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alfia-02  ON THE GROUND
Wear your green heart on your sleeve: clothes without pesticides


Wearing natural fabrics can help people change their attitude to health, environment and consumption patterns, Uzbek designer and textile artist Alfia Valieva tells UN Environment in an interview as part of the Dialogue Corner.

When fed with mulberry leaves, silk worms produce a cocoon of the material around themselves at a remarkable pace. A 3-4cm cocoon can produce 800-1200 metres of fiber thread which can be wound together to make fabric for clothes.

Alfia produces her own clothes using this natural fabric and colours them using paint made from organic pomegranates, onions, nuts and other fruits to produce stunning outfits prized at international exhibitions.

Despite her unique skill, “everyone can try and go to a shop and buy natural fabric and create clothes of his or her own or practice patchwork,” Alfia says.

Doing so is a “safe and environmentally-friendly” choice, the designer points out - with less or no pesticides used for example. Buying natural fabrics such as linen and silk can also bring direct economic benefits to farmers of natural fabrics that are typically less well off, she notes.

“Governments can facilitate this by supporting folk-crafts including weaving and silk breeding, as well as by saving and developing national cultural heritage,” Alfia adds.

Furthermore, “natural fabrics are good for our health - they allow the body to breathe,” the designer explains. Indeed, silk is 97% composed of proteins, 3% made up of fat and wax, and contains 18 amino acids which have a positive effect on our metabolism.

Even though the silk is more expensive than artificial fibres, “demand for them keeps growing because there are more and more people who care about their health and the environment,” Alfia notes. Why not get creative and do something for yourself and the planet too.


To read the full interview, click here.
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