Nettle fibres and yarns are the materials of the future
Since then, the interest in sustainable yarns and cotton alternatives has further increased. “This new trend for stinging nettle fibres has been driven by concerns over the environmental damage caused by the production of fabrics such as cotton.
In the hunt for new, ecologically friendly fabrics, stinging nettle fibre has come up smelling of roses,” confirms Swiss supplier of nettle fibres and yarns SwicoFil.
And deciding on nettle fibres for garment production literally means going back to the roots as people have worn clothes made from nettle fibres and yarns for the past 2,000 years with earliest traces being found from the late Bronze Age in Voldtofte, Denmark.
There is evidence of nettle cloth production in Scandinavia, Poland, Germany, Russia and Scotland as well but also outside of Europe, given that of the three main fibre-producing nettle species – European nettle, Himalayan nettle and Ramie – the latter produces a fine fibre that has been produced commercially in China and Japan for a while now.
Nettle clothing is cool in the summer and warm in winter
Yarn producers use this property by twisting the yarn lengths closed for cool summer clothes to reduce insulation while using a low twist for winter clothes to keep the hollow fibre open to allow for a constant temperature. Quite clever, isn’t it?
But that’s not all – stinging nettle fibres are extremely versatile. And unlike hemp fibres, there is no legal issue with the cultivation of nettles, which has made the plant a viable and legal cash crop. Plus, like hemp, nettles use much less water and pesticides to grow.