Did you even know fabric can be made out of milk? It has been termed an eco fabric and is used by many high-end eco designers, including Linda Loudermilk who has been featured on Dulce Locura. However, many are now arguing that like bamboo, it is not as eco friendly as many are saying.

Milk fiber was discovered as a source for fabric by the Germans in World War I. It is made by drying liquid milk and extracting the proteins whuch are dissolved into liquid once again. Finally the fibers are spun together to create yarn and fabric. Milk fabric is useful to designers because it allows for dye, is breathable and extremely soft and lightweight.

Some argue that milk is eco friendly because milk fiber doesn’t use as much energy or produce as much waste as cotton, it is more biodegradable, and the process of producing milk fiber is chemical free.

As I was reading the list of pros, the cons kept coming to me and after doing more research I am truly convinced that milk fabric is not eco friendly.

CONS

  • The dairy industry is already harmful to our environment. Greenhouse gases are the most talked about, but another aspect is that the grains needed to feed cows could also be used to feed starving people.
  • The University of Virginia has found that the milk proteins are allergenic, they can be absorbed by sweating and cause harsh reactions.
  • There are better uses of water than dairy farming…like for people.
  • All garments made from milk fabric so far have been incredibly expensive, available to only a handful. One of the big arguments for eco fashion is its support for social justice…how is using resources badly needed by the majority of the world’s population so the rich can wear silky dresses supporting this?

This debate is not likely to settle anytime soon…if ever. Like bamboo there are arguments for both side, and it is up to the consumer to determine if the fabric is right for them.

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