You're nearly there with me, Calvin!

I would love to say that I love the Spring Summer 2016 collection by Calvin Klein, but I just can't bring myself to like it. You see, when I first looked at the collection I was hoping the main fabrics used were satins, but after some investigation I discovered that the main fabrics used were not only satin, but suede, sequins (not sure if that counts as fabric), leather and silk. I knew silk came from silk producing insects but I didn't really know how the insects produced it and how it was retrieved, so I decided to give this a search on Google. Here's what I found out.

Mass produced silk is made from domesticated silkworms raised on farms. They are fed mulberry leaves when they're at their caterpillar phase until they're ready to form cocoons and become moths (this is called the pupal phase). The cocoons are made from liquid silk that the silkworms secrete. This all seems great so far, but to then obtain the silk, the cocoons are boiled with the caterpillars inside them, thus killing them. The cocoon is then unravelled to produce the silk thread. If the silkworms were left to do their thing, they would chew the silk cocoon to escape and the silk strands would become smaller and therefore deemed less "valuable". There's also another method that involves removing the glands that produce silk out of the silkworms and then extracting the silk from them, but that still means killing the poor insect. 

The amount of silkworms that have to die in order for us to have 1 gram of these gorgeous looking silk dresses is 15, so imagine how many had to boil for create this collection, it seems a bit too large of a number of deaths for me to be comfortable wearing or buying anything from it. 

There are, however, other methods of producing silk that do not involve the killing of the silkworms. These methods allow the silkworms to escape the cocoon by chewing bits of it, leaving them to live their short lives in peace. The silks produced through this method are called Eri/Peace Silk and Ahimsa (non-violence). Nonetheless, these still only represent a small fraction of the silk industry, and the price of manufacturing threads are still higher than the usual route.  

I haven't been able to find which type of silk Calvin Klein's collection is made of, so, to be ethically 'safe', I would not recommend anybody purchasing anything leathery, 'suedy' or silky, from it. So the items you are safe to buy are:

  • satin jumpsuits;
  • satin frayed sneakers;
  • floral printed sneakers;
  • flower bracelets;
  • body chains.

So, although I don't agree with the use of certain fabrics in this collection, I do think Calvin Klein's creative director, Fernando Costa (who is also Brazilian, yey!!), and his team did a fantastic job incepting and creating a collection that is both visually stunning and pleasant on the eyes. For this reason, I am, along with the clothes that are ethically 'safe' to purchase and indulge in, also showing some images of the clothes that were made of leather and silk. 

Barbara Gonçalves