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Bamboo Clothing with a Caribbean Flair

by Elke Erschfeld

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Looking for souvenirs in the old town of San Juan, Puerto Rico, I noticed the store Cariloha a few weeks ago. It caught my attention, since it exclusively carries clothing, bedding, fitness wear and bath goods made out of bamboo. The store had many educational displays about the eco-friendly and soft properties of bamboo, like a chart that illustrated the rapid growth of the bamboo plant over the course of one day. According to the display, some species of bamboo, at maturity, will grow up to four feet every day. The display looked like a child’s growth chart, and visualized the progress after every four hours, which is incredible to see.

Upon my return to New York, I started doing some research on Cariloha and realized that the Caribbean-inspired brand was specifically designed with vacationers in mind. Bamboo is three degrees cooler than cotton, wicks moisture away from your body, and is naturally odor-resistant and hypoallergenic, which makes the eco-friendly material perfect for travel and workouts. From the new collection, I like the Bamboo Racerback Cross Tanks in persimmon and white that are part of Cariloha’s fitness wear. They are made of 55 percent organic cotton, 40 percent bamboo viscose, and 5 percent elastane. As a souvenir, the Bamboo V-neck Tee made with 70 percent bamboo viscose and 30 percent organic cotton is fun with its retro hula girl graphic. For a more timeless piece, check out the Genesis Dress in Black/Grey that’s accented with hibiscus flowers and made with 66 percent bamboo viscose, 28 percent cotton and 6 percent spandex.

Bamboo has always been one of my favorite materials because of its soft and eco-friendly properties. The rapidly renewable resource requires no pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides, and not much water during the growing process. Bamboo releases 35 percent more oxygen into the air than an equivalent amount of trees. It prevents soil erosion since its roots remain in place after harvesting and basically adds nutrients back into the soil instead of depleting it. So, if you should find yourself in the Caribbean any time soon, or if you’re just dreaming about going on a trip, check out one of Cariloha’s stores. It’s a cool experience to see an entire store designed around bamboo. You might be surprised how soft and versatile it is.

Connect with Elke @eco_chic_design

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