Nettle: the future of fashion?

L’ortie : le futur de la mode ?

After our article on polyester, it is time to look at the future of fashion! And why not speaking of nettle ?
We all know that itchy "weed", but did you know that we can create clothes very comfortable to wear?


His history

The use of nettle fibers for the production of clothes goes back to the origins , when people wore clothes made from nettle fibers and threads, during the last 2000 years , the oldest traces dating back to the end from the Bronze Age , in Voldtofte, Denmark. There is also evidence of the existence of nettle fibers in Scandinavia, Poland, Germany, Russia and Scotland but also outside Europe.

There are indeed three main species of nettles that can produce fibers:

European nettle , Himalayan nettle and Ramie – the latter fiber having been produced commercially in China and Japan for some time.
With the arrival of cotton in the 16th century and silk as competitors, nettle fibres, yarns and garments , lost their dominant position at the time, cotton was easier to harvest and spin.



During World War I, nettle clothing had a rapid comeback when the German army, due to a shortage of cotton, used it for soldiers' uniforms. Likewise, the French army used them under Napoleon. Soldiers may have been more comfortable than those of today because nettle fibers provide natural air conditioning .
How ? Well, nettle fibers are hollow, which means they are filled with internal air, which creates natural insulation.

Today, new advances in spinning technologies and cross-breeding have produced high fiber plants that are strong, flexible, versatile and with good spinning length.

Nettle thread the size of ordinary sewing thread cannot be broken by hand. Plus it's biodegradable.


Several types of nettles are used in textiles: 

Chinese nettle (Urtica Nivea) and Ramie (Boehmeria Nivea) are the two main ones.
Both varieties grow very well in Europe. Production can therefore be done in France! Like any " weed it doesn't need much effort to grow, unlike other plant crops (eg silk). And, it does not deplete the soils where it grows either! Her French culture preserve there biodiversity because it is a plant that already grows wild in France, and it brings refuge to insects and animals.

The cultivation of this plant is still not popularized, and therefore the price of nettle clothes is more expensive than cotton. But with more widespread production, nettle fiber will be THE eco-responsible solution !
of a medical point of view , this material has properties hypoallergenic and it is also a plant edible with medicinal properties. It has properties antihaemorrhagics And depurative .
What good points!

Several projects intend to use this fiber still unknown to the general public, such as the company Velcorex who presented in 2017 during the Première Vision show prototypes of clothes made from nettles!!
Natural Ethics also offers a collection based on nettle.


An example of jeans made in France with nettle fiber.


I hope this article has enlightened you on this fabric! We are always happy to help you discover green alternatives.

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