Monday, 10 May 2010

THE USE OF NETTLE FIBRES TODAY



The concept of using stinging nettles (Urtica doica) to
produce clothing is not new. Clothing made from nettle
fabric has been worn for the past 2,000 years. During
the 16th century, cotton was introduced to Europe which
led to nettle fabric losing its popularity. Why was this so?

For harvesting and spinning, cotton is far easier and
became a firm favourite for fabric manufacture. The last
time nettles were used in large scale production was
during the first world war. Germany found their trade
routes blocked and had to look closer to home for the
production of military equipment and uniforms. An
abundance of nettles in the German countryside forced a
return to nettle fabric. After the war and reopening of
international trade, the import of cotton resumed.

Cotton requires an exotic climate to flourish and with the
climate in the UK being far from exotic, cotton has to
travel long distances to reach our market. Main cotton
producing countries include China, India, Pakistan and
Sudan. Another disadvantage of cotton is the amount of
water required for its farming, It is a plant greedy for
water and nearly a quarter of all pesticides used in the
world are used in cotton farming. Nettle, however,
manages well without much water or protection from
pests or weeds. As I am sure you are aware, nettles
flourish well in the UK and can be found wild all over the
country.

The world's over-reliance on cotton needs to be halted
with the manufacture of alternative crops. The
resurgence of nettle is beginning and I am sure it will
become even more relevant as we look to use more
sustainable environmentally friendly fabrics in our daily
lives.

At sorazora, nettle has already established itself as an
important member amongst our natural fibre collection.
As both a hand-spun fibre and a processed fibre, Giant
Himalayan Nettle (Girardina diversifolia) is widely used
across our range of products. This Spring/Summer
collection includes our first 100% nettle garment. To view
this and other products, please visit our collection.