Silk has existed for as long as the silkworms that spin its threads.
First developed in ancient China about 5,000 years ago, the natural
fibre has been a versatile and valuable raw material since – loved for
its beauty and its surprising strength (it is as strong as steel).
The soft and supple fabric adapts to all climates. Because it absorbs moisture, more than cotton, silk stays warm in winter and cool when temperatures heat up. This seeming contradiction has thus made it popular as much for slim long johns as billowy summer tops. Its robust surface shimmers thanks to its triangular, prism-like structure.
The smooth, hypoallergenic material is made after silkworms fill up on mulberry leaves and spin a cocoon, which is then steamed to kill the moth. A hot water bath loosens the fibres so they can be unwound, the strands are then spun together to create a single thread of silk yarn.
Its long list of qualities makes it an all-around fabric that has been used for everything from blouses and sheets to medical stitches, rugs and parachutes.