We began using bamboo in many of our shirts several years ago. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that is easily cultivated without the use of chemicals, and the bamboo fibre is a natural material made from the cellulose found in bamboo. The processes used to manufacture bamboo textiles have recently drawn criticism, but we still believe that bamboo is a better alternative than, for example, regular cotton.
What you should know about bamboo
There are several reasons why we have chosen bamboo for many of our garments. Bamboo is more environmentally friendly than polyester and conventionally farmed cotton. The bamboo plant grows much faster and therefore requires less land. It also requires less water than cotton and is so robust that it normally does not require pesticides or even fertilizer. This makes bamboo perfect for organic farming. In addition to these environmental benefits, we have also chosen bamboo because of its feel - it is soft, comfortable and cool on warm summer days.
However, there are some disadvantages to using bamboo. In order to transform the hard, wood-like fibre into a soft, cottony cellulose-fluff that can be spun into yarn, the bamboo must be broken down. This can happen in two ways - mechanically or chemically. The mechanical method is basically the same as the method used for creating textiles from linen, hemp and ramie. The chemical method, on the other hand, produces a soft viscose fabric, and it is this bamboo that is used in Fjällräven’s bamboo shirts.
This type of viscose production has attracted criticism because it is considered to be less environmentally friendly than the mechanical process. We are aware of this. However, we still take the stance that the bamboo fibre is a better alternative than cotton. We also make sure that our suppliers sign our guidelines for chemical handling.
Benefits with bamboo:
- It requires less land.
- It requires less water than cotton.
- It is so strong that it normally does not require pesticides or fertilizer.