India-based fashion entrepreneur Gowri Shankar has created vegan wool derived from Calotropis, a wild flowering shrub commonly known as milkweed that grows abundantly all over India. Shankar founded his company Faborg with an aim to develop sustainable vegan wool fabrics out of plants.
“I was just casually staring outside the window one afternoon in April and I noticed something. There were about 10 to 15 sunbirds surrounding this bush and they were making a nest using this particular fiber. It really got me thinking if this … natural fiber could be transformed into a textile,” Shankar told media outlet The Better India.
The vegan cashmere fabric, called Weganool, has a luxurious feel because of the plant fiber’s softness and natural shine. The plant’s stem and pod fibers are hand-processed by women from the local community and then mixed with 70-percent certified organic cotton spinned into delicate Weganool yarn. Residue from the fiber extraction is concentrated and converted into natural fertilizer and pest repellent called ARKA for local organic farmers.
Earlier this year, Weganool debuted at the Future Fabric Expo in London, England and received a special spotlight on the Expo Innovation table.
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