With a history as rich as its textures, silk velvet has been associated with the word “luxury” for centuries. From the dragon robes of ancient Chinese emperors to the royal garbs of Medieval European kings, silk velvet was a status symbol reserved only for the ruling class and nobility.
Though silk velvet has lost much of its exclusivity nowadays, it’s still a high-end fabric used for clothing, upholstery, furniture, and bedding. Considering silk velvet’s prominence in today’s fashion and textile industries, it’s safe to say that it has stood the test of time and is regarded as a timeless luxury fabric.
In this article, we’ll tackle a bit of everything about silk velvet—its history, how it’s made, and finally, why faux silk velvet is better than natural silk velvet.
But first, let’s answer: what is silk velvet?
What is Silk Velvet Fabric?
Silk velvet is a type of velvet fabric famous for its lustrous shimmer, elegant drape, and luxuriously soft hand feel. There are many different velvet types, but the most luxurious—and most *expensive—*of all is silk velvet.
Most modern-day silk velvet is made from artificial silk or faux silk fabric. But in the past, velvet was almost exclusively made with silk, which made it precious and expensive. Furthermore, there weren't many fabrics back then that could match silk velvet's opulent look and feel. These made it a prime choice for fashion and home furnishings.
Because of its form-fitting qualities and glamorous shimmer, silk velvet is more closely associated with women’s clothing, but there’s also a fairly large market for silk velvet menswear. It’s often used in formal wear, specifically for evening gowns or tailored suits, and even intimate clothing like lingerie.
Furniture upholstered with silk velvet also never fails to add a luxurious tone to any home. Because of its irresistible softness and velvety smooth feel, it’s no surprise that it’s also used to make bedding. It’s also a popular choice for throws and blankets since silk velvet is excellent at retaining warmth, making it a perfect insulation layer for chilly nights. There are many ways to utilize silk velvet fabric to elevate your home, from a simple silk velvet pillow to elegant trailing silk velvet curtains.
How is Silk Velvet Made?
According to historians, silk velvet was first introduced to the world in the 14th century in East Asia and traveled its way into Europe via the Silk Road. During the Renaissance, draw loom technology improved, and so did silk velvet production.
These days, silk velvet is woven with machine looms. With a special type of loom, two layers of fabric are simultaneously woven together to produce a dense pile. The layers are then separated, which results in the vertically protruding fibers that make the signature velvet texture.
But even though silk velvet can now be produced faster and is made more accessible, it’s still considered an expensive fabric. To satisfy the ever-growing demand for silk velvet, many more affordable and sustainable alternatives have popped up in recent years—and the most popular one is faux silk velvet.
Why We Use Faux Silk Velvet
Because it's easier to produce, faux silk velvet has become a cost-effective replacement for real silk velvet for many manufacturers. Aside from economic reasons, faux silk velvet provides a long list of pros over real silk velvet. Here are just a few:
1. More affordable
There’s no need for months-long production timelines and high overhead expenses for faux silk velvet. Modern-day machinery makes it possible for a higher quantity of faux silk velvet fabric to be produced daily. This results in a lower cost, making faux silk velvet more accessible.
A roll of silk velvet fabric can set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The same amount of faux silk velvet will cost half of that, translating to lower costs for products made from faux silk velvet.
2. Free of animal cruelty and less wasteful
Unsurprisingly, the method of killing pupae by boiling them alive has raised many ethical discussions on whether silk production should still be continued today or banned altogether. Even if the pupae are left to hatch on their own, most domesticated silk moths don’t live very long because of the harmful selective breeding process usually employed in the industry.
Aside from that, sericulture uses a high amount of energy and high volumes of water during the preparation process. And since silk is made from natural fibers, it has to be treated with various chemicals, some toxic, to clean and keep it from naturally degrading.
3. Easier to care for
Silk velvet is very delicate and requires a lot of upkeep to maintain its sumptuous textures. Dry cleaning done by a professional is the best yet most costly method. Although there exists some silk velvet fabric that is “machine-washable,” it still needs utmost care since the threads can easily chafe when it is wet. Generally not suitable in a home setting where bedding needs to be cleaned regularly.
On the other hand, faux silk velvet is much more durable and stands up better to gentle machine washing, saving both time and money on maintenance.
4. Doesn’t fade under sunlight
If you like to let in a lot of natural light into your home, you may want to think twice about buying silk bedding and furniture. This is because silk velvet is infamous for fading easily when exposed to sunlight, becoming dull and lifeless.
Remember when we said that silk velvet should be air-dried? Well, if you don’t have a well-shaded and ventilated outdoor area for drying, you’re stuck with drying them indoors.
Fortunately, faux silk velvet isn’t as fussy. You can throw it into the dryer or hang it up outside and not worry about any fading or yellowing.
5. And perhaps most importantly, it looks and feels like real silk velvet
From the shimmer down to the drape, faux silk velvet can emulate the luxury and opulence of real silk velvet fabric without the exorbitant price tag. Although the quality can vary with different manufacturers, for our Stella Collection, we worked with many different textile suppliers before deciding on a version that looks and feels virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
To sum it up, faux silk velvet provides the luxurious feel of silk velvet at a fraction of the cost. That’s why we decided to craft the Stella Collection using this fabric.
Introducing: Stella Collection
Crafted from luxurious faux silk velvet, Stella embodies the lush opulence of a Western estate. We designed Stella for effortless mixing and matching by offering each piece in the collection in a wide range of neutrals and rich jewel tones. The Stella collection includes , , , , , , , and more. Pair products in the same color family for a sleek look, or choose coordinating colors for depth and drama. Highlight the Western aesthetic with , or soften the look with and .