Silk is a highly luxurious and sensual - at touch fibre - extracted from silkworm cocoons.

Silk was first introduced to the European craftsmen from China, brought via the Silk Road trade routes, over a thousand years ago. Silk has a rich history, not only in fashion but also in the history of the world.

Along with tea and porcelain ceramics, silk was another reason that has fuelled a war trade between the British Empire and China, namely the Opium War.

Soft at the touch, delightful to wear, with an almost divine radiance, silk was arguably the world's most luxurious fibre, until the development of synthetic fibres at the beginning of this century.

While the silk's organic nature makes it fully biodegradable, serious concerns are arising from the pro-sustainability and cruelty-free activists regarding the ethics of producing silk.

More recently, a new segment of conscious fashion buyers has started to express similar concerns, asking for cruelty-free and eco-friendly alternatives to silk.

Cruelty-Free Peace Silk

Silk is obtained by boiling the chrysalis of silkworms alive, before the moths have emerged, into a soup of poisonous chemicals. The fibres are then refined by their strength, spun, washed with highly toxic chemicals, and then weaved into textiles.

The issue doesn't end here as the detergents used are high-level pollutants, which requires further chemical treatment to prevent damage to the environment.

But, apart from the cruelty element associated to the production of conventional silk that everybody's aware of, not many fashion lovers know that the silkworms used for silk production are fed with crops packed with pesticides and fertilisers.

Add to that silk is the pollution caused by the toxic chemical dyes during the silk colouring process, and you'll begin to understand how bad for the environment silk production is.

Something had to be done, so a temporary solution was the adoption of peace silk. It is the same type of conventional silk, extracted from the same cocoons, however, only after the butterfly moth has managed to emerge out of the 'egg', alive.