Milk silk is a term given to silk that is derived from milk. Yep, I’m talking about silk – the fabric with a rich, velvety texture and feels very luxurious on the skin.
At this stage, it’s not known how environmentally friendly milk silk will be. That largely depends on how the silk can eventually be successfully produced (if ever). To date, I know of two companies that have experimented with or produced milk silk:
- In 2000, a Canadian company announced that it was on the way to producing spider silk from goats milk. By 2002, it had successfully inserted spider genes into cows and hamsters and planned to progress to goats. By 2006 the company had almost run out of money.
- Cyarn, A Chinese company has been producing fabric made from milk. To produce the fabric, the company dries the milk, then extracts its proteins. The proteins are then combined with a solution in a special machine to whirl the fibers together. After this, the fibers are spun into yarn, then woven into fabric. This process has been around since World War 1 but has always been very expensive. Modern technology has reduced the cost, but it’s still quite expensive. Cyarn has received the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 green certification for the international ecological textiles.
Milk silk/milk yarn still isn’t mainstream yet. It sounds like Cyarn is leading the way in this market though. Hopefully they can keep it green and who knows where it will lead?
You can buy milk silk clothes online from Piscotta Cashmere. I presume the fabrics have been produced using milk yarn from Cyarn.