With office return now in full momentum, you are probably revisiting your tie wardrobe and wondering when was the last time you had to do a tie knot? This week in our product focus series we explore our beautiful shantung silk tie collection and guide you through how this iconic silk style is produced.
WHAT IS SHANTUNG FABRIC?
One of our core values at Rampley & Co is to only work with the highest quality materials, and using the finest shantung silk fabrics matches us perfectly in this case. Shantung is a high end, best in class type of silk fabric with characteristic irregular ridges known as slubs running through the fabric. Like many silk fabrics, shantung is crisp, and its lightness causes it to drape elegantly. It's one of the thinnest forms of silk fabric on the market, and with its added texture, is considered one of the finest silks available.
HISTORY OF SHANTUNG SILK
Shantung originated in the Chinese province of Shandong which is the origin of the fabrics namesake. The majority of silk production takes place in the southern parts of China, which has contributed to shantung’s following & mass appeal. Shandong Province is considered to be one of the holiest areas in China, and it holds great significance within the Taoist and Confucian spiritual systems.
Until the 20th century, all of the shantung garments in manufacturing consisted of commonplace silk fibres. With the rise of synthetic fibres across clothing, however, textile producers gained the aptitude to recreate the characteristic attributes of shantung with polyester and other substances. Synthetic shantung, however, lacks the finesse and durability of authentic silk shantung found in the cloth.
HOW IS SHANTUNG FABRIC MADE?
The process of manufacturing shantung fabric begins with the cultivation of silkworm cocoons. Silkworm cocoons are composed of fibers that these insects emit out of special glands, and silkworms wrap these fibers on top of each other in a spiraling design to form their cocoons.
To harvest silkworm cocoon fibers, silk workers begin by removing silkworm cocoons from trees and boiling them to loosen their fibers. Then, an industrial machine brushes the cocoon to find its loose end. A silk worker can also find the loose end of the cocoon by hand.
Lastly, the silk worker or industrial machine loads the fiber through an eyelet and onto a reel. As the reel spins, it unravels the cocoon. The fiber of one cocoon is attached to the next to produce a continuous string. Once this continuous string has reached an adequate length, a silk worker will twist it together with other strings to make yarn.
SHANTUNG SILK TIES AT RAMPLEY & CO.
Today, shantung fabric has carved out a place for itself within the wider silk market by becoming a globally desired fabric for sartorial elegance and high end menswear tailoring. The silk market makes up less than 1% of the global textile market, and shantung only takes up a tiny portion of the overall silk market, making it rare and therefore more expensive vs other tie fabrics.
While synthetic versions of this fabric now compete with genuine shantung, these are hard to mimic and maintain the handful and quality associated with natural shantung fabric. The 100% natural and authentic silk used by us for your ties is woven in northern Italy using both traditional and modern machines and methods, by specialist producers who ensure impeccable standards are maintained.
Established as a centre of silk production since the 16th century, northern Italy is synonymous with the highest quality silks which we are proud to use for our Shantung ties. Once the fabrics are sourced, our ties are then handmade in England by skilled craftsmen to the highest possible standards to give the perfect finish.
Our current collection contains 3 bespoke tie designs, with a diagonal classic stripe pattern running throughout across core menswear colours, suitable for office wear or occasion dressing. Keep an eye our on our latest arrivals page for new season AW21 colours and collection soon.