Interesting ecological alternative to actual use of natural fibers such as cotton, nettle is used for producing yarns and fabrics starting from the fibers of the Stinging nettle’s species (Urtica dioica) the use of which dates back to ancient times in the history. The name URTICA, as used in Europe, comes from the Latin word “Uro” which means burning.
Already during the First and Second World War the nettle was used as a substitute for cotton, because this one had become unavailable, but its most important use dates back to the late eighteenth century: thousands of uniforms of Napoleon’s army were woven from nettle.
The fabrics made with nettle fibers are a useful alternative to the use of other natural fibers such as hemp, linen and cotton, and will play an increasingly important role in the years to come. The nettle fibers have a special feature: thanks to their hollow structure, air can accumulate in them so letting them to become natural thermal insulators. The existing problems in the agricultural sector such as over-production in dairies, the over-fertilization of the soil, the prevalence of monocultures and the lack of financial opportunities underscore the need for alternative cultures. The stinging nettle is a perennial plant that thrives in highly nitrogenous and fertilized soils, making it a viable solution that could create a new scene in Central Europe. Nettles are resistant to diseases and pests (being themselves a weed), so they do not need harmful chemical treatments and, growing undisturbed, can also host more than 40 species of insects, some of which (such as the Red Admiral and the larva of Small Turtle Shell) are entirely dependent on this plant for their survival.