The thought of sustainability is not new, earlier “Brundtland” Report in 1987 raised a thought process of sustainable development. The Rio Earth Summit, 'green issues' made their way into fashion and textiles publications. Typically these publications featured the work of well-known Clothing companies such as Patagonia and ESPRIT brands, who in the late 1980s brought environmental concerns into their businesses. A research agenda around sustainable fashion has been in development since the early 1990s. In 1992, the ESPRIT Eco-collection was launched at retail and it was based on the Eco Audit Guide. In 2011 the brand Patagonia ran an advertisement campaign "Don't buy this jacket" with a picture of Patagonia merchandise. This message was intended to encourage people to purchase only what they need to save nature.
In 2019, a group of researchers formed the Union for Concerned Researchers in Fashion to advocate for radical and co-ordinate research activity commensurate with the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change. In the fall of 2019, the UCRF received the North Star Award at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, an organization focused on the promotion of sustainability in the fashion industry.
Bamboo in the textile industry is the revolution of sustainability since the past more than a decade. When you consider it, bamboo is a very logical choice of fibre for many items of clothing. As well as having excellent strength, shape stability, wash-ability, colorfastness and being exceptionally comfortable against the skin, bamboo fibre also boasts the following unique properties:
Zero pesticides for Bamboo cultivation: Bamboo has been grown for millennia in Asia without the use of pesticides. It is rarely attacked by any pests and not susceptible to diseases. The reason for this. Bamboo yarns and textiles are produced without the use of dangerous toxic chemicals and no polluting residues remain in the cloth when it finally wears out and is discarded. It comes from nature and is returned to nature in a smooth natural cycle. It has been grown for thousands of years without environmental degradation. This is what is meant by complete sustainability. Very few crops can make this claim. Bamboo grows very fast and reaches its full height of say 20 metres in an incredible 3 months on an average. It has a tensile strength quite similar to mild steel.
UV rays protection: Bambo has 60% higher UV rays protection than cotton. UV rays cause premature ageing of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis. Indirectly we can say it is anti-ageing and protect skin and hairs health. The countries have higher UV levels are Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina New Zealand and Australia. These have the highest incidence rate for melanoma in the world.
Bamboo has Anti-Bacterial properties: Japanese scientists have found, is a unique anti-bacterial agent of bamboo named “bamboo kun”. This substance, combined with the tight molecular structure of bamboo fibres, are believed to give it its anti-bacterial and bacteriostatic properties – which is not diminished even after more than 50 washes! Introduced bacteria on the bamboo fabric were reduced to less than 0.2% of the introduced number in 24 hours whilst introduced bacteria on cotton fabric multiplied to 550 times the introduced number, also in 24 hours. Post Covid-19 societies are very conscious about health and looking forward to anti-bacterial and healthy lifestyle products.
Bamboo is Anti Odour: Body odour results from gases produced by bacteria which live on the waste which is exuded from our bodies – sweat and dead skin cells which our bodies give off constantly as a perfectly natural part of living. Some people have much smellier feet and underarms than most because they shed more dead cells from their feet and underarms than others or they have specific personal bacteria which give off that offensive smell. In such a situation, Bamboo products are the right choice from intimate wear, Inner-wear to sportswear. In Bamboo products, any moisture (sweat) is immediately absorbed and taken away from the skin
There is a lot more to do in terms of using Bamboo in the textile industry. Till now industry is working at core items and basic need. Organic vegetable dyes and printing can make the bamboo fabric fit more into delivering fashion and style. Fiber is soft, limp and drape able. It can fit very well to produce a Sustainable luxury classic product for long-lasting uses. Bamboo is not only best for human health but also best for the planet. The bamboos growing play an important role in soil nutrient buildup and maintenance of soil fertility. The nutrient cycling in bamboo forests had shown improvement in soil fertility due to its vigorous growth and litter production. The process of growing bamboo versus growing cotton is much less water-intensive. Bamboo requires one-third the amount of water to grow than is necessary for cotton.