Inclusive and Sensory-Friendly Bamboo
Over the past few months Louna has been busy exhibiting at some fantastic markets and it has brought us so much joy to engage directly with you all. The feedback has been amazing, and we just love watching each of you fall in love with the softness of our bamboo fabrics! We constantly rave about bamboo’s impressive qualities, but it turns out there is another valuable quality even we didn’t know about!
Recently we had a customer feel some of the clothing (no one can resist!) and comment on how soft it was. When we told her it was made from bamboo, she said ‘ah, of course! My neurodivergent daughter would probably be able to wear this - bamboo is one of the fabrics that is particularly sensory-friendly.’
We were amazed - we thought we knew everything about bamboo there was to know! We immediately started doing some research. To our surprise, we found there are numerous online communities dedicated to assisting those, or families of those, with sensory-sensitivities and choosing fabrics. How had we never heard of this before?!
For those who may not be aware, the term “neurodivergent” describes people whose brain differences affect how their brain works, so they have different strengths and challenges from people whose brains do not have those differences – also known as the neurotypical. Neurodiversity typically includes those with ADHD, dyslexia and autism-spectrum disorders, but there are many others that it covers as well.
It is likely we have all had a moment where we have shuddered at the feeling of certain clothing or a type of fabric on our body. Feeling comfort from the clothing you wear is something that we all enjoy, however for some this feeling is of the utmost importance. Many neurodivergent individuals experience sensory processing difficulties, in which their brains may react negatively to certain sensory stimuli, including sound, touch, taste, and of course, feel. It has been described as a ‘traffic jam in your head’ with overwhelming and conflicting signals all at once.
Sensory issues with clothing can extend beyond the fabric itself, to seams and tags, colours and patterns. To both neurodivergent and neurotypical, the decision to purchase clothing can begin with the touch and feel of the fabric. Tips of the finger are enough to feel the softness, temperature (does it feel hot or cool to the touch), thickness, smoothness, transparency, elasticity, wrinkle behaviour, and bending rigidity. We can attest to this - nearly every single person who stopped by our market stall were drawn in to grab a handful of our display clothing.
There are a few sensorial discomforts with fabric that can be vividly identified, like whether the fabric feels scratchy or synthetic. Rough textures can be overstimulating, while soft, smooth textures can be comforting. Natural fibers are one of the most reliable sources of sensory-friendly fabrics due to their tendency to be softer.
Bamboo in particular is one of the softest, smoothest, fabrics available. It is also extremely breathable, with better ventilation and moisture absorption than cotton and is well known for its temperature regulation – it keeps wearers warmer in the cold and cooler in the heat.
Sensory difficulties are unique to everyone, but more attention is being given in the community to creating spaces and products that are aimed at preventing neurodivergent individuals from becoming overwhelmed. In our research we came across other businesses that created products with bamboo fabric specifically for their loved ones experiencing sensory difficulties. There are also websites dedicated to designing workspaces that support neurodivergent employees to feel comfortable, or how businesses can make small adjustments to existing workplaces. These changes include lighting choices and position, the fabric on chairs cushions, and ensuring quiet areas away from bathrooms or bins. When spaces and products are designed inclusively, everyone can benefit, no matter their neurotype.
We are incredibly proud of our products here at Louna, especially that they are made with bamboo. Its softness, breathability and temperature regulating properties were just a few of the reasons we wanted to use it. We admit, being aware of sensory difficulties around clothing is a new area for us and we are pleased that the use of bamboo as our primary fabric could bring additional comfort to those who struggle to find it in other materials. Our learning is just beginning in this space, but we invite anyone to start a conversation with us – we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at: email@example.com