Nettle fiber is a type of natural fiber that comes from one of the most common plants in the world: nettles.
These are plants that grow very quickly. They grow so fast and multiply in such a way that, in some places, they can even be considered a pest.
But given its abundance, it's no wonder that human beings have looked for ways to put it to use as quickly as possible. As such, usage of nettle fiber for the production of textile pieces is already an old practice, about 2000 years old.
Germany, China, Denmark, Scotland, or Russia are just some of the countries in the world where traces of its use, production, or sale have been found. However, when cotton first appeared – easier to grow and harvest – nettle fiber lost its prominent place within the industry.
Today, the story is different. As producers and consumers seek sustainable alternatives in the most varied fields of activity, circular knitted fabrics made from nettle fiber have been redeveloped.
Nettle fiber is a new reference for the practice of sustainable fashion and allows the creation of circular knitted fabrics with very little environmental impact.
Nettles grow abundantly and regularly throughout the year. They are plants that need very little water and are well-known for the irritation they cause to the skin.
The following should be clarified: circular knitted fabrics created with nettle fiber behave in a very different way to the touch. The renowned burning sensation caused by these plants is due to the presence of small hairs on their leaves. These hairs contain formic acid, responsible for such irritation.
Nettle fiber is produced from the stems of these plants. Its leaves are therefore removed, and the end result is a soft circular knitted fabric that is perfectly safe for the skin.
The process used in its cultivation is also as natural as possible. In order to obtain nettle fiber, the stalks of the nettles are cut and left in the wide open.
It will be the rains and the heat of the sun that begin to shape them. Then the stalks are picked up and pressed into huge blocks. These are then taken to large barns, where they remain stored and left to dry.
When completely dried out, the fibers are separated from the stems before being detangled from one another and cleaned until ready to be spun. The entire process is completely natural, without the use of any kind of chemical products.
Together with the fact that these plants need very little water and adapt to different types of environments, this makes it S truly sustainable alternative. Conceiving nettle fiber based circular knitted fabrics requires the use of little water and little or no chemicals.
Nettle fiber is naturally long, strong, and versatile.
In addition, nettle fiber also has some surprising properties. It is of high-quality, fire-resistant, and antibacterial, which makes the appearance of mold very difficult. However, there is another main feature.
Nettle fiber is hollow. It's full of air inside it. This makes it a natural thermal insulator with properties that are then transferred to our circular knitted fabrics. Interestingly, it was due to the First World War that this feature was discovered.
Unable to trade cotton, the French and German armies were forced to find alternatives for the production of military uniforms and nettle fiber was the chosen option. During the winter, uniforms created from nettle fiber allowed soldiers to stay warmer. During the summer, these uniforms were produced differently, twisting the threads to make the soldiers feel cooler.
Nettle fiber is a type of natural fiber that allows the creation of delicate but resistant circular knitted fabrics.
Increasingly a reference in the market, circular knitted fabrics made from nettle fiber are a sustainable alternative that is available at ITJV only through catalogue requests and sample validation.
This text was written and published in 2021