A look at Bamboo – an ecological alternative to traditional textiles

New technologies mean that bamboo textiles, which have historically been used only for structural elements such as the ribs of corsets or for farmers’ or fishermen’s hats can now be used to produce modern clothing. Modern bamboo clothing is clothing made from either 100% bamboo yarn or a blend of bamboo and cotton yarn. The bamboo yarn can also be blended with other textile fibres such as hemp or spandex.

The high growth rate of bamboo, and the fact that bamboo can grow in diverse worldwide climates means that the bamboo plant is sustainable and a versatile resource. For clothing, the main bamboo species used is called Moso bamboo which is the most important bamboo in China, where it covers about 3 million hectares (about 2% of the total Chinese forest area). It is the main species for bamboo timber and plays an important role for the ecological environment. Bamboo minimises CO2 and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. Very little bamboo is irrigated and there is sound evidence that the water-use efficiency of bamboo is twice that of trees, and much less water than traditional cotton crops.

Bamboo is an extremely resilient and durable fibre. It can feel beautifully soft, silky and pleasant to the touch, yet it’s also strong and feels fresh to wear due to its moisture wicking and absorption properties. It is breathable and thermo-regulating, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. Compared to many manmade fibres, bamboo does not irritate the skin and it is also UV protective.

There are a wide range of suppliers of bamboo clothing now in the market. One company is bamigo.com who cater for men with a range of the softest bamboo T-shirts, long sleeves, tank tops, singlets, boxer shorts, short boxer shorts, briefs and socks. There products have quality finishes, and they promise that with Bamigo undergarments there will be no more unsightly sweat stains. They are iron-free and offer almost unbelievable levels of comfort!