The durable, high-quality silk Xiangyun sha, or Xiangyun silk, originated in the Guangdong Province and is steeped in history as work clothing for fishermen. Natural plant dye and liquid extracted from local potatoes is key to a dying process that’s repeated over thirty times. The final step is smearing river mud into the material, which is particular to the craft. This summer silk is gaining popularity in the fashion world. In the early 20th century, Xiangyun Silk became a favorite luxury export item. However, at one point, the Xiangyun Silk process was almost lost as fewer people made it. Recently, though, its popularity has been rekindled since it was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The silk is touted as wearable gold and enjoys a new life, and its price has skyrocketed. Even the specialty brand designer, Kathrin von Rechenberg, has opened a shop selling the silk in Beijing. All over the world, Xiangyun Silk is developing a reputation for high quality.
Text by Junko Harada