Farmers in Switzerland have revived an old local tradition of silk production. First, they had to get reacquainted with breeding silkworms and growing mulberry trees for them to feed on.
Ueli Ramseier, co-founder of the ‘Swiss Silk’ association, breeds silkworms so that silk can be produced again in Switzerland. He started out breeding them in his bathroom, recently switching to his garage. This domesticated breed cannot live in the wild; it depends entirely on human care. Ueli Ramseier now has 12,000 silkworms. He supplies not only fashion companies but also medical firms with his silk thread.
In 2019, fashion designer Rafael Kouto won the Swiss Design Award for his collection, designed using sustainable Swiss silk. For the silk farmer Ueli Ramseier, it’s more than just a business idea. He wanted to demonstrate how to avoid the huge carbon footprint caused by silk imports from China, thousands of miles away. His goal is to convince more people to breed silkworms in Switzerland to make locally produced, sustainable fashion.
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