There are so many different fibers these days, it’s hard to keep them straight. Here is a quick checklist of some of our favorite fibers.
Fibers From Animals:
Merino Wool – Prized for their wool, Merino Sheep deliver a soft, fine fiber that is naturally antibacterial, repels water and stays warm and toasty even when wet.
Cashmere – Cashmere fibers come from the downy winter undercoat of Cashmere Goats. Cashmere wool is finer, stronger and lighter and three times more insulating than sheep’s wool. Often garnishing a premium price even over Ultrafine Merino Wool.
Mohair – A fine and delicate fiber from the Angora goat. Angora is notable for its high luster and sheen, mohair is warm in winter yet moisture-wicking and cool in the summer. Mohair is naturally elastic, flame and crease-resistant. Mohair is often blended with other fibers (like nylon) to increase its durability.
Angora – Not to be mistaken for Mohair, which comes from the Angora Goat (see above). Angora refers to the downy coat of the Angora Rabbit. Angora Rabbit fur fibers are much warmer and lighter than wool due to the hollow core of the angora fiber. There are several animal cruelty concerns in the “plucking” of fur from Angora rabbits. “Plucking” might sound bad, but plucking in this sense refers to the brushing out of the rabbit’s undercoat so you get fewer outer fibers (sort of like using an undercoat brush on your dog).
Alpaca – Alpaca is a cute animal (well, we think so) resembling a Llama. Alpaca fibers are similar to sheep’s wool but actually hypoallergenic because it lacks lanolin. Alpaca fibers are naturally water-repellent and warmer than sheep’s wool.
Silk – The silk worm isn’t so much an animal as insect, but we’ve put it into this category. A silkworm creates a cocoon from one continuous thread of protein. The silk is harvested from the cocoons. The cocoons are boiled or steamed to kill the pupa and loosen the seracin that holds the cocoon together. Individual silk threads are unraveled from the cocoon and spun into a thread. Each cocoon can contain a continuous thread between 300 and 900 meters in length.
There are many different plants and plant products made into apparel fibers these days.
Cotton – The most widely produced natural fiber on the planet. The cotton seed head contains the fiber that is spun into yarn.
Linen – made from the stems of flax plants. Linen is one of the few fabrics that is stronger wet than dry.
Lyocell and Modal – fibers are manufactured from wood pulp. Chemicals are used in the production of these fibers, but the process is free from harmful solvents, and the processes are closed loop (meaning that the chemicals are captured and reused over and over again). Tencel® is a certified form of Lyocell that is guaranteed to be made from sustainable wood pulp. Bamboo Lyocell is sustainable because bamboo is a fast-growing sustainable crop. Our Fall 2018 Lightweight Base Layer collection features Tencel®.
Soy – An eco friendly fabric manufactured from food production waste (tofu manufacturing), made from the hulls of soy beans. Soy is soft, easy to care for and absorbs dyes quickly.
Viscose, Hemp, Jute, Bamboo, Sisal, and several others – are all different wood pulps and plants used to make apparel fibers.