Material World - What We Are Made Of

August 27, 2018

Have you stopped to think about the source of your home furnishings, homewares and lifestyle accessories? Who made them, where did they come from and how long they are likely to last?

Our products go through a long journey before they reach our customer's homes from the hands of spinners, weavers, crafters, dyers and sewers. At KBEN & HOL, we have a transparent production process that  produces sustainable pieces and helps those who create them. Artisans have suffered due to mass production and fast fashion. We aim to revive traditional techniques which have been passed down through generations in Cambodia and Vietnam.

We strive to create products in such a way that improves the working conditions and livelihoods of our artisans whilst making the least amount of impact on our natural environment. Learn more about the materials we use to create our one-of-a-kind products and why they are good for you and your home.

Natural Fibres, Silk & Cotton

Synthetic fabrics are produced using non-renewable resources which are harmful to the environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over 70 million barrels of oil are used in the manufacturing of polyester every year. Our soft furnishings are developed from natural fabrics which are less damaging to the environment. Silk and cotton are two of our dominant fabrics in creating our handcrafted signature cushions, throws and towels. Silk is a renewable resource, is completely biodegradable and is more environmentally friendly than other fabrics. The silkworms feed on mulberry leaves, and doesn't require harsh chemicals or pesticides to grow. There are many health benefits to using silk. Silk does not draw moisture away from your skin and hair and is beneifical for those with sensitive skin or have other skin conditions. Silk is hypoallergenic and is a natural fire retardant, making it safe for you and your home. Since our silk products are woven by hand it also does not use as much fossil fuel energy that a factory would thereby reducing our carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.

Cotton is also a renewable and biodegradable fibre. The unique structure of cotton makes it a breathable and hypoallergenic fabric so it can be used close to the skin. Cotton protects from the heat in the summer and cold in the winter by providing thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps air between the fabric fibers. Therefore cotton is a natural fibre that is great to use all year round.

Natural & Low Impact Dyes

We dye our fabrics using low impact dyes and natural dyes. Low impact dyes refers to dyes with a high absorption rate compared to other dyes. They utilise much less water in the rinse process and a minimal amount of dye runs off in the water. These type of dyes have a very low impact on the environment as they do not contain heavy metals like chrome, copper and zinc; they don’t require toxic chemical mordants to fix them to the fibre. Natural dyes, as the name suggests, are dyes made from sources found in nature such as plants, animals, fruits, insects and minerals. Natural dyes are renewable and biodegradable, and therefore not harmful to the environment. Their environmental impact is almost non-existent which allows our products such as our beautifully handwoven cotton, throws and towels to have an array of vibrant colours while simultaneously being environmentally conscious. Since our products are individually dyed they also use significantly less water than mass produced products.

Recycled Materials

Some of our tableware products are made from recycled materials including reclaimed wood and recycled coconut shells. Reclaimed wood refers to lumber rescued from old barns, factories, and warehouses. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to wood cultivated from cutting down of trees. Reclaimed wood also adds character to our products as due to its age, each and every piece is different and completely natural.

Did you know that there are around 9 million tons Coconut shells produced worldwide each year out of which only 15% are used? Coconut shells are an agricultural waste. Our coco bowls are made from recycled coconut shells avoiding them ending up in their landfills. They make entertaining both sustainable and stylish.

The crafting of jewellery from a buffalo’s remains is a tradition that goes back for generations in Asia. The buffalo horns used to create our beautiful one-of-a-kind bangles are an organic by-product of water buffalos from Vietnam. As the buffalos are protected in their native lands, the horn only becomes available after the natural demise of the buffalo. 

It is our goal to bring about positive social change within local communities in Cambodia, Vietnam and Asia. As a sustainable and ethical brand, we aim to lessen our impact on the environment while providing sustainable income to our female artisans. Working with recycled and natural material can help make the environment more sustainable while making your home more comfortable.

- Written by Amulya Misra

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