In October 2015, I was sparked with the possibility of exploring alternative fabrics to cotton. Not because I was allergic, not because I needed to for any reason but because I asked “why”. Why was it that cotton is the “fabric of our lives”? Why is everything that we use and consider essential to our lives made from cotton (and plastic, but that’s a whole other story!)? Once I set aside 30 minutes a day for the next 10 months to research and fulfill my ask of “why”, there was without a doubt that I needed to build our first collection from bamboo rayon cotton.
First off, bamboo is an extremely strong material. It grows like weeds in its native areas and is used for virtually everything. We traveled to Indonesia to discover Green Village - a whole village made of bamboo and used every last inch of bamboo (down to its coal where they made charcoal soap from it). It also grows naturally without any pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. And there are currently no GMO variants of bamboo to boot!
(Valerie at Green Village, Bali Indonesia)
We learnt while in Indonesia that bamboo (across all its variants) reach maturity in only 4 years. In our case, it’s then ready to harvest, mill and spin into the fabrics we use for our bamboo basics. For Ursa Major, our fabric is harvested, milled, spun, knitted and dyed without added chemicals in one Oeko-Tex certified facility outside of Beijing China. We are so proud of this bamboo farm and all it does for its community.
Unlike cotton, bamboo requires a third the amount of water that cotton needs to grow. It is also completely biodegradable in soil, creating a full-circle life span for the fabric.So, that’s “why bamboo”. That’s why we begin our journey here.