“Shake your Boody”
Shaking up the Fashion World - Boody’s Bamboo Viscose Revolution
Do you know those days when you just can't shake a song from your head? Lately, I've been finding myself humming the tune to 'Shake Your Booty' by KC and the Sunshine Band. While I often have a hard time figuring out where these songs come from, this one is pretty clear: I’ve been researching the eco-conscious clothing brand, Boody… I don’t know if that was their intention, but I’ll just run with the association. And actually, 'Shake Your Booty' is a surprisingly fitting anthem for a company that's shaking up the fashion industry with its innovative use of bamboo viscose. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the process of turning bamboo into viscose and explore how Boody is doing its part to promote sustainability and eco-friendliness along the way.
Sustainable Shopping Made Simple
”Everybody, get on the floor - Let's dance”
It's truly fascinating that something as hard and rigid as wood or bamboo can be transformed into a soft and versatile material like viscose. However, the conventional process of producing viscose or rayon from wood is far from sustainable, with deforestation and harmful chemicals being common practices in the industry. That's why Boody's approach to using bamboo as a renewable source for their viscose clothing is so exciting.
The process of turning bamboo into fabric is more or less the same as when wood is used as a source of cellulose: Once harvested, the raw bamboo stems are cut into small pieces and soaked in a solvent to break them down into a pulp. The pulp is then dehydrated to remove excess water and pressed into flat sheets. These sheets are then ground into a soft fabric, which is extruded and spun into a viscose yarn that is used to knit the garments.
However, choosing fast-growing bamboo as a main material is by far not the only step that Boody is taking to make the whole manufacturing process more sustainable. They take us along the journey from field to wardrobe and show that they mean it when they say
We know it’s impossible to be 100% sustainable, but recognize that everything we do is considered and mindful - for our makers, for you and for the planet.
From the Boody website
Improving every Step
“See, it's your move, what you gonna do?”
Have you ever considered all the individual steps in the complex production of the things we take for granted? Looking at Boody trying to improve every aspect of their production is an eye-opener. Let’s follow along:
Boody sources their bamboo from the rainy Sichuan province of China, where it grows without the need for fertilizers, pesticides, or irrigation - relying solely on rainwater. The plantations don’t only meet international organic standards but are also FSC-certified. This means that they are sustainably managed, but also that no habitat was destroyed.
And if your first association with a bamboo forest looks like mine – a panda munching away happily – there is a message for your peace of mind right there on Boody’s homepage:
…the bamboo used to produce our fabrics is not the same bamboo that pandas eat. Meaning no pandas have gone hungry in the creation of our clothing!
The next step after harvesting is the closed-loop system for pulp production, which ensures that waste is minimized, and the environment is protected. Boody uses an organic solvent to soak the chucks of bamboo, which is much safer and less harmful than traditional methods.
The extrusion process, which turns bamboo pulp into yarn, is often the most harmful and polluting step in producing viscose. However, Boody's process is also closed-loop, meaning that the environment is protected from pollution.
As a certified B Corp, working only with production partners that meet the highest standards for both worker's rights and environmental protection, Boody makes a real difference in the sourcing and manufacturing communities in China, Vietnam, and India.
The tube-knitting method used to make Boody's garments not only allows for comfortable seamless designs but also produces much less waste than traditional cut-and-sew approaches. Active water, waste, and energy management in the factories as laid out in Boody’s code of conduct are the cherry on top of the cake.
All this happens before the consumer comes into the picture, but we’re almost there. Once you buy a piece of Boody clothing, the garments are shipped in plastic-free packaging, usually just cardboard and paper printed with plant-based inks. When a bag is needed, it's biodegradable and made from corn starch.
Boody designs their clothes with longevity in mind, so the next step, “enjoy wearing them” is meant to be repeated over and over. But when you no longer need your Boody’s, their partnership with "Retold" ensures that you can send them in to be donated, upcycled, or recycled. And yes, that even goes for your old undies.
Benefits of Bamboo Clothes
”Don’t fight the feeling. Give yourself a chance“
Wearing clothes that are made sustainably and ethically is a great feeling, but Boody takes it a step further by making sure your body feels great too. Bamboo viscose is known for being incredibly soft and comfortable, making it ideal for clothing that you wear close to your skin. The seamless designs allow for less waste in the production process and make the underwear fit like a second skin. Additionally, bamboo viscose is naturally hypoallergenic, making it perfect for people with sensitive skin or allergies.
Bamboo fabric is also naturally moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. Not only does that make it perfect for activewear – transporting sweat away from the body to dry without a trace of smell, but it also means that it will keep you dry and cool even on the hottest days.
Isn’t it great when contributing to a more eco-conscious fashion world also allows you to pamper yourself?
”Oh, you can, you can do it very well“
There are two ways companies can make a difference: by examining their entire process, from the supply chain to the product's end of life, to reduce their impact on people and the environment, and by contributing to worthy causes. While simply donating money is rightly seen as greenwashing, I love to see a company with a genuine commitment go the extra mile.
Boody is a great example of both ways. Apart from doing good by doing business, they also support climate action through their contributions to 1% for the Planet and donate to local charities and international non-profits.
One organization that Boody supports is Goodbye Malaria, which aims to eliminate malaria in South Africa. Although their "Giving Bracelet" is currently sold out, purchasing one in the future means that the full price will contribute to funding the life-saving fight against malaria.
One example of support to local communities is the donation of clothes to Bridge of Hope in San Diego, where Boody’s US headquarters is located. Bridge of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families during transitions, such as overcoming homelessness, escaping domestic violence, or defeating a drug addiction.
So if you're looking for comfortable bamboo viscose basics to add to your wardrobe, consider supporting Boody's commitment to sustainability, fairness, and style. You might find yourself dancing to a different tune, one where you can make a positive impact on the planet and the people on it.
Jennifer Scales is a photo artist and train travel enthusiast. When she is not vetting companies for askBelynda, she spreads her love for sustainable travel by capturing the beauty of nature seen through the train window.