Photos by Marisa Martchitelli
Apoccas is a luxury fashion label that introduces artisanal peace silk scarves. “In Thailand, it is traded as ‘eri silk’,” says founder Alexandra Du Sold “and it is the very epitome of sustainability in slow fashion”. Eri silkworms “nest” and start spinning silk for their cocoon around themselves to prepare for their transformation into short-term pupae before morphing into a silk moth. This entire process can take up to a month. When the spinning ceases, eri silk growers cut the cocoon open and release the animal into freedom. Only then does silk harvesting begin.
“The eri silkworms aren’t killed in the process,” explains Du Sold “whereas in ordinary silk farming, the cocoon would lose its value if the single thread it consists of were severed. There the animal is sacrificed in the boiling process instead to keep it intact.”
As well as being cruelty-free, the Apoccas eri silk scarf is also organic. “The worms will only live on a strictly organic diet,” says Du Sold, “the cassava or castor oil tree leaves cannot be treated with pesticides because the chemicals will kill the silkworm.
In fact, the entire scarf is made sustainably. Once harvested, the silk yarn is hand-spun from the cocoons—not reeled—and dyed with botanical dyes free from chemicals.
“Thai tradition of silk weaving and dyeing goes back thousands of years,” says Du Sold. “one of the aspects of our work as a brand is to commission traditional dyers and weavers to keep this cultural knowledge and sophistication alive”.
The eri silk scarf leaves a small carbon footprint while backing rural communities of master weavers with fair wages that empower these women artisans. APOCCAS recently completed a successful crowdfund campaign. This has enabled them to go into production this month with a new collection, ensuring regular work for the ancestral weaving communities in Northern Thailand.