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A technical question re: silk and textiles

lukejackson

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Hi guys,

I saw a documentary on hand weaving with looms with sparked my interest in reading up on it. I've been reading a lot about silks and wondered if anyone could clarify things. Most of the material I've read concerns silk production, weaving etc. but most of it is not geared towards the use of silk for fashion apparel.

So, obviously there seems to be a preference to Italian/English/French silk in the (luxury) clothing and apparel industry. However, reading about textiles in other industries, many seem to consider Indian and Thai silk exemplary. Given that almost all raw silk comes from India or China (I believe), I assume it is the weaving process which results in differences in quality. So is it true that, for example, silks from Como will be substantially better than a silk woven in India or Thailand?

Is it simply because much of the Italian industry is geared towards producing for the fashion industry, thus they ensure the mm etc. is appropriate for clothing? Or is it a stigma attached to production in developing countries and the belief that quality will not be superior? I guess, in essence, I'm asking what (apparently) makes silks woven in Italy or England so much better, given that I have read Como itself produces weaving machinery that is exported overseas. Also, considering that much of the process is run by software, I assumed consistency across the board would have been reached.


TL,DR notes: Why is silk from Italy, England etc. so much better? Or is it simply a stigma attached to silks from developing countries that has induced this assumption.
 

Sam Hober

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Hi guys,

I saw a documentary on hand weaving with looms with sparked my interest in reading up on it. I've been reading a lot about silks and wondered if anyone could clarify things. Most of the material I've read concerns silk production, weaving etc. but most of it is not geared towards the use of silk for fashion apparel.

So, obviously there seems to be a preference to Italian/English/French silk in the (luxury) clothing and apparel industry. However, reading about textiles in other industries, many seem to consider Indian and Thai silk exemplary. Given that almost all raw silk comes from India or China (I believe), I assume it is the weaving process which results in differences in quality. So is it true that, for example, silks from Como will be substantially better than a silk woven in India or Thailand?

Is it simply because much of the Italian industry is geared towards producing for the fashion industry, thus they ensure the mm etc. is appropriate for clothing? Or is it a stigma attached to production in developing countries and the belief that quality will not be superior? I guess, in essence, I'm asking what (apparently) makes silks woven in Italy or England so much better, given that I have read Como itself produces weaving machinery that is exported overseas. Also, considering that much of the process is run by software, I assumed consistency across the board would have been reached.


TL,DR notes: Why is silk from Italy, England etc. so much better? Or is it simply a stigma attached to silks from developing countries that has induced this assumption.

Brazil also produces raw silk for export.

China does not focus on quality currently but in the distant past wove beautiful silk and probably will again in the future.

Italian fabric has a wonderful finish which is probably its biggest claim to fame.

The handwoven silk that you hear about in India and Thailand is typically different not better or worse than Italian silk.

We have woven silk in Thailand that is rough with slubs and we have woven smooth silk. It depends on what you want to accomplish.

If you want smooth silk then it is a good idea to start with smooth machine reeled silk. Hand reeled silk is often going to have slubs.
 

lukejackson

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Brazil also produces raw silk for export.

China does not focus on quality currently but in the distant past wove beautiful silk and probably will again in the future.

Italian fabric has a wonderful finish which is probably its biggest claim to fame.

The handwoven silk that you hear about in India and Thailand is typically different not better or worse than Italian silk.

We have woven silk in Thailand that is rough with slubs and we have woven smooth silk. It depends on what you want to accomplish.

If you want smooth silk then it is a good idea to start with smooth machine reeled silk. Hand reeled silk is often going to have slubs.
Cheers. What still confuses me is why other nations cannot achieve the same quality of weave if they are (as some articles have told me) using the same or similar machinery. I'm thinking the attention to quality just isn't there, and perhaps they cut corners, where as production in Italy does not.

Thanks for the help though. I'm sure there is reading material out there, I just can't find it!
 

Sam Hober

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Cheers. What still confuses me is why other nations cannot achieve the same quality of weave if they are (as some articles have told me) using the same or similar machinery. I'm thinking the attention to quality just isn't there, and perhaps they cut corners, where as production in Italy does not.

Thanks for the help though. I'm sure there is reading material out there, I just can't find it!

Actually you are not confused - you have the answer - attention to quality.

But I would judge at the company level not the nation level as there will always be exceptions.

Not all fabrics in Italy or England are first rate.

Some thoughts:

Tradition is important

Education is very important

Pride in what you do means a lot.

Having fun with the creative process really helps.

If China wanted to create world class silks and ties it could - remember in the past they were luxury weavers of silk.
 

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