Silk prices continue to drop in China, one of the main sources of silk. This then lowered cocoon prices on the U.S. domestic market. This depletion comes during a time of rising cotton prices across China, India, and Pakistan. It also coincides with record hot temperatures around the globe that in combination with silk's lower costs and unique scientific properties is making it an attractive fabric choice.
Deemed the strongest natural fiber in the world, silk provides low density and high strength insulation properties that hold heat in the cold and releases it in the heat, making it suitable fabric for a variety of garment types. With new technology allowing for washable silk, the maintenance costs that have always held back consumers are no longer a concern.
American consumers have fallen in love with luxury basic and athleisure wear--two entirely new fashion markets that have emerged out of necessity. Many consumers now find themselves far from home and wanting versatile clothes that range from formal events all the way to informal meet-ups and even a light jog. All these things make silk a great choice for designers looking to add a bit of luxury to their apparel offerings.
Cashmere has already found itself reimagined and reincorporated into the athleisure trend with company Kit and Ace offering clothes made with what they're terming "technical cashmere," which educated fabric aficionados to know is only high-quality cashmere given a new name. High-quality cashmere has always been difficult to find, with many of its properties only observable after time, motivating brands to swamp the market with low-quality cashmere even when the prices indicate otherwise.
"Silk's falling prices provide opportunities for designers on a budget to begin utilizing what is still thought of as a luxury fabric," states Executive Producer of Fashion Week Los Angeles, Christina Iannuzzi. "By capitalizing on the reputation and qualities of silk, designers can increase their retail prices allowing for a greater trickle down of revenue to all members involved in the production process."
The fabric while no longer rare, still retains quite the cache and uniqueness. After all, when was the last time you saw a ready to wear silk shirt at a men's clothing shop?
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