What’s What: Straw



Summer is straw’s time to shine. With hats, purses, and shoes made from this versatile (and perhaps underestimated) material, it’s about time we discerned the unique attributes of straw.

First, let’s start with raffia. This material is made from Africa’s raffia palm tree. The fibers are delicately taken from the underside of the palm leaves, dried in the sun, and are then ready to be dyed and/or woven. In essence, raffia is a natural string, durable enough to be used as rope, and yet flexible and wearable enough to make into fashion items.

Hemp is cultivated from the Cannabis plant. Defined as a bast fiber plant, since its fibers are found on the stalks interior, people have been growing and using hemp for textiles for over 12,000 years. This fabric is durable, hypoallergenic, mildew-resistant, and breathes well. When woven into clothing, hemp is often mixed with cotton.

Finally, jute is one of the most affordable natural vegetable fibers, whose long, shiny and soft strands can be easily transformed into strong thread. Jute fabric is coarse, and is most commonly used to make lightweight yet sturdy bags.

Incorporating these fabrics into your closet is a great way to play up your summer style. Straw materials are lightweight by nature. Their natural attributes, both integrally and visually, make them both eco-friendly and fashion forward.

Categories: Fashion 101

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