Welcome to The Silk Road!
Search the Silk Road for everything from Silk Damask to Silk Taffeta. Something for every seamstress and fine tailor exists along The Silk Road.
From it’s beginning in China, Silk was labeled a luxury item. Yet Silk was common enough to be used as payment on the trade routes. While Silk was a trade good, its construction and production was very tightly controlled. Ultimately, smuggling the cocoons or even Mulberry cuttings from China was an instant death sentence. Due to this control, China grew very rich trading on her exclusive luxury good. So from China, to Persia, to Rome, the Silk Road ran it’s long winding course.
In the 5th century C.E., the Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire, finally managed to break the monopoly. Justinian commissioned two monks to discover the secrets of silk. And they were successful. They managed to smuggle a single Mulberry branch with just a handful of precious silk cocoons out of China, hidden in a walking staff.
From there, silk spread like wildfire, and was widely traded through Persia, eastern Europe, and in to Northern Europe. Then, in the 11th Century, crusaders began returning from Jerusalem by way of Damascus Syria. While in Damascus, the Crusader’s discovered a new silk weave. Damask Weave used a combination of plain and satin weaves to create monochrome designs. Silk Damask became a sought after luxury item. Silk Damask became the must have fashion fabric for European nobles, catapulting Silk in to favor with Western European Nobility.
When Byzantium fell in 1453, the silk weavers and traders fled the Ottoman hoard to Venice, Italy, and Lyon, France. The Italians hold a very strong silk weaving community even to today. But the silk weavers who settled in Lyon France eventually adopted a new protestant religion. Huguenots were heavily persecuted in Catholic France. This led the master Silk weavers of Lyon to emigrate again, settling in the Spitalfields district of London, England. The Spitalfield’s Silk Weavers were supreme masters for 100 years. Until a Frenchman, Joseph Marie Jacquard, invented a new loom. This advancement led to the demise of Spitalfield’s. The new technology allowed the French to produce silk at twice the rate of the English master’s!
Silk is now a globally manufactured and traded fabric. Yet most seamstresses and home Couturier’s are scared to work with Silk. Silk is NOT Scary! The Japanese used it as messenger capes, catching and deflecting arrows. The military used it for parachutes up until World War II. Silk washes easily at home. Ignore the Dry Clean Only label! It’s neither dry, nor good for Silk, utilizing chemicals which can strip Silk of it’s natural luster. And Damask Raven is dedicated to showing how easy silk is to maintain, clean, and work with. Most of all, silk is beautiful. Silk is lustrous, soft, and drapes beautifully.
Damask Raven specializes in locating replications and in recreating these historical silk fabrics for fashionable ladies and gentlemen to attire themselves in. From the Society for Creative Anachronism to Steampunk; Renaissance Faires to Costume College; Cosplay to Rockabilly. Shop with Damask Raven, and create History in Style.