Fabric Stories: Embracing Ramie In Our Collections

Discover our soft and breathable new natural fabric made from a plant in the nettle family.

At Seasalt, we are constantly exploring new textures and qualities of cloth to make each new collection not only different and beautiful to wear, but more sustainable too. We’re fans of natural fabrics and, like linen which is a favourite of ours, ramie lends itself to uncomplicated, easy-fitting styles.

Seasalt ramie blend tunic

Seasalt’s ramie-cotton blend Porthmeor Cove Tunic on location on the Isles of Scilly

Ramie is a natural plant-derived fabric

It is made from a perennial in the nettle family, Boehmeria nivea, which doesn’t need a lot of water or pesticides to thrive. Native to Asia and more commonly used for making fabric in countries like Japan, India and China, the yarns have been used for over 6,000 years. A folk tale describing a princess whose brothers have been turned into swans tells how the spell can be broken if she weaves them shirts from nettles. It sounds like a prickly, impossible task but in fact, the ramie plant doesn’t sting like our British nettles.

Similar to Linen, ramie is a bast fibre, which means the filaments used to make yarn come from the inner bark of plant stems. It is one of the strongest natural fibres often used for heavy duty sewing threads, fishing nets and packing materials as well as upholstery and paper making.

We like to blend ramie with cotton

This helps make the clothes breathable, absorbent and softer to the touch. They are also garment-dyed, which means they are made first then dyed as a finished piece. This gives a characteristic washed and worn-in colour with nuanced tones, rather than the flat colour of a style created from pre-dyed fabric. These pieces will soften with age, getting better the more you wear them.

Ramie doesn’t shrink, and slubs in the yarn give the weave a distinctive cross-hatch texture, great for elevating the look of your outfit while keeping the simplicity of a plain block of colour. Clothes made from our ramie-blend are also more resistant to creasing than pure linen so it’s perfect for holiday packing.

Seasalt ramie-cotton culottes trousers

Seasalt ramie-cotton Breaking Waves Culottes