Oulo Bamboo Clothing
Oulo is an active lifestyle based brand, specialising in bamboo. The founder, Samantha, designs garments to ensure you feel confident and comfortable from studio to street.
Bamboo is getting a lot of traction in the world of fashion lately and all for a reason. Bamboo fabric is extremely soft, durable and contains thermo-regulating properties which makes it a popular fabric choice all year around. In this article we will start by weighing out some of the pros and cons of bamboo fabric to help inform you about whether this buttery soft fabric is for you.
Antibacterial. bamboo requires very little to no pesticides. With the fabric unable to host the bacteria and allergens, it's antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make it a great choice for sensitive skin.
Breathable. Bamboo viscose fabric is particularly popular for its breathable properties and tends to be much stretchier than cotton, which makes it perfect for skin-tight garments.
Thermo-regulating. Many people claim that it has helped to keep them cooler as the breathable fabric doesn't cling to the skin. The absorbent fabric also wicks away moisture, keeping the skin cool and dry. These insulating characteristics also make bamboo fabric warm in colder months. Win-win.
Biodegradable. Unlike cotton and several other fabrics, bamboo does not require the large amounts of water, pesticides and attentive care. 100% biodegradable, it takes just over a year for bamboo fabrics to biodegrade.
Carbon footprint. Bamboo does is part by consuming Co2- It’s a regenerative plant, meaning that it can be harvested more than once as it grows super fast and easy.
Bamboo provides a bunch of positive properties that many other fabric lack, however some disadvantages still exist. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of bamboo fabric when it comes to making the right fabric choice for you.
Chemical use. The manufacturing process of some bamboo fabrics requires the use of chemicals, which can be considered toxic and are not so eco-friendly. The main drawback of producing fabrics from tree cellulose is that it can lead to large amounts of waste but when correct and conscious manufacturing processes are applied, this waste can be handled more sustainably.
Price. The price of bamboo is still pretty high in comparison to regular cotton, but when compared to more premium options such as organic cotton or Egyptian cotton, it can be considered more cost-effective.
Drying time. It can take a bit longer to dry due to holding more moisture than regular cotton
How is it made?
Ever wonder how such soft fabric is made from something as strong and tough as bamboo? The following steps should help you to understand the process a bit more...
1 - It all starts with harvesting mature bamboo plants, this occurs at the time the stalks are between 2-4 years old.Bamboo is considered a weed in some places and grows naturally in many parts of the world which naturally makes bamboo resistant to insects and diseases, unlike other cultivated plants that require harmful pesticides to grow. The bamboo stacks are cut as cleanly as possible to enabling the shoots to grow faster.
2- After harvesting, it's transported to a nearby factory to be chopped up into smaller chips, which is easier to transport.
3- The manufacturers use a chemical solution to extract the cellulose from the chips and convert them into pulp. In order to make the process planet-friendly, manufacturers should use an eco-friendly soaking solution which follows the "Global Organic Textile Standard" of approval. Sadly, not all of them use this solution so it is worth verifying this where possible. The chemicals in the soaking solution are kept in a closed-loop system which allows for it to be recycled over and over.
4- Once soaked in the solution, the bamboo pulp will begin to break down. The pulp is drained and pressed, recycling the solution for the next batch. This forms parchment like sheets which are easier to handle, better for storing and much lighter to transport.
5- Once the sheets are completely dry, they're ground up and spun into bamboo fibre. Manufacturers use a process to separate and spin the fibre into threads and create a basic weaving yarn referred to as Bamboo Viscose.
6- The bamboo viscose is then sold to garment suppliers who can then convert the fabric into clothing.
Worldwide production of bamboo
Bamboo grows most commonly in South America and Asia due to the prominence of tropical and temperate climates. This being said, it can also be found in parts of Africa, in the southern United States and Australia.
Currently the biggest producer without a doubt is China, so much that sometimes it is referred to as the Bamboo Kingdom. The provinces with the largest total area of bamboo cultivation are Fujian and Sichuan.
China is home to 40% of all known bamboo species worldwide and around 20% of bamboo sold worldwide is cultivated in China.
- Bamboo is one of the most environmentally friendly plants in the world! Compared to cotton, bamboo uses 1/3 of the amount of water to grow.
- Some species of bamboo can grow as much as 2 to 4 feet per day!
- Bamboo is actually a type of grass, not a tree.