Our brand DNA stems from premium materials. Every quality we offer has gone through a tight quality control process. They are either certified, material innovations, recycled or leftover fabrics from designer brands. All qualities are made in Europe.
Below you will find more detailed information about the materials that we are currently using:
Cashmere wool comes from cashmere goats’ undercoat that is extremely soft and downy. The undercoat is being protected by an outer-layer of wool and is made of fine, soft hairs that protect the goats during the cold winters. It is the undercoat that is being used to make cashmere yarn. As cashmere wool is clipped from goats, the animals do not suffer.
The best cashmere comes from the coldest parts of Mongolia, because it grows longer on the goats to protect them from the gold temperature and therefore is higher quality once spun and knit. It is true that high-quality cashmere, technically classified as Grade A, is slightly stiff when you first purchase it, but it softens up over time. It will be less likely to pill or develop holes.
It is also important to consider where the yarn is spun and knitted. A luxurious cashmere that will last the longest is knitted in Italian and Scottish factories, where more affordable cashmere is knitted in China.
Our cashmere is GRS certified and made with 50% recycled + 50% virgin cashmere fiber certified by ICEA. Yarn has also RCS (Recycle Claim Standard) certificate together with "Cardato Recycled products - Made in Prato" trademark certifies. It has also SFA and Oeko-Tex standards. This means that our products hold the standard in regards of harmful substances for textile and clothing manufacturers and have high human ecology requirements. By using GRS certified cashmere, you can be certain that the cashmere it sources come from farms that take a progressive approach to managing land and from animals that have been treated responsibly.
Our luxurious and incredibly soft eco cashmere yarn collection is produced by The Royal Co. Srl in Montemurlo, Italy. The company is committed to sustainable practices and is working towards circular production; therefore, it has taken several steps to ensure the ethical sourcing of its materials and developed environmentally thoughtful manufacturing processes.
The construction methods to build a 100% recycled based cashmere yarn can be summarised in two categories: 1) using all recycled material and 2) using a blend of new fibre and recycled material. Yarns made from totally recycled basic materials are of low quality, generate dimensional stability problems on finished garments and have a high tendency to pilling. That is also the reason why we at House of Wilow have chosen to use yarns which are made with a blend of new and regenerated fibre. They have higher quality and can compete without any great compromise with yarns made from new fibre.
There are two types of cashmere recycling processes: from post-consumption, i.e. starting from used cashmere garments, and from pre-consumption, reusing industrial waste. Pre-consumer refers to textile waste coming from the production of yarns, knits and fabrics. These are post-industrial wastes, i.e., “pre-consumption” waste. This circuit has a simple process, as the collection takes place at the premises of the companies which must dispose of textile waste. Given that the materials have an intrinsic value, the most advantageous choice is to sell these to companies specialised in recycling. In comparison with already packaged materials, this type of material is more uniform and homogeneous, with characteristics often similar to new fibre.
The other category is that of textile waste from domestic use. The first step to disassemble the garments is to remove metal parts, unstitch it and transform into rags. Subsequently the sorting continues, always by hand, separating and dividing the rags by fibre composition and structure. These are then separated according to the colors and divided into very precise batches. At this point, the rags are frayed by a fraying machine, which breaks down the fabrics using a rotating metal cylinder equipped with teeth and transforms the material into regenerated fibre, achieving a state suitable to be worked in the subsequent carding phase. The carded spinning process transforms the material from flock into yarn. The fibres to be processed can be raw, natural and/or partially or totally dyed to obtain a top dyed or a mélange product.
DESIGNER DEADSTOCK FABRICS:
Our designer deadstock fabrics are premium fabrics untouched and unused from well-known European luxury design houses or high-end high-street brands. They are never used in production and were discarded by the designers. These fabrics may be left over because they were printed on the wrong substrate, they were dyed the wrong colour, the print scale is inaccurate, or it is just surplus fabric that is not being used.
