Wool is a natural fiber that can be produced from the wool coat of a number of different animals. (Merino) sheep and lamb’s wool are the most common but wool can also be produced from an angora rabbit or goat, cashmere goat or alpaca (see descriptions below). Wool has been used for thousands of years and is praised for its warmth, moisture-absorbency and resilience. The latter also ensures that woolen garments do not crease. Incidentally wool is not only used for making sweaters, jackets, pants and scarves, but also for underwear which can be made of finely woven wool and is valued for its warmth.
Cotton is a soft fiber that comes from the seeds of the cotton plant. The structure of the fibers enables them to be spun into fine filaments from which the cool and airy textile can then be knitted and woven. It is soft, durable, easy to wash, absorbent and good for the skin making it the most widely used raw material for textiles in the world (as it has been for thousands of years).
Product Care: Wash at 40 ° (just use detergent). Suitable for tumble dryers. Iron at high temperatures.
Linen is the strongest of all natural fibers (in the USA it is used to make banknotes). Linen is obtained from the stem of the flax plant (the Latin word for this is linum, hence the name we now use). After harvesting, the stems are dried and spun into chords of coarse and fine yarns, the latter being the most suitable for the production of woven and knitted textiles. Linen absorbs moisture very well, is dirt repellent and its key quality is that it is very cool. For these reasons it has been used to make textiles for thousands of years. One disadvantage is that linen can shrink and crease when washed. In order to prevent or minimize this problem the fiber is often mixed with other fibers, for example cotton, when manufactured into fabrics.
Product Care: Wash at 40 ° (just use detergent). Do not tumble dry. Iron at high temperatures.
Silk fiber (along with some natural glue) is the key building block for the cocoon of the silkworm. The silk threads wound by the caterpillar to create its cocoon are used to produce woven and knitted textiles. Silk is valued for its radiance, firmness, elasticity and feel – it feels great on the skin, both warm in winter and cool in summer.
Product Care: See laundry and storage advice for woolen clothing.
Ramie is a perennial plant that occurs naturally in eastern Asia and is a member of the nettle family. TheBoehmeria nivea (its Latin name) is usually 1 to 2.5 meters high and has heart-shaped leaves. The stem of the plant has been used for over 6000 years to produce products including chord and rope, fishing nets, coarse paper and textiles such as tablecloths, bedding and curtains. Most ramie used for producing the fabric is grown in China, hence this material is also known as Chinese linen.
Product Care: Wash at 40 ° (just use detergent). Do not tumble dry. Iron at high temperatures.
-+ Indigo dyed garments
The fabric of indigo dyed garments need special care. The color of the garment can fade and bleed from wearing and washing the garment. This cannot be considered a defect. Be careful with combining this garment with light colored garments and sitting on light colored furniture. Please follow washing instructions carefully.
-+ Alpaca wool
Alpaca wool comes from the fleece of the alpaca, a llama species that lives mainly in South America. Alpaca wool feels softer than lamb or sheep wool and is often left undyed, with manufacturers using the natural wool colors.
Cashmere is wool produced from the fleece of the Cashmere goat, which originated in Kashmir, the region on the borders of China, India and Pakistan, hence its name. The purest cashmere comes from the underbelly and throat of the goats. The longer fibers of the abdomen and the neck make the wool extra soft, light weight and comfortable to wear against bare skin. Cashmere is therefore prized as one of the most expensive raw materials for textiles.
-+ Angora and Mohair
Angora and mohair wools respectively derived from the fur of the Angora rabbit and the Angora goat. Angora is soft and fluffy and has fine fibers, it is warmer and lighter than traditional wool and has a silky sheen. The core of the fibers is generally hollow so it cannot be dyed. Unfortunately, the fibers of the garments made from Angora wool often mat together easily (unlike those made of mohair), one way of avoiding this can be to put them in the freezer overnight.
Mohair also has a beautiful sheen and is warmer than ordinary wool. It is resilient, making it virtually crease-resistant and unlike Angora, mohair can be dyed. Kid Mohair is the wool of young goats from the best quality Angora.
