The Most Expensive Fabrics In The World
It comes as no surprise that the best fabrics demand a higher price tag. In fact, the fabric itself is typically the most expensive component of furniture and clothing.
Quality fabrics can easily cost in the hundreds of dollars per yard, and sometimes even in the thousands of dollars per yard. When it comes to fabric, you get what you pay for. The more expensive fabrics are softer, finer, rarer, and have a gorgeous appearance.
The most expensive fabric in the world is wool. Wool is responsible for elegant fabrics such as cashmere and merino.
Wool is one of the best insulating fabrics that mother nature has given us and this is what makes it a great material for clothing. Not only does wool do a tremendous job keeping us warm, but it dries faster than cotton and wicks moisture. Wool is also naturally odor resistant, which is a nice bonus — especially for clothing or upholstery.
Wool is mostly known as a product from sheep, but wool can come from several other animals as well. Camels, Alpaca and Angora rabbits all produce high quality wool-like fibers.
The most expensive wool comes from the Vicuña, a wild South American camelid that lives high in the alpine areas of the Andes. The vicuña is a relative of the llama and is thought to be a wild ancestor of the alpaca
Vicuña wool is incredibly warm and exceptionally soft. Vicuña wool sells from about $1,800/yard to about $5,500/yard. A scarf made from vicuña wool could cost you $20,000!
Silk is a natural protein fiber, produced by the cocoons of the silkworm. Silk is known for being among the finest and softest fabrics in the world. It is also one of the most expensive fabrics in the world.
The shimmering appearance that silk is famous for is due to the prism-like structure of the silk fiber, which causes silk fabric to refract incoming light at different angles and produce different colors.
The most desired silks include: Mulberry silk, Spider silk, Muga silk, Charmeuse silk, and velvet.
The most expensive silk is Mulberry silk, which is obtained from the cocoon of the Mullberry silkworm. These silkworms are raised in captivity with perfect environmental conditions to raise the healthiest silkworms and produce the highest quality silk. One yard of silk requires about 3,000 cocoons.
Linen is another expensive fabric, characterized by exceptional coolness and freshness in warmer weather. Linen derives from the flax plant and is a very absorbent fiber. Linen is light in weight, dries easily and is moth-resistant.
Linen is often used to make aprons, towels, bags, bed sheets, tablecloths, napkins, chair covers, and clothing. Linen textiles are among the oldest in the world and were actually sometimes used as currency in ancient Egypt.
The quality of the linen fabric is determined by the flax plant itself, the growing conditions, and the harvesting techniques used. To get the longest fibers, flax must be hand-harvested by either pulling up the entire plant or cutting very close to the root. Then the seeds are removed during a mechanical process known as “rippling” or by winnowing.
Due to the labor-intensive process of producing linen fabric, quality linens are among the most expensive fabrics in the world.
Fur is the oldest fabric to be worn as clothing. To this day, fur clothes are considered among the most luxurious fabrics in the world. Aside from apparel, fur is also a popular fabric for home decor and accessories.
Furs used for clothing are sourced from: mink, beaver, rabbit, fox, otter, chinchilla, coyote, seal, raccoon, and possum. The importing and sale of animal furs has been a controversial trade for years, thus increasing the price of these already expensive fabrics.
Mink is one of the most popular furs and is commonly used for making coats. A mink coat can cost you anywhere from around $1,000 to over $10,000.
Leopard fur prints are popular for home decor and are among the most expensive fur fabrics. These fabrics range widely in price from $300/yard to $3,000/yard.
About the author: Kyle Stout is a freelance writer out of Dallas, TX. He has had luck finding expensive fabrics for much cheaper at iLuvFabrix, including Scalamandre fabrics at $450/yard that usually retail for $1,200/yard.