Indian startup Faborg has created sustainable Weganool – an alternative to wool from a flowering milkweed-like plant called Calotropis.
This native – Asia and Northern Africa – wild flowering shrub is used for special care or pesticide treatment.
Gowri Shankar, Founder of Faborg said, “It struck to me the possibility of converting the Calotropis plant-fiber into textile after casually observing 10 to 15 sunbirds surrounding the plant bush and making a nest using its fiber.”
Working on the idea, Shankar said he was finally able to attain the vegan cashmere fabric perfect for woolens by blending 30% of Calotropis and 70% organic cotton.
According to Shankar, the plant fiber’s softness and natural shine styles the resulting fabric smooth, velvety and luxurious. It is also lightweight and offers remarkable thermoregulating properties.
Furthermore, since the plant-fiber is sought from the wild and processed mostly by hand, the fabric scores on being cost-effective, sustainable and a means of income for the local country communities.
While extracting the fiber from the pods and stems naturally leaves a residue, Shankar added that the residual extract is concentrated and converted into a natural fertilizer and pest repellent drawing on the plant’s antifungal and antibacterial properties.
The fabric’s cashmere resembles texture has fascinated a lot of attention. Numerous brands have also started sourcing this fabric.
“I want to have a processing unit for Faborg in every 100 km of India wherever the plant is growing. I hope to create a working model for farmers so that they can become self-sufficient. To this network, I want the farmers to realize the real potential of this shrub and how it can improve their incomes,” Shankar said.