It may seem unlikely, but dressing in nettle clothes is possible! Don’t be fooled by appearances and forget all your prejudices about this wild plant. Commonly considered as a weed whose main use is to cause itching to anyone who dares to approach it, the nettle is a plant of the future. Indeed, natural nettle fibre represents an ecological alternative and seems to be the future of sustainable and vegan textiles.
What is nettle fibre?
Like linen, nettle fibre is a natural fibre. It is woven from the stem. Once the plant grows, real branches appear. After removing all the stinging leaves, a rich source of fibre is revealed. Its natural fibres, once woven, are ideal for textile design.
Moreover, this fibre has interesting properties. Similar to hemp and jute, nettle is thermo-regulating. It therefore keeps warm in winter and cool in summer. It is light, strong and has anti-bacterial properties. Its elasticity also makes it a pleasant fabric to wear.
This use of nettle is not common, but it is not a recent discovery. In fact, a knife in a nettle sheath was found in the Alps several thousand years ago. This fibre was left aside to make room for other fabrics such as silk or cotton. However, in a context where exploitation for the textile industry is being questioned, nettle offers an eco-responsible alternative.
Nettle clothing: a responsible alternative
Nettle fibre offers a solution to the catastrophic ecological impact of cotton. Indeed, to produce a pair of cotton jeans, between 5,000 and 10,000 litres of water are needed. In addition, cotton production monopolises on average 30 to 50% of all the pesticides used on the planet. Faced with the new ecological challenges, many companies are looking for an alternative and plant fibres such as nettle are favoured.
Nettle production does not require the use of pesticides and no maintenance is required. It requires very little water to grow: this is a great opportunity to put cotton at stake and to valorise this parasitic plant.
As it is only just developing, actions are being taken to start a serious production. Being a plant of Eurasian origin, it would allow the recreation of local crafts.
From placemats to jeans, nettle may surprise you with the wide range of products it can produce. Clothing made from nettle fibre therefore encourages the reduction of our ecological footprint. They open new doors to eco-friendly production and consumption.
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