The yak occurs mainly in Central Asia and lives in areas up to a height of 4000 meters. The animal has a very long coat, with a hairy head and limbs to protect it against the extreme cold. Clothes and tents can be made of the hair and the wool is exclusive because the yak, who weighs around 350 pounds, produces only an ounce of usable wool annually. This wool is made of the insulating undercoat of the yak and is therefore very soft and warm.
All woolen garments sooner or later get knotted or ‘pilled’. This is not a sign of poor quality, but is because the fibers of the wool (or other material, as knotting occurs in almost all fibers) protrude and get entangled with each other whilst remaining attached to the garment. This happens naturally in most places where there is increased friction. To remove these knots or ‘pills’ you can use fluff removers or a special comb.
-+ Laundry and storage advice
We recommend to occasionally hang out your woolen garments to ‘air’ them. If you want to wash a wool garment it’s best to do it by hand in cold or lukewarm water with a little wool detergent. Never use too much soap and do not leave it in the water for too long! You can also wash sheep or lamb’s wool garments on a special wool cycle with a little wool detergent in the washing machine. Most good washing machines have a wool program.
Always dry a wet woolen garment horizontally so that it retains its shape and dry it on a towel or similar absorbent (not directly onto wood or staining surfaces).
Woolen garments can be dry cleaned but are not suitable for use in tumble dryers. If ironing wool garments should always be ironed on a ‘cool’ setting.
Moth larvae can eat into the fibers of wool garments creating holes(they love stains, perfume and deodorant). To avoid this it is advisable to store wool garments when clean, and in an enclosed storage space, such as a chest.
Like other wools, it is advisable not to wash yak wool too often. Better is to ventilate it outside. It is said that if you wash yak, it is good to do it in lukewarm water with a handful of salt.
All wools can be mixed with other natural or man-made fibers and if this is the case always apply the above advice relating to the care of the wool when storing and cleaning.
-+ Rayon (Viscose / Cupro / Modal / Tencel / Lyocell)
Rayon is an artificial fiber made from cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton or other vegetable materials. Rayon is processed into fibers in a variety of ways, the process itself providing for the name of the material. The two most common production methods for rayon are the cupro-ammonium process and the viscose process. Modal and Tencel (brand names) or Lyocell as it is also called are made of rayon. Rayon absorbs well, is very suitable for dyeing and coloring and has the same qualities as silk: soft to the touch, drapes beautifully and has the same look.
Product Care: Rayon and related materials can be washed at 40-60 °, depending on the advice on the garment itself.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber that was introduced in the nineteen fifties, now the world's second most popular raw material for manufacturing clothing after cotton. Following initial popularity polyester has more recently been viewed with suspicion by some consumers but today polyesters have been developed that are not inferior to materials traditionally considered as more chic; for example, Zenggi uses a Japanese crepe-like polyester which is both lovely to look at and has a beautiful drape. Polyester is a strong, resilient and durable material that can also be recycled. The production of high-quality polyester is often more environmentally friendly than that of cotton.
Product Care: Polyester can be washed at 40-60 °, depending on the advice on the garment itself.
Nylon is a completely synthetic fiber that was developed in 1938 and is ever since widely used in raw materials for clothing because it is strong, resilient and wear resistant. Polyamide is the term usually used to describe any nylon fabric. Polyamide/nylon can be relatively environmentally friendly; for example when compared with cotton production which requires the use of pesticides and significantly more water. Some polyamide species are even certified as environmentally friendly. An example is the polyamide (and spandex) woven into the jersey widely used by Zenggi.
Product Care: Nylon can be washed up to 40 °.
-+ Elastane / Spandex / Lycra / Dorlastan
Elastane is a synthetic fibre that can be stretched up to 800% without losing its shape. In chemical terms, elastane is a polymer which is at least 85% polyurethane (and is found in this form in a wide range of manufactured textile clothing). Lycra and Dorlastan are trademarks of elastane and elastane is used in all garments that require a high elasticity, such as tights, sportswear and swimwear. Often elastane is interwoven with a fiber that does not stretch like cotton or linen, which improves fit and comfort.
Product Care: Spandex can be washed up to 40 °.
Acrylic is a synthetic substance that is often mixed with wool or is used as a substitute for wool. It is machine washable and has a high capacity to retain color.
Product Care: Acrylic is best washed with a little wool detergent on a wool wash cycle.