Those who have worked in the fashion industry know how the system is set up to always start from zero. As a result, we see tons of leftover textiles. It may be leftovers from sales collection, canceled productions, or productions where minimum fabric quantities were not met. To us, creating limited edition capsules out of this deadstock material was the core of Wilow and also a fun way to create products that improve the environment while reducing the environmental impact. The use of deadstock is a great option for small businesses like us. Since the fabric is already made, there is no minimum order. Designers can buy just a few meters, not wasting their resources on fabric they might not use. Sadly, we are also moving into grey territory with some of the deadstock fabrics - particularly with fabrics manufactured in Asia or India. Deadstock fabrics suffer from a lack of transparency. When the fabric is from Asia or India, it is nearly impossible to tell whether it is deadstock, or simply called that by the factory. This is also why we only use fabrics made in Europe.
Available stock fabric is a fabric that a factory overproduces because they know that it will eventually sell. Plain knit jersey fabric for t-shirts is an example of stock fabrics. They produce a lot because that they know that there will always be a customer for t-shirts and the fabric, although it does not have a buyer now, will be purchased by someone very soon. Rather than shutting down machines after the order is fulfilled, mills prefer to make extra of a fabric that they plan to sell at a discount. In their costing, mills plan to sell x percent at full price and y percent at a discounted "deadstock" price. If the mills cannot sell the fabric, they will pass it on to a jobber. Fabric jobbers source fabric from all over the country and resell it for a premium.
Deadstock fabrics are marketed by many brands as a way to prevent fabric from going to waste. According to this thought process, if brands don't rescue this fabric, the material will end up in a landfill. Consequently, they are doing the world a favor by turning "waste" into fashion. This is a good example from so called "green washing". Overproduction of fabric was never intended to go to a landfill, it will most likely be used to make low-priced clothing in the third world.
Organic silk is known as a luxurious fabric and is quite expensive. It is a natural fabric and consists of animal protein fibers. These fibers are produced by various insects when building their cocoons or webs. Although attempts have been made to develop a general standard for organic silk, it is difficult to define whether silk is organic. The term “organic silk” has therefore no single meaning. House of Wilow´s silk is 100% organic and is the same silk as GOTS silk, but without GOTS sertificate label on the products. This means that the product has been sourced, processed, and manufactured sustainably throughout its lifecycle. In short, it means that the product is actually organic, unlike how many textile companies will label their products organic when it may not be 100% true.
In the commercial silk industry, silk is usually produced by the Bombyx mori and the mulberry silk moth. The mulberry silk moth is the most well-known insect for producing silk and produces the finest silk of all. Organic silk has the same processing as conventional silk. However, in the production of organic silk, less chemicals are used. Usually chemicals (methoprene) and hormone disrupters are applied on silkworms in order to lengthen the time they spin silk.
Another difference might be that during the production of organic silk, silkworms continue their natural lifecycle; they produce cocoons when the silkworms are 35 days old and die naturally. Since the worms spin organic silk and complete their full life cycle unimpaired, these (organic, wild and natural peace) silks are often called Peace Silk or Vegetarian Peace Silk. Moreover, during the production of organic silk, silkworms get a more varied diet instead of mulberry leafs only. Also in the degumming process, less chemicals are used during the production of organic silk.
During the cultivation of organic silk, either no or only natural chemical fertilizers and pesticides should be used, including when mulberry trees are planted. However, the cultivation of mulberry trees still needs much land. On the other hand, the plantation of mulberry trees has some positive effects such as the reduction in salinity and the discouragement of erosion through wind and water. One mulberry tree will feed roughly 100 silkworms. One acre of renewable trees sustains silkworm life to produce 30-35 pounds of raw silk.
Organic silk is easy to dye since silk fibers are highly absorbent. The impact on the environment of dyeing silk depends upon the type of dyestuff. With organic silk, natural dyestuffs should be used. After the dyeing process, other processes might be used to finish the fabric such as steaming or bleaching.
