The big debate! Which is softer, more sustainable and better to wear? We break down the pros and cons of both and make it easy for you to decide which is best for you.
Is it natural or man-made? Technology has made it much easier for us to manufacture our own materials, including fabrics. Polyester is one of the results of man’s ingenuity in the textile industry. Similarly, satin is made from synthetic fibres. Due to this, it tends not to breathe so easily as natural silk but it can still replicate the feel. Silk, on the other hand, is protein spun from silkworms on mulberry trees. This makes silk a natural fibre – the strongest and smoothest known to man.
Touch of Feeling
When you feel a polyester satin fabric, it has a distinctly slippery feel under your fingertips. But while it is slippery, it isn’t necessarily soft. Pure silk fabric – because it is made from a natural protein – provides both a smooth and soft feel that man-made textiles just have not been able to replicate.
Silk reduces friction on our skin so there is comparatively less chafing, dryness, and redness when our bodies come in contact with it. And since pure silk is made from natural silk fibres, the protein filaments make it hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin.
One of the key benefits that Silk has over Satin, is its ability to regulate temperature. While neither is a particularly heavy fabric, polyester satin weaves don’t adapt to environments the way silk does. Silk is a naturally temperature-regulating fabric that makes it breathable so it’s never too hot or too cold in any situation. Making it perfect to sleep in no matter the weather.
Polyester is synthetic and therefore easier to produce in large quantities. As long as the right steps in production processes are followed, polyester satin can be manufactured and more easily incorporated into daily products, making this fabric inexpensive and cheaper to buy.
Silk, however, requires careful nurturing of silkworms and handling of the natural fibres. Silk production can be very labour intensive and therefore it isn’t as easy to manufacture pure silk and have it woven into charmeuse fabric. This makes pure silk a luxury product and more expensive than satin.
Depending on what you use the fabric for, it’s important to consider what it can do for you and how much you’re willing to spend on it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your needs as a shopper.
Wear history on your sleeve! Silk has its roots in ancient China of 6000 BC whereas satin was first synthesized in the Middle Ages.
The Chinese emperors used silk for only themselves but eventually, its commercial potential could not be ignored. So after establishing itself as a remarkable and luxurious fabric in China, silk slowly spread around the world and became a great trade for many importers and exporters. Hence, the famous trade route called the ‘Silk Road’ came into being.
Later silk was used to produce satin which was mainly used by affluent people because of its costly production. Consequently, the Arab world and Europe started to mass-produce satin to ensure it became widespread, which lead to the rise of satin. Without the creation of silk fabric, satin never would have come into being.
Between the two fabric options, satin is more difficult to wash since it can stretch or shrink easily when in contact with hot water. In comparison, silk has a better resistance against hot water because its fibre strength is higher.
Nevertheless, it is better to hand-wash the products made from either of these fibres with cold water. But remember to keep the wringing to a minimum so that the texture remains unharmed. Silk is a fine goods product and like all fine goods, the best care will allow these pieces to last for years in wonderful condition.
GINIA has recently released a new collection called "washable silk" which has made machine washing silk even easier. You can retain that beautiful lush feeling with the convenience of machine washing.
Good for Draping
Even though one surface of the satin fabric dons a shiny slippery look, the other side is dull. This gives you one of the rare options to make a draped decoration without sacrificing the glamour. Its lightweight structure of alternating textures is very convenient for preparing those drapes, creating an interesting and more compelling effect.
So what's it going to be - Silk or Satin?
While both the fabrics of satin and silk offer similar benefits, silk seems to be the ultimate winner. It offers luxury, health and beauty benefits as well as being a more durable and longer-lasting product.
Satin makes for some great competition but it's true in saying you pay for quality when it comes to silk.