What makes Ahimsa Silk So Special?
Can Silk be made Organic and Ethical?
We were already convinced of the benefits of sleeping on silk pillowcases to help fight frizz, split ends and wrinkles long ago. But we and all the ethically-minded sleepers were questioning how the environmental and animal-welfare impact of silk could be improved even further. Let us take a deeper look on the production of silk to better understand these questions.
How is silk made?
Silk fibres consist of 97% protein. The larvae of a silkworms produce silk to form a protective cocoon around itself to have an undisturbed metamorphosis. Before that, the larva feeds on specific kind of foods, e.g. mulberry leaves, which would produce mulberry silk. Once the cocoon is ready – the silk farmers would throw the cocoons into boiling water. They do so, to prevent the silkworm from eating its way into freedom and would destroy the precious fiber. It’s a common practice to eat silkworms in rural areas.
Why are Silk Cocoons Boiled?
It is though necessary to soak cocoons in boiling water to soften the sericin, that is holding the silk fibers together. Each cocoon contains up to 1,5 km thread. According to the required yarn size, the unwound threads of 3 to 20 cocoons are then spun together to form a single silk yarn.
What is different about Ahimsā Silk?
Ahimsa in the Buddhist or Hindu traditions means the principle of avoidance of violence towards others. It means living in respect of all living beings. That’s the principle Ahimsā or Peace Silk is based on.
No silkworm is killed during the production of Peace Silk. Instead of boiling the silkworm alive, they are allowed to hatch. They’re enabled to do so, because the farmers make little cuts at a certain position of the cocoon. This allows silkworms to hatch almost naturally and to maintain the precious filament at the same time. Just think about it as a form of gentle midwifery. The cocoons are collected as residual product and boiled afterwards.
1.) Ethical benefits of Peace Silk
Peace Silk won’t use genetically modified larvae, or such that lost their ability to fly or eat through generations of generations of breeding – and would face another type of death in starvation. This is common practice as well.
Ahimsa Silk typically leads to 10 extra days in the process to let the silkworms grow and hatch, plus a few additional steps of labour. Whereas the conventional, and less humane way only takes about 15 minutes. Peace Silk is labour intense and more costly but we love the ethical approach and work around a conventional process that has been questioned – and improved ethically.
2.) Environmental benefits of Peace Silk
Besides being cruelty-free and enabling a full metamorphosis, Peace Silk has another exceptional gain: the silk itself and the process of production are completely organic. This means:
• No pesticides are used on the Mulberry plantations. Our production uses no toxic fertiliser, insecticide or fungicide. Huge nets are spanned over the trees to protect them from predators instead.
• No chemicals are used during the production process, whereas conventional silk production uses toxic salts for the degumming process, such as Barium, Chromium, Lead or Iron.
3.) Health benefits of Peace Silk
All the mentioned features improve the environmental impact and the impact on animals – but are also better for us. We get silk in its most pure and honest form and get a clean beauty product that is free of toxins and chemicals.
• No chemical or silicone finishes are used. Peace silk gets a finish with the finest natural bio oils. Silk is generally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and acts as a natural dust mites and fungal repellant. This makes it one of the cleanest materials to sleep on. Allergy sufferers knew it all along. All those benefits make Peace Silk products safe to rest on with a good conscience. Organic, fair and sustainable.