In this research, our group wants to design some clothes for the infants. The group decided to use bamboo fiber to design various clothes for the babies. One of the reasons for the decision is because bamboo fiber is a 100 percent natural fiber, made from bamboo trees, which grow naturally from various parts of the world (Bamboo Fibers and Yarns, n.d.). Since it is a natural fiber, bamboo fiber is 100 percent biodegradable by the soil microorganisms. Our group recognizes the importance of conserving our environment, by using products whose production process do not pollute the environment, and those whose continuous use does not result into depletion. During the decomposition process, bamboo fiber does not cause environmental pollution. This is because, the conversion process of natural bamboo into bamboo fiber does not involve introduction of synthetic materials or chemical elements. In reference to depletion of natural resources, bamboo tree occurs naturally in relatively wet regions of the world. It does not require close care such as use of fertilizers or irrigation. It usually takes between 3 and 4 years to mature. For these reasons, utilization of bamboo tree in production of bamboo fiber does not cause its depletion because of its ability to grow naturally and fast.
Bamboo fiber has natural anti-bacteria, which is found naturally in the bamboo tree (Bamboo Fibers and Yarns, n.d.). For this reason, unlike other fibers, which tend to cause skin allergy due to the antimicrobial chemical elements added in them during the manufacturing process, bamboo fiber do not cause skin allergy since it is free from artificial antimicrobial elements. This makes it suitable for the babies because their skins are sensitive and they tend to react very quickly with strange elements.
Fabric made from bamboo fiber has a variety of uses ranging from shirts, socks, sheets, pillows, dresses, and slacks. One of the properties of bamboo fiber is that it is naturally soft (Bamboo Clothing, 2011). Studies indicate that bamboo fiber is softer than cotton. It has a natural shine like silk, and it drapes like satin. These enhance its softness property, making it suitable for babies because it gives them extra comfort, which they require at their tender age. At times, bamboo fiber is mixed with organic cotton, in order to make it extremely soft and thicker. This fabric is suitable for baby’s nightwear and cold seasons’ baby wear.
Bamboo fiber has a thermal regulating property (Bamboo Clothing, 2011). This implies that, clothes made from bamboo fiber can be worn both in cold and warm seasons. The wicking ability of fabric made from bamboo fiber enables clothes made of bamboo fiber to allow easy movement of air in and out of the skin surface, thus allowing an individual to stay cool during hot seasons. This makes it ideal for babies, who are not friendly to too much warmth and cold. Mothers who use clothes made from bamboo fiber are assured of the right body temperatures of their babies during both hot and cold seasons.
Another property of bamboo fiber is that it absorbs moisture. Close observation of a cross-section of a bamboo fiber indicates that the fiber has numerous micro-holes, which allow bamboo clothes to absorb moisture easily (Bamboo Clothing, 2011). In fact, studies reveal that bamboo clothes absorb moisture four times faster than cotton clothes (Bamboo Clothing, 2011). Babies sweat frequently, thus, the excellent absorption property of bamboo fiber makes it suitable for baby’s clothes because they absorb body moisture quickly, and allow rapid evaporation of the moisture, thus preventing the baby from feeling cold, due to wetness caused by body moisture.
Clothes made from bamboo fabrics are said to be breathable. This is due to the porous nature of bamboo fiber, which allows the fabrics to build resistance from clinging: when one is exercising or during hot weather (Bamboo Clothing, 2011). Another property of bamboo fiber fabrics that makes it suitable for baby’s clothing is its UV protection ability (Bamboo Clothing, 2011). Bamboo trees have natural proteins, which protect them from the harmful UV rays. Bamboo fiber retains the proteins even after the conversion process. Clothes made from bamboo fiber are therefore suitable for babies because they protect them from the harmful UV rays, which can cause serious skins conditions to babies, especially because their skin pigmentation are not fully developed to endure the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.
The process of generating bamboo fabric can be done mechanically or chemically. Mechanical process of generating bamboo fiber from bamboo tree involves crushing bamboo leaves and stems to form a pulp. The pulp is then mixed with natural enzymes, which assist in breaking woody walls of bamboo into a mushy mass. The mushy mass is then combed mechanically, where fibers are removed. The fibers are spun into yarn, ready to make bamboo fabric. This process is labor intensive and expensive. However, it does not cause pollution to the environment. Chemical generation of bamboo fiber from bamboo tree involves a process known as ‘cooking.’ Cooking entails mixing small pieces of bamboo leaves and stems with chemical solvents such as carbon disulfide and sodium hydroxide. The resulting mixture is then bleached to produce bamboo fiber. According to Yueping et al. (2009), a cross-section of a bamboo fiber indicates presence of small lumen around the fiber. It has crystalline structure, like than of cotton and flax, thus giving it small molecular mass and low degree of polymerization. These structures allow bamboo fiber to have high breaking strength, low elongation, and good absorption abilities (Yueping et al, 2009).
Currently, the apparel industry is utilizing bamboo fiber to make a wide range of clothes, including baby clothes. Some of the companies that use bamboo fiber to make baby clothes include Green Erath Bamboo, Bamboo Fabric store, Baby Bambu, and Bamboosa. These companies make baby clothes such as nappies, rompers, baby bodysuits, towels, pants, socks, among others (Green Earth Bamboo, 2012; Bamboo Fabric Store, 2012; Baby Bambu, 2012; Bamboosa, 2012).