Losgeloest: Let the Tree Hug You


It was late last year when we brought bark cloth to your attention. Now the stuff has gone an won yet another award. Yep, one those ISPO sports awards we noted last week for the Waldmeister laminated timber bicycle. The fleece garments look like highly texturised versions of the same thing that is normally made from petroleum. But the bark in the cosy garments by Losgeloest of Frieburg, Germany, comes from forests in the Uganda, Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. How a tree renders up a textile is not dissimilar to how cork is repeatedly harvested from the same tree. In this case it's the wild Mutuba fig (Ficus natalensis). Once the bark layer is removed in a centuries old process, the 50 to 150 year old trees are protected from drying out by being wrapped in banana leaves, so that within a couple of years new bark is growing. Meanwhile the stripped bark is pounded with wooden pestles of varying coarseness until the desired thickness is obtained. "This labour-intensive process produces an ever-larger, softer, thinner and darker cloth." Apparently the yearly yield from these trees is about 20,000 square metres (~24,000 square yards.) ::Losgeloest

Related Content on Treehugger.com