An all natural fabric that is light weight, silky, and some how improves your health? “It’s light weight, smooth on the skin, and has bamboo’s naturally occurring antimicrobial juices which will improve the condition of the wearer’s skin”. Bamboo fabric clothing makes these claims and more but there’s a reason the picture has “Charlatan’s Black Cup Award” written on it. That’s right, bamboo fabric is not only nothing it claims to be also potentially dangerous to the wearer’s skin that it comes into contact with.
Expensive genuine bamboo fabrics are hardly silky and have no health benefits. It’s just regular old bamboo woven together. But when something gets popular it is sure to have cheaper imitators who have to find the savings somewhere. The fake, silky and supposedly skin enhancing cheap alternative to the unattractive scratchy real deal is in fact just cheap rayon, a synthetic fiber. In fact this rayon is so cheap and poorly manufactured that it leaks remnants of toxic chemicals used in the binding process as reported in this consumer alert put out by the Federal Trade Commission.
The creation of this fabric is also malignant as it releases air-born pollutants. There are certain types of rayon that can claim bamboo to be its plant base but at the end of the process to turn bamboo into rayon there is actually nothing left in the final product that is indicative of the plant. Websites like Green Earth Bamboo have articles attempting to refute this, GEB particularly mentioning the Federal Trade Commission’s warning against it. The only real evidence they have to refute the FTC’s claims is based on “personal experience”, claiming that after wearing it the fabric has “certainly demonstrated to [them] that there is a big difference in the way a bamboo shirt responds to a lack of washing as compared with a cotton shirt”. Any wise business owner knows its better to trust the government agency rather than the person trying to make a sale.
Clothing companies that create the expensive and actually bamboo variety of these garments often claim that the fabric retains bamboo’s antimicrobial fluids and thus are able to cleanse the wearer’s skin as they wear the garment. In fact, there is little to no evidence supporting this. Due to the process of stripping down and drying the bamboo for weaving the chances of it retaining any of its former supposedly skin enhancing fluids is little to none. The cheap variety, including the rayon made from bamboo base, makes such claims as well but as mentioned above it not only isn’t going to help your skin but also potentially cause harm.
As a retailer, it is important to know when a fad is just not worth the risk. True bamboo fabric clothing is rather expensive even wholesale and it’s dishonest to propagate the idea that these fibers are somehow going to cleanse the wearer’s skin. The cheap variety is even worse due to the potential for harm on your customer’s skin. Really, it is best to give this fleeting fad a pass and wait for the next, less risky fad, to come rolling in.