Our Proprietary Fabric Blend: Silkspun

We’re often asked by customers to explain what is different about our Silkspun fabric.

Firstly… it’s ours!  That’s right – our very own blend, and only available from SilkLiving.

In the late 1990’s, whilst studying for her Degree in Fabric and Textile Science, founding designer Emily Cooper fell in love with the exceptional qualities of silk - in particular how well it outperforms many traditional natural fibres such as wool, or indeed man-made fibres, whether cellulose or synthetic-based.

However, as most of us know, silk in its natural state is inherently fine.  This means that - irrespective of how many silk filaments are gathered to twist into thread - the result when turned into a jersey-knit fabric will always be slightly sheer.  This is fine for an undergarment (and, indeed, is delicious to wear against your skin), but it means it is less likely to be used as outerwear.

Also an outdoors-enthusiast, Emily disliked the man-made high-performance fabrics of the day.  However, she knew that for many people these highly processed, man-made (often synthetic) fabrics were the only itch-free alternative to wool.  So she set about creating a 100% natural fabric to bring together the gorgeously soft, smooth qualities of silk against the skin with the opacity that can only be achieved when combining silk thread with other fibres.

And so, our Silkspun was born!

It was clear that the final percentage of silk must be high in order to ensure its overriding qualities as the predominant component of the finished fabric.  Also vital was fabric that would feel (almost) as light and fine to wear as pure silk; that it would be warm or cool as needed by the wearer, and it would be strong enough so that each garment would last for many years. And through much trial and effort, experimenting with a wide variety of fibres and techniques, and working with a number of expert spinning mills, the winning blend was finally reached – 72% silk, 13% merino wool and 15% cotton.

What is so great about this blend?  Well, as noted above, at 72% silk it is almost as light and fine to wear as a similar jersey knit in pure silk.  Furthermore:

  • Its high content of protein fibre ensures that it will be warm or cool depending on what is required by the wearer.
  • The small amount of merino wool and cotton give the fabric a degree of opacity, meaning it can be worn as a single layer of outerwear if desired.
  • The jersey knit gives natural stretch, so there is no addition of elastane, spandex or any other man-made additive. 
  • Its high silk content (and lack of elastane!) means it is usually tolerated by people with sensitive skin or allergies.
  • It is 100% natural, using earth-friendly sustainable practices.
  • Silkspun’s high content of protein fibres inhibits the build-up of odour-causing bacteria, so your garments can go longer between washes.  However, it’s amazingly light and fine, so when you finally do need to wash, it dries fast!
  • Naturally flame-resistant, it will not catch fire but will simply turn to ash.

First offered in 2001, our beautiful Silkspun garments have been loved by our many customers for over 20 years.  And most amazingly, some of those very first garments are still being worn today!

See what customer Nigel had to say:

" 5 Stars!

I'm loving my tank top and long-sleeve polo (which can dress up or down for literally almost any occasion).  The Silkspun fabric which is mostly silk with some merino and cotton is superb - such an ideal blend! (Great for anyone with sensory issues, the single label can be removed too). I was a longtime follower of a merino based company here in NZ, but now I'm a convert to Silk Living - sexier cuts and fits and nicer fabric and quality.  Fair price point too.  Also, love the website, various real people modeling the clothes - has a nice authenticity and freshness."

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