In early November 2020, Business Insider featured a new episode in their series 'So Expensive' which focuses on lotus silk. In the series, each episode explores why items such as Persian rugs and Argan oil are notably pricier than their average counterparts.
Business Insider's most recent episode shows how Vietnamese silk producers have taken inspiration from small scale lotus silk producers, such as the family run workshop that supplies YGN Collective in Myanmar, to make the most of the abundant lotus flowers that grow in their region.
The mini documentary explains that lotus silk is one of the rarest fabrics in the world. Only a few skilled craftspeople can make it. It is also considered to be the most ecological fabric in the world as the harvesting, thread making, and weaving are all done by hand or using traditional tools.
Traditional silk, although largely made by hand, is initially made using silk worms which are bred for the purpose of their cocoons. Their cocoons are sorted by colour and then soaked in water in order to extract the silk yarns. Lotus silk is therefore a viable vegan alternative to traditional silk, and is now being adopted by Vietnamese textile producers.
A couple amongst lotus flowers on Inle Lake, Myanmar. Photo by Zinko Hein.
A Tradition for the Future
The adoption of a traditionally Myanmar handicraft in Vietnam shows that textile producers are looking for new options that utilise, but not harm, their natural environment. Lotus stems can only be harvested by hand in order for them to retain their quality, and this can only be done in the rainy season. Lotus silk production is an example of how textile producers can embrace artisanal methods rather than fast, and often polluting, practises.
Unfortunately, in light of Covid-19 global pandemic, artisans who rely on tourists for the bulk of their sales are no longer receiving the same footfall. Luckily we already have an established relationship with our lotus silk supplier, therefore we can place orders remotely during this difficult time.
Women on a walkway in Inle Lake, Myanmar. Photo by Zinko Hein.
We are expecting the re-stock of our lotus silk scarves early next year. They are available to pre-order now.
To take a look at our complete artisan made collection, please click here.