“Peace silk” sounds like some kind of sarong your mom wore to Woodstock, but it’s actually a more humane and ecologically sustainable (and defensible) version of the fabric most commonly associated with luxury lingerie.
Now, UK designer Ayten Gasson has moved “peace silk” — and the broader issue of silk production — into the spotlight with a lovely limited collection of eco-friendly nightwear.
It will probably come as a surprise to many lingerie fans that silk is not, strictly speaking, an environmentally friendly fabric, despite its “natural” origins. Almost all silk production involves the extraction of filaments from mulberry silkworms that are boiled alive in their cocoons. “Peace silk” refers to the more ecologically (but less economically) sound practice of extracting silk from the cocoon only after the larvae have emerged and allowed to get on with their metamorphosis.
Peace silk isn’t new, and has long been used for the production of spiritual garments in India, where it is known as ahimsa, meaning “without violence”.
Ayten Gasson, who is a connoisseur of vintage lace and silks in addition to being a lingerie designer, has somehow managed to source some wild peace silk and trimmed it with cotton lace from historic Nottingham for her small but precious new collection.
Her new eco-collection (which is only available through the AG webshop) consists of three pieces: AG’s signature cami (above) tap pant in ivory peace silk; and a classic teddy (below) in stretch organic silk. Prices are similar to other pieces in the AG catalogue. All three have the distinctly vintage-esque elegance that the label is famous for.
It’s also not the first time the label has tried its hand at ethical lingerie. A couple of years ago, AG collaborated with eco-brand Enamore to produce six collections of ethical underwear using recycled fabrics, organic silk and hemp.
Ayten Gasson is hoping to expand the new eco-range and make ethical lingerie a permanent component of the label. A lot of eco-consumers, and a lot of silkworms, are cheering her on!