National Textile Day is a day to celebrate an amazing innovation that has greatly impacted all of our lives.
According to the Business Dictionary textiles can be described as “a type of material composed of natural or synthetic fibres. Types of textiles include animal-based material such as wool or silk, plant-based material such as linen and cotton, and synthetic material such as polyester and rayon. Textiles are often associated with the production of clothing”. Can you imagine your life without textiles? We sure cannot!
Textiles: Natural Fibres
The world of textiles started with four main natural fibres; cotton, silk, wool, and linen. Cotton is the most used fibre in the world with 120.86 million bales of cotton produced in 2017. Cotton is grown on a plant related to hibiscus and briefly grows a flower until it is pollinated and replaced with cotton bolls. Once the cotton is harvested it is shipped to be spun, dyed, knitted and woven into fabrics.
Silk is a protein fibre created by silkworms during the process of sericulture. The silkworm begins the process of metamorphosis by secreting a double strand of fibre, known as a fibroin, around itself in a figure eight pattern. The result of sericulture is a beautiful silk fibre.
Wool is most commonly from sheep but can also come from goats, bison, and rabbits. One sheep can produce anywhere from 2 pounds to 30 pounds of wool annually. Different breeds of sheep produce different qualities and weights of wool.
Linen is produced from the inner cellulose fibres of a flax plant. The process of separating the fibres from the outer bark is tedious and labour intensive. Some countries still separate the flax fibres by hand!
These four natural fibres undergo quite amazing processes to be spun into usable textile products. What textiles are you wearing today?