History of Silk

Silk is one of the most luxuriousmaterials that never loses its popularitysince its discovery. Its grandness in the fashion industrycan be dated back to the 27th century BC wherein a Chinese Empress, His Ling Shi, accidentally discovered its ability to be weaved. It happenedwhileshe was sipping tea under a mulberry tree when a cocoon fell into her cup. Seeing the shimmering thread from the cocoon, the empress marveled and became more interested in it. She began looking for its source in the mulberry tree which was found to be a silkworm coming from the Bombyx Mori species. Since then, it became a new source of fabric for garment making in which only the Chinese royalty got to wear.

Due to its high demand, sericulture has flourished and even reach the different sides of the world which pave the way tothe Silk Road that made the trading between the Western and Eastern sides efficient. The sumptuousness of the silk brought gold, silver, and wool to Asia. As an effect, sericulture spreads even more into different countriesin Europe, Africa, as well as in different parts of Asia. For 3 millennia, this valuable commodity was monopolized by the Chinese people by keeping the intensive silk production process hidden from the world for more than 30 centuries. But when industrialization began in the 19th century, the European silk industry, which aspires to dominate the field, fell. This is also the time when the Suez Canal was opened, and the Japanese people took over the sericulture by producing cheaper silk which makes this fabric available to the masses and not only to the nobility. Other factors like the development of man-made fiber like nylon replaced the use of silk in making stockings and parachutes. Not long after, China regained its position in the 1970s which makes her the world’s biggest silk producer now as it supplies two-thirds of the total silk production in the world. China remains the queen in the silk production industry because she had mastered the complex process of making high-quality silk which outdoes her competitors.

Silk in the Fashion Industry

Currently, different types of silkare available in the market in which its difference is set by the variousness of its sources. But the most popular is the silk coming from Bombyx Mori which comprises 90% of the silk that is produced globally.Silk may look fragile at first glance, but when you weave it, it has an immense tensile strength. Owing to its protein-based structure, a long and continuous thread can be made out from it. The reason why silk is used in the fashion industry is because of its following added qualities:

  • Breathability because it is lightweight.
  • It has enough elasticity
  • It has good thermal regulationcaused by the holes in between the weaved threads.
  • It is lustrous due to its smooth and straight structure.

The only downside of silk is that it has highabsorbency, which can weaken the sturdy structure of the silk and reduces its insulation ability, but this is also counteracted by its high drying speed that makes it ideal for clothing purposes.Before women wear silk the most, but today, it is also utilized to make men’s silk pajamas.