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Bamboo is a type of grass and one of the fastest growing crops in the world. It thrives naturally on sunlight and rainwater and even after harvesting sprouts more new shoots each year. It requires much less water than cotton, with 10x the yield per acre. It is also incredibly good at absorbing carbon out of the atmosphere and turning it into oxygen.
As bamboo often grows in impoverished areas of the third world, we believe there lies an opportunity to help. The expansion of the bamboo industry could provide jobs and opportunities for people in these regions, improving the local economy while harvesting a sustainable and eco-friendly resource.
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So how is bamboo turned into a fabric? First, the leaves and inner pith of the shoot are extracted with a steaming process and crushed into a pulp. This pulp is then treated with various chemicals to break down the natural fibres and dissolved into a viscose solution (regenerated cellulose fibre). The viscose is then forced through spinneret nozzles, spun into a yarn and then woven into a fabric.
Due to the chemicals involved in the manufacture the end product is not considered to be entirely 'green'. But compared to conventional cotton or polyester, it is a massive step in the right direction.
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The entire manufacturing process is certified and audited by the Fair Wear Foundation to ensure a fair living wage, safe working conditions and absolutely no child labour. In a world where sweatshops and cheap retailers are prevalent, this approach to manufacturing garments is essential for guiding fashion into a better future.
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All our tees are hand screen printed in Leeds using the finest water based inks available. These inks are much kinder to the environment than plastisol and produce a premium and long lasting finish that sits gently on the fabric.
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All illustrations are created by Tom Chadwick, founder of Tomoto.
With a passion for art and graphic design, Tom uses the t shirt as a canvas to explore new concepts and reinvent expectations of what fashion can be.