Hi, I’m Rosie Connor. My most beloved job here at Dear Lil’ Devas is designing our clothing. Part of that also involves making decisions about the fabrics that we use. I’d like to share with you my thoughts on how we source our bamboo fabric, and why we choose not to add spandex.
(A few notes to start)
In this blog article, for simplicity’s sake I’ll refer to Dear Lil’ Devas 70% viscose from certified organic bamboo and 30% certified organic cotton knit fabric as “our bamboo fabric” because the bamboo component is the most prevalent.
When I refer to Lycra®/spandex/elastane – they are one and the same; spandex and elastane are generic names, Lycra® was originally developed and trademarked by DuPont.
I don’t claim to be an expert about the issues below, but I hope that what I write will cause you to think a bit. Please realize that it is coming from a very sincere place in my heart. I feel strongly that I want to make the most benevolent decisions that I can and with that, there is a huge sense of personal responsibility.
Sourcing Locally and What it Means to Dear Lil’ Devas
Having the possibility to actually get locally-produced fabric is an unusual occurrence with textiles in this country – sadly, there are not very many companies left in Canada that produce their own fabrics from the point of importing the yarn to the finished goods.
Increasingly, we as informed citizens are realizing just how important locally produced goods are to the environment and to our economy. The fact that Dear Lil’ Devas bamboo fabric is finished locally by a supplier that we know first-hand (can meet with face to face) and trust feels really good.
With textiles, environmental claims are very difficult to consolidate or regulate. Different countries have different regulations for different terms that are used to describe textiles, and it all gets mixed up Online. This is one of the reasons that Dear Lil’ Devas is so blessed in having a local producer for our bamboo fabric knit, so that we don’t get mixed up in the sea of terms – but can actually experience the following for ourselves:
- Our supplier uses a low-impact dye process.
- Spandex is not added to the knit.
- The finished fabric isn’t treated with toxic chemicals to make it brighter, or more anti-bacterial.
- They import just the yarn to knit our fabric from so we are guaranteed “purity” (no cheaper materials have been illicitly substituted).
- Their workers are treated with respect and the workplace is a nice place to be (I must say)!
- And a big one: Our supplier produces the fabric on an “as-needed” basis. This is important from an environmental point of view, as well as on a humanistic level. Excess fabric and garments that are produced by many bigger companies in advance of sales adversely affect the economies of Southern countries, because they are “dumped” there.
The Broader Picture of Producing Locally
At this point in the state of our global economy, it is sure more expensive dollar-wise to source locally than to import finished goods, but that is changing. Retaining our first-hand knowledge (our institutional memory) and integrity is well worth the price. And in the long run, is it really more expensive? I believe that what we’re doing is investing in the future. It is really a blessing to be able to play a role in encouraging our local suppliers to continue to develop technology and make choices that are kind to the earth, to do their own sourcing responsibly, and to ultimately stay in business. We will need the infrastructure and their knowledge in the future!
Sourcing Locally-Produced Fabric Allows Dear Lil’ Devas to Choose NO added Spandex/Lycra®
It’s not easy find knit fabric that doesn’t have spandex in it these days. Spandex is almost as common in our clothes as MSG and gluten are in our food.
Spandex is polyurethane – so basically a petrochemical just like plastic.
Choosing not to “enrich” our fabrics with Lycra® is an environmental commitment and a lifestyle choice that Dear Lil’ Devas has made right from the beginning. Fortunately our local producer of our bamboo knit respects this choice, and because they supply a good deal of fabric to companies who make cloth baby diapers, it is better for them too.
Here are the reasons that we do not add spandex:
- Spandex does not biodegrade.
- It shortens a garment’s life, becoming brittle with age and use, and therefore will be in the landfill that much sooner.
- Dear Lil’ Devas clothing “Allows Your Body to Breathe” – so, we’re not about to add spandex, then the clothing wouldn’t breathe anymore, and we don’t think that is very healthy.
- Finally, we won’t add it, because we just simply don’t like the feel of it!
Are you accustomed to wearing clothing that does have spandex added to it? Please read below:
- If you haven’t come across a knit fabric garment without spandex, you might think something is wrong when say, your Dear Lil’ Devas bamboo shirt, stretches a bit over the course of the day. Don’t worry, nothing is wrong!! Anyone who was around “back in the day” (before spandex), like your mother or your grandmother will tell you, “Just wash it cold and hang to dry, it’ll be all set to wear again tomorrow dear.” In my own experience it takes a couple of days of use before my long-sleeved tee needs to be “reset”, and I wouldn’t wear it longer than that without washing anyhow!
Our Core Values
I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that one thing we cannot do is please everyone. Especially when it comes to compromising our core values: to spread as much joy as possible (good vibes) through the use of beautiful fabrics, and lovely COMFORTABLE clothing produced in a very benevolent environment. Adding spandex in my view, would not be very benevolent. Not for the Earth, and therefore not for our customers who in our view must benefit from the thought and love that has gone into their Dear Lil’ Devas items.
I invite you to check out our Dear Lil’ Devas collection of bamboo garments and accessories: http://www.dearlildevas.com/bamboo.htm