“From wild plant to luxurious textile, will wild Himalayan nettle be in your sustainable fiber portfolio?”
Also called stinging nettle, burning nettle or burning weed, we usually steer away from nettle when we encounter in nature. But did you know that, for more than 3000 years, people have used fibers sourced from nettle to make clothes? In Nepal’s Himalayas the nettle we know from our forests and meadows has evolved in a unique environment over millennia to produce a lustrous, long fiber somewhat similar to linen, but more regenerative, longer and stronger. Ellie Skeele and her team at Himalayan Wild Fibers have been able to develop a proprietary extraction method to produce a fine fiber from this wild and remote growing ecological plant. Independently or mixed with silk, wool, cashmere, or even Tencel, these fibers can be used to make high-end textiles for fashion or home interiors that fit into a circular fashion world.
In the mountain forests of the Himalayas, the nettle grows abundantly in the wild. Without any fertilizer or pesticides, the stalks can grow up to three meters in a year. Harvesting them every year allows for new shoots to grow. Not only do the new leaves absorb more CO2 from the air, but the additional roots also help to stabilize the soil as protection for landslides. Next to the environmental benefits of Himalaya nettle, Ellie and her team are providing local farmers with additional income opportunities that are compatible with their farming lifestyles.
During the 30 minute discussion with Ellie, we will discover how these fibers are produced, as well as the multitude of possibilities there are to weave them into luxurious textiles. The interview will be followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.
Ellie Skeele; Founder Himalayan Wild Fibers
Ellie Skeele is the founder and president of Himalayan Wild Fibers (HWF). With more than 35 years of business experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship, she discovered the possibilities of using nettle to produce fibers while living in Nepal. Working with the local farmers in the Himalayan forests, and textile producers in Europe, she strives to grow the market for this novel and rich fiber.
This interview is especially interesting for:
- Buyers, procurement/ sourcing managers
- Production managers
- Brand owners
- CSR/ sustainability managers
- And any other fashion professional seeking to learn more about building fair, sustainable fashion/ textile supply chains