Field Notes

Our Silk Journey

26 October 2017

Posted in: Good to Know, Industry, H&F Presents, Environment


With fashion production lines becoming more transparent, the public has gained interest into where their clothes are made. This however, doesn’t tend to always focus on where the materials are sourced and created.
We wanted to give you a behind the scenes view of the Hawes & Freer silk production in Jiangsu, along the historic Silk Road. This details the environment and the steps it takes to create a roll of silk. Please note this does not highlight every step of the silk process.

Jane at Silk Farm
Jane at the silk processing factory in Jiangsu


Recently our Director Jane went to visit our silk supplier where they took her through the process of how our silk is made. Below we chat to Jane about her experience and what she learnt about silk that we didn’t already know.


5 Questions with Jane

1. How many silk cocoons does it take to make a thread? 

It takes 8 Silk Cocoons to make 1 thread.

2. What does a bad season mean for silk suppliers? 

If the weather is bad and the mulberry plants do not grow, then the worms do not have enough food to produce a good amount of silk therefore silk prices go up. 

3. How long does the full process take from beginning to finish for a silk cocoon? 

I am not entirely sure how long the full process takes but once the cocoons have been dried thoroughly they have up to 6 months to get the silk from the cocoon. 

4. Are there things you saw that no one would know about when it comes to producing the silk? 

The noise that the worms make when eating the mulberry plants was so odd. The whole process is so time consuming and labor intensive that I have a much higher appreciation for silk and how and where it comes from.  

5. What was the most exciting fact about silk you learnt? 

The drive to rural China in the Jiangsu region and seeing the workers in action was an amazing experience. What I learnt was so interesting and to have the opportunity to see this through my own eyes is one I won’t ever forget.


The Silk Process


- the team at Hawes & Freer

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