Silk is a fabric that many love but only a few can afford. It is considered to be one of the best quality fibres in the whole world. In the fashion world, silk is a luxury fabric. Silk is made from the natural cocoon fibres of the silkworms before they turn into moths. The fibres are smooth and are made of the natural protein derived from animals. Silk was originally discovered in China and was mostly produced for royalty and nobility of that age.
According to production statistics, only a little over 160,000 tonnes of silk are produced each year with the largest producer being China with upwards of 120 tonnes. India is next in line with 23,000 tonnes and Vietnam produces only 6,000 tonnes.
What makes silk so expensive?
● Availability: Silk is very limited in availability because of the slow production process. It takes more than 5,000 silkworms to produce 1kg of silk. The farming and harvesting of silkworms are slow and labour-intensive processes.
● Cost of Production: Silk is expensive to produce. Between the farming of mulberry trees, the rearing of silkworms and the extraction of silk fibres from the silkworms are tedious and expensive processes. This cost will eventually affect the selling price of the silk.
● Time Constraints: Producing silk is not only labour and cost intensive, it is also a time consuming process. The farming of trees and raising of silkworms is already a slow process, but when you add in the time it would also take to extract the silk fibres, treat and then spin the silk thread and weave the fabric, this adds more time to an already tedious process. This is not also counting the bleaching, dyeing and treatment of the fabric. This is because silk has to be harvested carefully, without breaking or damaging the fibres, and this process can take a long time. This will in turn affect the availability of and when supply is low and demand is high, the price of an item will rise higher.
Silk is a lustrous, shiny and smooth fabric made from the fibres of silkworm cocoons which have to be reared properly and carefully. Between the low availability of silk, the cost of production and the time it takes to produce silk as well as the luxurious feeling and health benefits it has, it is no wonder that silk is one of the most expensive fabrics in the world today.
Paula London is a designer and creator of silk scarves and garments in beautiful prints and styles. Shop our Collection and Beauty Box.