Any way you look at it, bamboo is an amazing plant. Although it can grow to the size of a tree, bamboo is a grass. Giant bamboo is the largest member of the grass family and can grow up to 50ft in height. There are varieties of this grass that grow well in nearly every climate and growing “well” can be an understatement for bamboo. This plant is known to grow up to 60 cm (nearly 2 feet) a day in an ideal environment!
In addition to it’s amazing feats of growth, bamboo also some other fascinating attributes. Bamboo is a hardy plant that thrives with out the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It also has the ability to reach its full size in one growing season and is ready for harvest in as little as 3 years. In the hands of a responsable farmer, bamboo has the potential to be a 100% sustainable crop.
Some of you are starting to wonder. Bamboo on a fashion blog…what’s up with that? There is a method to my madness. Readers who follow fiber content labels on clothing will affirm that bamboo is becoming more and more popular in the clothing we wear everyday. From infant to adult, work to leisure, bamboo fabrics are showing up everywhere. And why shouldn’t they? Bamboo fabric feels amazing against the skin, has natural moisture wicking and antibacterial properties, and is temperature regulating.
The most commonly used bamboo fabric is rayon. Bamboo rayon is produced by chemically breaking down bamboo fibers to create a lightweight, breathable fabric with an incredibly soft hand. While the chemicals generally used aren’t the most eco-friendly, the over all production of bamboo rayon is less caustic than the production of conventional cotton.
As with anything relatively new, there are skeptics and nay-sayers. I won’t say that bamboo is going to save the earth or that it is the new wonder fiber. What I will say is that it is a smart and viable option in a world full of uncertainty.