Why natural fibres?
At Bamford, natural bio-based fibres have always been the default for our clothing and textiles collections. Since we first began creating clothing, we have relied on their natural durability and breathability, along with their lighter footprint on the planet - compared to synthetic fossil-based fibres - to realise our designs. From conception all the way through to production, they are made to be worn and cherished for a lifetime.
Where we turn to plant fibres, such as cotton, linen and hemp, we are constantly striving to innovate with our producers to ensure what is being grown in the soil is having a positive impact on its health, nourishing it for future life-cycles. We also aim to work with and celebrate a variety of animal fibres, from alpaca and wool to cashmere and yak, in order to reduce our environmental impact by not placing stress on certain resources or contributing to land degradation from over-farming. What unites them unequivocally is the need for healthy, nutrient-rich soil.
A closer look at the natural fibres we work with
Cashmere is at the heart of each of our collections. Sourced from the world’s best suppliers whom we have built close, long-standing relationships with, only the highest quality of fibre is selected to be used for our yarns. The mills we work with are committed to sustainability as a company value ensuring the upmost respect for the environment, the animals and the people they come into contact with. Honouring the brilliant and unique colours existing in nature, we also use cashmere in its pure undyed form, with absolutely no added dyes - this absence of toxic chemicals in the wet processing stage makes for an even softer knit and in turn ensures our undyed fibres leave no trace.
We are committed to increasing the quantity of certified organic and regenerative cotton in our mainline collection for both mill-made and handwoven fabrics, noticing the important role it takes to protect our soil health, biodiversity and create sustainable farm work for years to come. We work hard to increase this number of organic cotton styles season after season. All of the cotton in our Wellness Yogawear Collection is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard - the most respected and trusted certification for the farming and manufacturing process of garments. GOTS stipulates that producers throughout the supply chain meet requirements for ecology and labour conditions and must use organically-produced raw materials without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilisers.
We love the look, texture and versatility of wool along with its renewable properties. Wool is a resilient, high quality fibre and will last for years whilst maintaining its appearance adding value to the product and its lifespan. It is breathable and comfortable to wear in both hot climates and cold climates. Due to its naturally high percentage of nitrogen, wool will naturally biodegrade within a single year, enriching the soil it is planted in and nourishing new life. We choose to use wool in its unique undyed form, utilising the light and dark fibre of the sheep, and work to ensure all of our wool is sourced from reputable spinners who have sustainability and animal welfare at the heart of their supply chain. Our goal is to be able to source all of our wool from regenerative sources that maintain soil health, protect biodiversity, and care for the animals.
The cotton denim industry is notoriously harmful both to the environment and its workers, with an average of 2kg of chemicals and 8,000 litres of water used to produce a single pair of jeans. We have turned to this sustainable alternative season after season, made from merino wool, as it still has the essence of a jean fabric whilst having a much kinder environmental footprint. Merino wool is a regenerative fibre which has the ability to sequester carbon in our soils, through properly maintained pastures and suitable animal husbandry and with little to no chemical input. As it is an animal fibre, merino wool breathes with the wearer, forming a second skin that is warm but also breathable. Our wool denim fabric is high quality and will get softer and cosier with wash and wear.
Silk is an incredibly soft material with a beautiful drape. Made from the cocoon of the silk worm, the unique lustrous quality to silk is due to its prism-like structure which refracts light at several angles, creating a glistening appearance. As a non-conductor of heat, silk can keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Our Bamford silk pieces are really a credit to the expert silk specialists we have the pleasure of working with in Northern Italy. Their fine and delicate hand combined with years of expertise helps us achieve beautifully unique timeless pieces.
Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world, made from the fibres of the flax plant. Linen is an exceptionally breathable fabric, which has been valued for its cool freshness and unique qualities for centuries. Every year the growing of Flax (linen) in Europe captures 250,000 tonnes of CO2. The flax plant has a short growing cycle to reach its full height with only 100 days for it to grow 4 feet. It requires few, if any, pesticides and fertilisers due to its height and is a more environmentally friendly option when compared with standard non-organic cotton.
Alpaca is incredibly light, much lighter than wool, so it provides warmth without heavy weight. It is also hypoallergenic, making for a soft fibre to be worn close to your skin. The wide range of 22 natural alpaca colours (not found among any other natural fibres) encourages less dyeing, which in turn reduces water and energy consumption, and significantly reduces the risk of water pollution as a result of textile dyeing.
Our outerwear pieces are crafted from supremely soft and lightweight lambskin. A natural insulator, lambskin is fine and supple with a short, dense curl which ages beautifully over time. We work with a family-owned workshop in Italy to develop this beautiful material into our signature shearling outerwear pieces. Notice the small hand-crafted porcelain heart in the pocket of our signature shearling outerwear - something tactile to remind you of the human touch and care that has gone into crafting this special piece.
Khadi cotton is not only unique for its gently textured appearance and tactility; the light, handspun fabric allows the skin to breathe and has the ability to keep you cool in hot weather yet warm on colder spring days. But its historical significance to India and place within a global industry looking to more sustainable fabrics is not to be overlooked and plays a vital role in the reason we turn to khadi year after year. Khadi embodies a textile production system with zero or low-chemical and carbon footprints, and brings employment and income to thousands of highly-skilled artisans in India. These are garments with a unique sensibility, each referencing the detail, emotion and intricate work that are intrinsic to the skills used to craft them.
Hemp comes from the fibres of the Cannabis Sativa plant and is incredibly environmentally friendly to produce. Hemp grows easily with little water, usually requires no chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and has a high yield. It has been called a ‘carbon negative raw material’ due to the amount of CO2 it absorbs as it grows, and can actually help regenerate damaged topsoil. Textiles made from hemp are highly durable and age well, softening through wash and wear while retaining their natural lustre and beauty.