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All you need to know

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The non-profit association Vesti la natura provides several free guides specially created to promote the use of low environmental impact materials among consumers and entrepreneurs

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Content index

What is Ramiè?

Ramie (or ramia) is a natural fiber of vegetable origin derived from the horticultural plants Boehmeria nivea and Boehmeria utilis.

It is a decidedly sustainable textile fiber at a production level, but its complex processing makes the use of ramie very rare in fashion, where its use is often confined to small niche artisan / tailoring realities.

Il ramie fabric it is almost always mixed with others natural fibers, especially with cotton and wool, as they are not very resistant and elastic.

When is fashion sustainable?

How to recognize it?

Where to buy it?

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The ramie plant

The horticultural plants from which the ramie they are called Boehmeria nivea and Boehmeria utilis, and both are horticultural plants that do not have horticultural hairs and are therefore defined as "false nettle". They are also used as ornamental plants for the home,

Their fiber yield is relatively high as they can be harvested up to 6 times a year and the plant lives up to 20 years.

These plants grow to heights of around one and a half meters and the main producers are China, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, India, Korea, Thailand and Brazil. Their ideal terrain is the woods.

They are very ancient plants, in fact some Egyptian mummy dresses dating back to 5000 BC were made in ramie fabric.

One of the most positive aspects of this crop is that nothing is wasted on the horticultural plants, with which it is possible to do other things besides the ramie fiber used in clothing: especially paper, folk medicine, and food (they are edible if cooked), fishing nets, canvases, upholstery fabrics, etc.

The cultivation of these horticultural plants is decidedly sustainable: they are autonomous plants and do not require particular interventions by man, especially in terms of chemicals and resources such as water.

Ramiè textile fiber

La ramie fiber is a natural fiber 100% biodegradable which has a very fine texture, comparable to silk.

La ramie fiber is known for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkles and add shine to fabric. In absorbency, density and appearance under the microscope, it is similar to the linen and like linen (unlike cotton) the dyeing of ramie is not at all simple (its natural color is white).

Il ramie it is among the least resistant natural fibers, so it is often blended with other natural fibers such as cotton or wool. Ramie fiber is stiff and brittle, breaks when bent repeatedly in the same place, lacks resilience, has low elasticity and elongation potential.

This makes the ramie difficult to work: lat the spinning of the ramie fiber it is made difficult by its fragility and low elasticity. 

The extraction and cleaning of ramie fibers they are expensive, mainly due to the numerous steps that involve scraping, hammering, heating, washing and exposure to chemicals.

Ramie fabric

La ramie weaving it is made difficult by the hairy surface of the yarn, caused by the lack of cohesion between the fibers.

After the extraction of the textile fiber and the transformation into yarn, the ramie fabric. It is rare to find 100% ramie fabrics, since this fiber if left alone does not have great properties: the ramie fabrics that you will find on the market will mostly be blended with other natural fibers like cotton and wool.

It is common practice to create the ramie fabric blended with cotton to make woven and knitted fabrics reminiscent of linen.

Characteristics of the Ramie

Fabric Quality:

The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.

  Does not shrink / discolor
  Quick drying

Ecological Characteristics:

The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.

  Natural - Artificial - Synthetic  
  No GMOs
  Natural raw material
  Recycled raw material
  Mechanical extraction
  Chemical extraction
  Energy saving
  Sustainability class  

Textile Certifications:

The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.

Global Organic Textile Standard
Organic Content Standard
Global Recycle Standard
Second Life Plastic
Animal Free
Fair Wear Foundation

This card can only be found on www.vestilanatura.it

Clothing in Ramiè

Although rare, theramie clothing is aimed at women who are looking for something nuoI go into their clothing. Buy ramie clothing it is not for everyone, not so much for the cost (which in any case is higher than other natural fibers), but above all for the difficulty in finding it.

Some sartorial realities of slow fashion they use it, but always mixed with other ecological fabrics: Bamboo, organic cotton, linen and the like. It is therefore complex to judge the ramie fabric when mixed with others textile fibers, but we like it for being so rare.

Buy products in Ramiè

A showcase where you can find Sustainable, ethical and cruelty free fashion brands guaranteed by the supervision of our association:

Illustration of a green dress

Ramie and allergies

For those suffering from allergies or particular skin diseases, we often recommend wearing undyed natural fabrics, possibly with certifications such as Oeko-Tex or how cotton Global Organic Textile Standard.

In this case we do not recommend using it, simply because we believe that most of the ramie on the market is extracted in a chemical and not mechanical way. This means that toxic substances may be present inside the fiber (the main cause of allergic reactions in contact with the skin).

Ramie and sweat

Il ramie is a fiber derived from cellulose and as such its breathability characteristics vary greatly according to the type of processing of the fabric, as well as according to its blending with other fibers. All that remains is to try it to find out if it is suitable for sweating problems, but we believe that it is not among those fabrics that make the difference.

Ramie vs flax

The two fibers are very similar, both in organic composition and in external appearance. In terms of sustainability, probably the ramie is a hair above.

Ramie vs cotton

Cotton e ramie they offer different characteristics, but you will almost always find them in a mixed cotton / ramie fabric. Ramie is definitely more sustainable than cotton from every point of view.

Ramie vs hemp

On an aesthetic level the ramie it is brighter, softer and more pleasant to the touch. The comfort of the ramie is superior to that of the hemp, especially in contact with the skin. But in terms of sustainability, hemp is one of the most ecological materials in the world.

Maintenance of ecological fabrics

How do you wash the Ramie?

The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using ecological detergents.

Fabrics made with this material are light, highly breathable, dry in a short time and, above all, hardly produce creases, lending themselves very well to the production of "no-iron" garments, which save time and effort.

As for washing, ramie garments can be easily washed either by hand or in the washing machine. The golden rule of observing the label also applies to ramie, as it is the most effective way to check if the garments require separate washing or special treatments.


If you are preparing to wash by hand, you need to fill a basin with warm water and a little ecological liquid detergent, preferably for delicates. After leaving the clothes to soak for about a quarter of an hour, rinse under cold running water, wring lightly and hang out in the open air or on the drying rack, according to your needs.

Machine wash

For washing in the washing machine it is advisable to choose a program for delicate garments, preferably not higher than 30 degrees, add a little delicate liquid detergent, a teaspoon of bicarbonate and start the cycle, avoiding spinning to the end: ideal it would be to squeeze the garments slightly, to avoid deformation during drying.

Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?

  1. We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
  2. You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
  3. You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg


Do you want more information on Ramiè? Ask your questions using the form below.

Ask Your Question!

Our answers:

Where can I buy ramie fabric?

Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.

Is there an organic ramie fabric?

Ramie fiber does not need certification of biological origin as it is extracted from horticultural plants that do not require any human intervention for growth (no pesticides, herbicides, etc.)

However, its processing requires chemical processes, so to be sure to buy ecological ramie the ideal choice falls on the Oeko-Tex certification.

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