, or guard hair, can be used. It's collected when the animals naturally shed during molting season.
And of course there is wool. There are three kinds: alpaca, angora and sheep. Each are used to create high-quality materials, and are highly durable. Wool is perhaps the most widely recognized of the animal-produced natural fibres.
But in spite of the quantity of options, why use natural fibre?
It's the quality.
Natural fibres offer a multitude of benefits beyond their sumptuous feel. They provide ventilation intrinsically, whether it be heating or cooling, and many have natural antibacterial properties.
Let's look at sheepskin, as an example. It has an incredibly soft feel, ideal for both garments and home decor. It has natural stain-repelling properties and doesn’t absorb odors, so less worries about wine spills and cooking smells. It's durable, hypoallergenic, and sustainable. The quality is, literally, built in.
Similar accolades can be said for each of the other varieties.
So given the option between synthetic and natural fibres, keep it real. With so many options and the high standards they each meet, there's no reason not to.
Amy Lynne Hayes
Visit / amylynnehayes.com