Looking East - fully immersed in the universe of Silk

First image, source We are Kal. Second image, source unknown.

First image, source We are Kal. Second image, source unknown.

For our second collection we are investigating the many faces of one of nature’s most exclusive natural materials, silk. Silk is a luxurious, beautiful and versatile material, and therefore a perfect fit for Carcel. Working with baby alpaca wool in Peru has taught us a bunch about the vivid existence of natural materials, and how they really come alive and stay alive long after the production phase is over. This fascinating ongoing relationship between a living material and the one who wears it it something we cherish and take with us in our design approach to silk.


Silk is an ancient, sophisticated material made out of natural fibers from the cocoons of different silk larvae. It has been refined and optimized in its quality and production over ages and is traditionally produced in countries such as China, India and Thailand. As with alpaca wool, many different types of quality and finishes exist under the material-umbrella that ‘silk’ covers, such as: Charmeuse, Chiffon, Habutai and Raw silk. Production methods of how the fiber is being treated and spun, as well as the technical textile construction, all have a say in how the fiber behaves and looks. When you say the word silk, most people may directly think off a very light and smooth type of fabric. But silk can also be stiffer in it’s construction, suitable for a more structured design. Chiffon for example is a very light, flowy and sheer silk fabric whereas raw silk fabric is more unrefined and coarse.

Sample swatch of Eri silk from the silkworm Philosamia ricini. Image courtesy seidentraum.

Sample swatch of Eri silk from the silkworm Philosamia ricini. Image courtesy seidentraum.

When we source new materials we must take many different variables into consideration, such as, production opportunities, design choices and the fabrics’ different properties. At Carcel we zoom in on the soft spot where the optimal design meet the best possible use of the sometimes challenging production options inside a women’s prison. We do this in order to get the best design result and at the same time, save resources and use what is already available of know-how, machinery and local inspiration.

Hellessy, Céline& The Row.

Hellessy, Céline& The Row.

We always aim to create modern pieces - working around classics, letting delicate details carry the design. At the moment, three pieces are in development and both Thailand and India are in play. We are looking to create extraordinary everyday classics, that feels comfortable and effortless. We are in the process of finding shape and silhouette. With this specific collection we focus on a feminine and flowy look, without compromising on structure and coolness. The details will depend on the fabric we end up choosing for the silk collection. We like to let the material speak and embrace the character and weight of the specific quality.

Diving deeper into the world of silk has made us genuinely appreciate the craftsmanship and delicate procedures that are needed in order to produce this ancient and beautiful material. There are many phases before we get to a final result, the most important one is deciding on the next country of production. We will make sure to let you in on the following steps of our silk journey.

Veronica DSouza