GOTS- CERTIFIED COTTON:
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is an internationally recognized organic textile standard. GOTS-certified cotton is organic, which means that no chemical pesticides have been used in growing the cotton. But GOTS goes beyond that; it´s better for your skin, better for the environment and better for the workers. GOTS imposes requirements on factories regarding the use of harmful chemicals and the consumption of water and energy. GOTS also includes criteria for working conditions in production. These are based on international labour organisation standards, such as the right to freedom of trade unions, fair wages and the right to safe and healthy working conditions. Compliance with GOTS requirements is monitored by independent, accredited organisations.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed by leading standard setters to define world-wide recognized requirements for organic textiles. Since its introduction in 2006, GOTS has demonstrated its practical feasibility and is supported by the growth in consumption of organic fibres and the demand for a unified processing criteria from the industry and retail sectors.
GOTS ensures the organic status of textiles from the harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing all the way to labelling, in order to provide credible assurances to the consumer. The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70 percent certified organic natural fibres.
We are using eco viscose, which has up to 50% lower emissions & water impact than generic viscose. The manufacturing of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to generic viscose.
Eco-viscose is derived from certified renewable wood sources using an eco-responsible production process by meeting high environmental standards, and these yarns contributes to a cleaner environment. The production of eco viscose has a substantially smaller environmental footprint. Eco-viscose is manufactured only from certified and controlled wood sources and produced with significantly lower fossil energy use and water than generic viscose.
LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers are certified with the EU Ecolabel, a label of environmental excellence that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-system: form raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal - than comparable products in the market. Lenzing demonstrates that wood sourcing complies with its high standards through verification based on FSC® and PEFC™ certification systems. More than 99% of wood and dissolving wood pulp used by the Lenzing Group is either certified by Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® C118737) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™) or inspected in line with these standards. Derived from certified renewable wood sources (also FSC guaranteed) using an eco-responsible production process by meeting high environmental standards, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibres tailor to a sustainable lifestyle, contributing to a cleaner environment.
VEGAN CACTUS LEATHER:
With the purpose of creating an alternative to animal leather, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez developed a vegan alternative to leather made with cactus. Its trade name is Desserto, and it has competitive features compared to animal or synthetic leather, like sustainability, performance, and aesthetics.
Desserto is a highly sustainable plant-based material. This organic, sustainable material is a great alternative to animal leather and other synthetic materials that are not environmentally friendly. Although animal leather is very resistant, it is permeable and can even rot or crack if not dried quickly after it gets wet. Desserto has competitive features handling humidity and liquids very well, it’s breathable and partially biodegradable.
Desserto is made of Nopal cactus. They have a ranch where they grow this cactus. At the ranch they select and cut only the mature leaves of the plant without damaging the cactus itself, so every 6-8 months they will make a new harvest. It takes approximately 3 leaves of cactus to create one linear meter of Desserto.
Within the ranch, after cutting the mature leaves, they dry them under the sun for three days until achieving the exact humidity levels. So, there’s no additional energy used in this drying process. Then they process the organic raw material to make it part of their patented formula. Ranch is fully organic, so there are no herbicides nor pesticides used. All the remaining organic cactus material not used in their process is exported and sold nationally in the food industry.
There is no use of an irrigation system for the cactus, it grows with rainwater and earth minerals. Nopal cactus is very resilient and strong; it can handle low temperatures during winter without dying and its thorns are very small so it’s easier and safer for agriculture team to harvest.
The cactus plantation is perennial, meaning that they only plant one time and the plantation last for about 8 years, different from other C3 plantations such as corn which must be cultivated, harvested, and then cultivated again annually. Cactus naturally regenerates soil. It only takes 200 liters to grow one kilogram of cactus biomass which water is absorbed by the plant itself from humidity present in the atmosphere, compared to 1000 liters (on average) to grow the same kilogram from other crops. Cactus is a tough and resilient specie, adapted to extreme conditions able to survive in areas where nothing else will grow. The increase of nopal plantations can be a strategy to relieve the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. Cactus is a natural carbon sink; it has a great CO2 sequestering capacity. From Desserto´s 14 acres, they can absorb 8,100 tons of CO2/year while at the farm they only generate 15.30 tons of CO2 annually.