More Information about VINZ Silkwear

Production of VINZ Silkwear / Extraction of Silk / History of Silk

Production of VINZ Silkwear

The silk cocoons have been harvested on a farm in the hilly north of the Chinese province of Sichuan since summer 2019. The farm, which is certified according to EU organic guidelines, also serves as a model for sustainable agriculture in the region. The newly created jobs are welcomed by the local population and make a contribution against rural exodus.

The further processing into yarn, fabric and the finished articles takes place in small to medium-sized companies. Living wages, basic rights and a minimum age of 16 for workers are secured and guaranteed by annual controls. The majority of the employees are older than 40 years.



The companies are bound by strict environmental regulations, compliance with which is also checked annually. This not only helps the environment, it also prevents the finished products from being contaminated with problematic substances. In addition, ecological impulses can be set for the entire Chinese textile industry.

For more information on GOTS, see .

Extraction of Silk

The raw silk is obtained in a complex process that requires a lot of experience and has hardly changed since time immemorial.

Photo by Paolo Mazzei

From the eggs of the mulberry moth (Bombyx mori), a moth of the moth family (!), caterpillars that are only 3 mm in size hatch after about 10 days. These are fed several times a day with increasing amounts of fresh mulberry leaves. The animals react very sensitively to external influences, which is why they have to be protected from draughts, temperature fluctuations and noise. Even subtle odors such as perfumes can inhibit their development.

Photo by Paolo Mazzei

After about 30 days and four moults, they have grown to a good 10 cm in length and have increased their weight by a factor of 10,000. Now they start spinning themselves a cocoon. This takes up to five days. Shielded from the environment, the caterpillar metamorphoses into a moth.

Photo by Paolo Mazzei

In the middle of the pupal period, when the pupa is no longer a caterpillar but also no moth, the cocoons are dried with heat, killing the pupae. If the moths hatched, the cocoons would be damaged and the silk thread could no longer be unwound. However, up to 1200 m of the noble thread can be won from a cocoon.

Photo by Paolo Mazzei

The moths selected for breeding live only a few days after hatching without feeding. After mating, the female lays 300 to 500 eggs, barely 2 mm in size. The cycle of life starts all over again.

For further processing, several silk threads must be combined into a fine yarn. Only after weaving or knitting does the silk get its supple feel by boiling it in a mild soap solution.

History of Silk

Legend and Beginnings

The cultivation of silk began in China. The oldest silk fabric dates back to around 2750 BC. dated. Legend has it that Xiling, the wife of Emperor Huang Di, was the person who discovered it. She observed the silk moth as it developed in her garden and came up with the idea of ​​having an imperial fabric woven from the fine thread of the cocoon.

Silk production became an important industry in ancient China and the valuable fabrics found their way to the western world along the Silk Road.

The Mongols even used silk in combination with leather and iron elements to make light armor that was difficult for enemy arrows to penetrate.

Silk production expands

The knowledge of silk was a strictly and successfully guarded secret of the Chinese Empire for a long time. Silk production only flourished in the Mediterranean region in the Middle Ages, after two monks allegedly managed to smuggle eggs of the silk moth and seeds of the mulberry tree to Byzantium in their hollowed-out walking sticks. Silk metropolises emerged in Spain, Italy and France. Silk was even produced at times in Ticino.

However, a hitherto unknown disease almost completely wiped out European silkworms in the mid-19th century.

The Silk Industry in Switzerland

With industrialization, the downstream silk industry developed quickly and also gained importance in Switzerland, for example in the regions of Zurich and Basel (trimmings, silk ribbons). Around 1900, the silk industry was one of the most important branches of industry in Switzerland. From the middle of the 20th century, the focus shifted from processing to trading. Since then, the textile industry in Switzerland has been steadily shrinking.

For a few years now, silk has been produced again in very small quantities for the domestic market under the Swiss Silk name.

Today, the majority of high-quality silk production comes from China again. Other silk exporting countries are Japan and Brazil. Tussah silk, a wild silk of far less fine quality, comes from India.


Do you have questions? We are happy to advise you with our many years of experience:

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