What do Textiles Come From?

What do Textiles Come From?
November 7, 2019 Paul

What do Textiles Come From?

Where do textiles come from? - Venubi Marketplace

What do textiles come from?

Have you ever wondered, what do textiles come from? If so, look no further. We’ve taken the time to disclose some of the information on this topic right here for you. 

After conducting research on what do textiles come from, we’ve summarized the answer for you below. 

Essentially, all textiles are derived from two different main types of materials: natural fiber and man-made fibers

Natural fibers have two sub-categories which are animal fiber and plant fiber. 

Man-made fiber also has two sub-categories which are natural polymer fiber and synthetic polymer fiber. 

In this article, I will discuss a few types of each category of fibers and how Venubi could help you, as a consumer or vendor, source or distribute each type.


Natural Fibers. What are they?What do textiles come from?

Starting, natural fibers can be thought of as any natural hair-like material that is obtained from plant, animal, or vegetable byproducts. 

These natural fibers can either be woven or non-woven, and can be made into things like clothing, yarn, and upholstery items, for instance.  

First, on our list of natural fibers is plant fibers. Plant fibers include materials such as flax and hemp. 

Disclaimer: Hemp made products should not be confused with marijuana products. Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant fiber that can be made into a wide array of items ranging from food to automobile products. 


What is Hemp?What do textiles come from?

Hemp is presumed to be the oldest cultivated plant with reports dating back 4500 BCE and has recently been described as the new billion-dollar crop. 

Additionally, hemp products used to be considered the textile for the masses in Eastern Asia. And, as a side note, the rich donned silk made products.


Why hemp?What do textiles come from?

The most likely assumed reason for the mass adoption of hemp products is its simple processing structure. Hemp is produced with a procedure known as “retting”. 

Retting is where you lay the cut stalks of hemp in water or on the ground and you let natural bacteria break down the stalk of the hemp plant. 

Once retting has completed, about three to six weeks, you can separate the hemp fibers from the woody core of the stalk. 

It’s not quite that simple, but it is simpler than most other textiles. 

Burial remains in Asia have been found with hemp pots, shoes, and clothing inside; relatively still intact, dating as far back as 800 BCE.


Textiles made from animal fibers.

The second category on our “what do textiles come from” list of natural fiber is animal fiber. Animal furs (exception: silk) to be exact. 

Did you know, the fur industry is one of America’s oldest industries according to the Fur Information Council of America (FICA). Fur trading began out of human necessity in the 1600s. 

The early colonists needed the furs to stay warm and to trade amongst themselves and the native Americans for iron-based products. 

Interestingly, the fur trade remained a staple for commerce for nearly two hundred years. 

However, the fur industry has been suffering in recent years; it decreased in value by 95 million dollars from 2014 to 2017 according to FICA reports. 

Moreover, FICA also points out that there are approximately 1100 fur retailers and over 100 manufacturers in the U.S. alone. And, the majority of fur contributed to the market is produced by mink farmers.


Vegetable-based fibers for textiles 

The third and most recognizable category on our “what do textiles come from” list is vegetable fibers such as cotton, kapok, and coir.


What is cotton?

Cotton is the world’s leading agricultural crop.

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, “The United States is the world’s leading cotton exporter, providing more than a third of the world’s cotton exports.” 

With that in mind, the spinning of cotton is still used to this day and can be dated as far back as 3000 BCE in India. 

Why has it lasted this long? Well because cotton is a versatile and durable fiber.

It can be used for making anything from articles of clothing, marine materials, coffee liners, and even the money in your wallet, for example.  

And in case you were wondering, Texas leads the way in cotton production. Texas produces more than 25% of America’s total cotton production. As it stands, Texas produced more than 8.83 million bales of cotton in 2017.


Which states produce the most cotton?

The top cotton-producing states are all located in what is called the cotton belt and they include Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, California, Alabama, North Carolina, Missouri, and Arizona.

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Nylon is not just one simple type of fabric, it is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers. 


What are man-made textile fibers? 

On the other end of the spectrum of “what do textiles come from”, is man-made fibers. The chemical compounds from which man-made fibers are produced are known as natural polymers. 

Plus, these polymers can have the same or similar characteristics as plastics, rubbers, and adhesives. 

Moreover, man-made fibers are fibers whose chemical composition has been significantly altered during the manufacturing process. 


What can man-made textile fibers help create?

Man-made fibers can be either spun or woven into a wide variety of products.

Including garments such as shirts, scarves, and hosiery; home furnishings such as upholstery, carpets, and drapes; industrial parts such as tire cord, flame-proof linings, and drive belts. 

Many of these products have become synonymous with household items under such names as rayon, nylon, and Dacron.

And, these fibers are renowned for their strength, toughness, and resistance to heat. 


What is Rayon?

Next, Rayon is the first natural man-made fiber on our list because it is made from wood chips and bamboo.

Nylon is a purified fiber from the cellulosic process and often referred to as artificial silk. 

The controversy surrounding this material and a reason that most rayon production has moved overseas is because of its water-polluting byproduct during production.

Since then, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has banned the manufacturing of cuprammonium rayon in the U.S.

However, the production of a safe alternative (Tencel Rayon) is still manufactured in the U.S.

Learn more about how textiles are evolving

What is Dacron?

Next on the list is Dacron. Dacron is the middle layer between foam and fabric in upholstery.

That middle layer should be added as batting and it surrounds the foam materials in seat cushions. 

Additionally, Dacron is important because it reduces friction on fabric that comes in contact with the foam.

It is also used in many marine materials like sailcloth and even carpet fibers. 


What are synthetic polymers?

The second type of man-made fibers is known as synthetic polymers.

Synthetic polymers are the larger of two groups of man-made fibers and are produced entirely by chemical processes. 

Essentially, the majority of man-made fibers are derived from petroleum and natural gas byproducts. 

So what is an example of a synthetic polymer? 

Well, the best example of a synthetic polymer is nylon. Nylon is ubiquitous, and it is the first example I would like to expand upon.


What is nylon?

Nylon is possibly the most popular among the man-made cellulosic synthetic fibers; renowned for its strength, softness, and its versatility. 

Nylon is not just one simple type of fabric, it is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers. 

Hence, the versatility of the fiber to be injected into a plethora of products. That’s why nylon can be found in everything from pantyhose to parachutes. 

Funnily enough, nylon made its debut appearance in the 1940s with nylon pantyhose. Nylon pantyhose were introduced as a cheap alternative to silk pantyhose and women flocked to the shelves to get a pair. 

It was an instant success and since then the versatile fiber has been added to or made into machine parts or industrial parts. 


Where can I find Nylon suppliers?

Nylon producers can be found in Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi, New Jersey, Montana, and Texas. Nylon was being produced at approximately 595,000 metric tons annually in the United States in 2018.

To wrap things up: Venubi’s platform enables vendors to a wide variety of ways to promote their fabrics and textiles. You as the vendor could advertise your textiles by domestic or import enabling buyers to shop local or even pick up in person. 

As a vendor on Venubi, you could use Venubi’s algorithms to reach buyers looking for a rare type of material. Why search the web for hours looking for textiles, when you can simply find it with a few clicks on Venubi.  

Paul Mojica


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