Organic cotton and hemp are both great materials to make our clothes and other textile goods from; indeed they're far more eco-friendly than pesticide laden cotton crops or oil-based polyesters that clog the earth's soil with nasty, millennia lasting chemicals. But here's another wonderful material to weave into the fabric of our fashion green-savvy lives. Bamboo.
Bamboo fabric has a superb pro's list. It is incredibly soft - it feels somewhere between cashmere and silk. This fibre is antibacterial, antifungal and antistatic so it allows your skin to breath better when wearing it. A great insulator Bamboo clothing keeps you warmer in the cold and cooler in the warm. It also absorbs 3-4 times more water than cotton.
In terms of the plants environmental impact it beats soya and cotton crops by a long shot. Environmentally kind and sustainable, bamboo does not require fertilizers, pesticides or any other chemical aids. It grows abundantly in the wild. It is in fact the world's fastest growing plant and does not leave the lasting scar of nutrient abuse on the soil it's grown in, unlike soya and cotton (it yields ten times more than cotton).
If that wasn't enough eco cred here's some more. Bamboo releases more oxygen into the atmosphere than trees. Their complex root system helps to reduce desertification and as a crop it requires little water, is able to survive in drought and flood conditions. A truly renewable resource new shoots continuously grow, ready to replace the old ones.
If there were any cons to the fibrous Bamboo it would be the shrinkage factor. It's not too bad in relative terms to cotton but it is advisable to buy bamboo shirts that have been ‘double washed' during their creation as they're less likely to shrink in the wash. The good news is you can wash your bamboo clothes as you would your regular load of laundry - warm water and tumble-drying is fine (of course for eco reasons we all line dry don't we!). Interestingly, studies have found that bamboo fabric has retained its antibacterial nature after 50 washes. If you'd like to maintain it's brilliant water absorbent properties it's best to avoid softeners.
If you're looking for clothing made from this wondrous fibre try Emma Nissim
who make designed to order bamboo shirts (male and female), underwear and comfy wear. Bamboo Clothing
create good bamboo yoga gear and Devidoll
have some gorgeous bamboo dresses.