These bamboo fiber T-shirts are sustainable and vegan… none of which you will think of as you leisure about in these threads, because, most of all, they are comfortable. These shirts have that magical blend of being light and soft, but substantial enough not to feel flimsy.
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There was a time when T-shirts didn’t exist, and then a time when they only existed as an undergarment. Starting in the 1950s, and flourishing with the counter-culture fashion-changing iconoclasm of the 1960s, the T-shirt became the default wear of most of the planet and… I’m pretty sure…. beyond.
Yep… just confirmed it. NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg wore T-shirts on the international space station. So did NASA astronaut and current candidate for the United States Senate, Scott Kelly. During the time he was breaking the record for longest time in space, he wore T-Shirts. You know why? Comfortable, practical, perfect. Would he have broken the celestial record without the physical and emotional comfort a T-shirt brings? Who knows, but he wouldn’t have been as comfortable doing it, and if comfort isn’t important when traveling for 520 days at 17,130 miles and hour over the earth in a tin can, when is it? He apparently wasn’t going to put that to chance.
Why should we, in our more terrestrial pursuits? There might be some times when wearing more than a T-shirt is needed, there are times for less, but for every other time, nothing combines pure comfort, practicality, and “cool” so completely as a T-shirt.
Out of this world comfort, rooted in the earth.
And, making a T-shirt with bamboo fiber? Ohhhhhh, wow. Not since the panda-bear has bamboo pleased a creature more. Bamboo fiber is amazingly soft and comfortable. It feels durable, substantial, but soft, comfortable.
Information on the process of creating bamboo fiber is increasingly available. I am not an expert on the process, but in general, there are two ways. One leads to a good but slightly hearty fabric, the other leads to a silky smooth T-shirt worthy fabric. The first keeps the bamboo intact, but stripps and brushes it into strands that can be twirled into threads. This yields a usable but, as noted above, hearty fabric (think linen or tweeds, etc).
The second way involves breaking the bamboo down into finer material. Again, I am not an expert on the process, but what is important to me here is that Cariloha comits to a “closed loop” process. In this way, most of the materials used in the process are not cast off into the environment, but either used or dealt with appropriately. Cariloha writes of their process:
“The bamboo is soaked in a GOTS-approved solution via a closed loop process to ensure that this process is as environmentally friendly as the bamboo it soaks. This solution breaks down the bamboo fibers, extracting the bamboo pulp that’s then dried into parchment-like sheets….. It’s then separated and spun into thread that’s used to create yarn for weaving.” (*GOTS = Global Organic Textile Standard)
And this process yields that wonderful soft fabric. On the fabric they create for their clothing, including T-shirts, Cariloha says:
“Bamboo’s soft, silky feel, its ability to take colors well and its breathability are designed to appeal to those who seek the very best in natural luxury. It’s so soft you can actually feel the bamboo softness for yourself.”
They say their fabric is twice as soft as cotton and 3 degrees cooler. I do note some of their products are blended fabrics (some are 100% bamboo material, some blend other fabrics). Also, any product linked up with the global production chain should be considered carefully. But, that is true for all clothing companies. I will personally keep looking for clothing companies that meet every criteria I have. It is an ongoing search. But, while I may have not yet found the perfect company, unlike most, this company… and their really comfortable T-shirts… are listed as a vegan friendly by companies like PETA, and adding sustainable practices and vegan friendly practices to fabric and clothing creation seems like a good step.
“I went to this vegetarian T-shirt review and all I got was this vegan T-shirt.”
T-shirts really are woven into our lives. When we go a tourist town, we buy the T-shirt. When we go to a concert, we wear the band’s T-shirt, and buy more. T-shirts connect with us emotionally. I still have one of my first T-shirts from when I was a toddler. My aunt and godmother gave it to me. It’s literally one of my earliest memories, receiving and wearing that T-shirt. It had the logo of her college on one side, and my name on the other. Still does. It’s hanging on the wall of my office, and I get a deep good feeling every time I see it. I remember when I was a little older, a rambunctious kid, wanting an orange T-shirt just like my dads. I got it. Just a simple orange T-shirt. But any T-shirt my dad had, I wanted one like it. Then, when I got a little older and bigger, I remember raiding my dads closet for his actual T-shirts, to his simultaneous joy and consternation. Joy in seeing his son growing and liking similar things he did, and consternation because I was better at borrowing than returning what were of course his favorite T-shirts. As with so many things, what goes around comes around. My son has now gone from wearing similar T-shirts to wearing mine. Joy, and consternation. Mostly joy. As is so often the case with T-shirts.
Are there other companies out there making good bamboo products? Yes. Some use 100% bamboo, some blended materials, some source locally, some internationally. Most of late are stressing that they use eco-friendly “closed loop” processes (not just in growing bamboo, but in how the fabric is made). As always, check into each company and product, but WiWi and Boody clothing companies are just two of many companies emerging to utilize this fabric. It is an expanding market, and as we come across different bamboo fabric companies and products, we will add and review them.
Meanwhile, Cariloha’s line of T-shirts (and other clothing) will “suit” us just fine.