Using Ramie In Bag Manufacturing – The Ultimate Guide

Regarding bags choosing the right materials is crucial for designers, manufacturers, and customers. Environmental impact and sustainability are of utmost importance. Ramie is a highly durable and robust Asian plant used for centuries. It has great potential as an enduring material for bags. Read on as this article will guide the reader on ramie’s use and potential positive impact on bag manufacturing.

Before I go any further in this article, allow me to say this – WOW!
I cover a lot about materials in fashion and bag manufacturing. When I stumbled on ramie, I went into a rabbit hole of hours of reading that led me from one article to another, one video to the next. From China, Japan, and Korea in Asia to Egypt in Africa. It’s amazing to think that a single plant could have such a rich and diverse history. And to be recognized by the UN’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in not 1 but two countries – South Korea and Japan – is truly remarkable.

What Is Ramie?

Ramie is a plant that has been given many names: white ramie, green ramie, true ramie, or China grass. The scientific name is Boehmeria niveawhich belongs to the nettle family (Urticaceae). The potential of ramie, a plant that produces fiber for fishing nets, clothing, and even food like rice cakes and dumplings, is truly remarkable. With a soft, lustrous texture, ramie can easily blend with other fabrics such as jute and hemp, making it a versatile and valuable resource.

Echigo jofu Kimono, Ramie Fabric in Korea, Korean Fabric worn in summer

Cultural Heritage

Ramie plant has played a significant historical and cultural role in East Asia, so much so that UNESCO listed it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for Japan in 2009 and South Korea in 2011.

In Korea, ramie fabric has kept Koreans cool during the hot summer months for centuries due to its lightweight and cool texture. Weaving Mosi (fine ramie) is a family tradition passed on from mothers to daughters or daughters-in-law. The art of weaving strengthens community bonds.

In Japan, jofu refers to fabrics made from plant fibers, such as hemp, linen, and ramie. Jofu fabrics are renowned for their lightweight and breathable qualities, making them ideal for hot and humid weather conditions. Kimonos made from Echigo Jofu are highly admired for their durability and aesthetic appeal. The art remains a point of cultural pride and an important tool for backing a sense of identity in the community. UNESCO has recognized Jofu fabric and Mosi (fine ramie) as Intangible Cultural Heritage due to their historical and cultural significance, traditional craftsmanship, and deep roots in Japanese and Korean culture. These fabrics have played important roles in their respective regions’ cultural and economic history, and their preservation ensures that traditional knowledge and skills continue to thrive in a modernized world.

Advantages Of Ramie Materials

Ramie is completely biodegradable, posing no threat to the environment. As a result, it is an eco-friendly choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Notably, this fiber is highly practical and versatile, finding uses in various industries such as clothing, fishing, furniture upholstery, and paper-making, so no part of this wonderful plant goes to waste. Furthermore here are some the other notable advantages of ramie.

  • Natural resistance to pests, diseases, bacteria, mildew, alkalis, and rotting
  • High tensile strength, surpassing cotton and silk, making it durable and suitable for various applications
  • Sustainable cultivation without the need for harmful agricultural chemicals
  • Fabric ages well, becoming smoother and shinier with each wash.
  • Retains shape and does not shrink, even with repeated washing and exposure to high temperatures
  • Increases in strength when wet, providing durability in various conditions

Limitations Of Using Ramie In Bag Manufacturing

While ramie fiber offers many benefits, it also has some limitations. One of the biggest challenges of ramie is extracting fiber from the plant, which requires significant labor and time. The limitations make ramie less attractive than other synthetic materials, such as neoprene and natural fabrics.

  • Low elasticity, despite high tensile strength ramie is not very flexible, and limits its utility in modern fashion. It neither shrinks nor elongates, thereby limiting its durability. This means it could break if folded repeatedly in the same direction because of its stiffness and brittleness.
  • Extracting Ramie fiber from the outer bark and gummy matter is a laborious and expensive task that may involve using chemicals. This process incurs significant environmental costs, as it requires a lot of scraping, pounding, heating, and washing.
  • The option of using harvesting machines is one of the many sources of carbon emissions in ramie farms. Mechanical decortication, spinning, and weaving also consume energy. 
B-Corp Certificate, GOTS Certificate, Jute, Ramie Plants

Ramie Production & Manufacturing Considerations

The production process for ramie bags involves cutting the woven fabric into the desired shape and size, sewing it together, and adding features such as pockets, zippers, and straps. Once the bag is complete, it undergoes inspections for quality and durability before being shipped to retailers or customers.

By incorporating ramie plants into bag manufacturing, you’re not just creating a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to synthetic materials. You’re also producing bags that are robust, enduring, and capable of withstanding the rigors of everyday use. This manufacturing approach is a testament to a commitment to the environment. It presents a golden opportunity to introduce a natural and endurable material into the fashion industry.

Ramie Sustainability & Environmental Impact

Ramie is a sustainable and eco-friendly fiber choice, as it requires minimal use of pesticides and fertilizers compared to other crops. Additionally, the ramie plant is known for its ability to grow quickly, making it a renewable resource. However, producing ramie textiles can still have an environmental impact, needing significant water and energy. Especially if it grows on a large manufacturing scale. BUT!

Imagine a world where every product we use is made with ethical and sustainable practices. Obtaining the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and B Corp certifications can help us achieve that goal. By ensuring that the manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and transportation standards of the products made with ramie fiber are met, we are contributing to a better world for ourselves and future generations.

Ramie fiber has immense potential for bag manufacturing due to its eco-friendly and sustainable nature. With the increasing demand for natural and organic fabrics, the fashion industry is increasingly adopting eco-friendly practices, which in turn is driving the demand for ramie fiber.

The recent technological and research advancements in ramie fiber processing and manufacturing techniques are making it possible to produce durable and aesthetically appealing bags from ramie fiber. This plant has opened up a world of possibilities for using ramie in the bag industry. The market for sustainable and natural materials is growing steadily.

It’s worth noting that while Japan and Korea have been recognized by UNESCO for their celebration of ramie’s cultural significance, China produces the largest amount of this versatile plant. Recently, there has been an increase in the export of ramie fiber from Asia to the West, indicating a promising future for using ramie in the bag manufacturing industry.


Ramie is a highly promising alternative plant that can be used in bag manufacturing. Not only is it sustainable, it also possesses unique properties that make it an excellent choice for producing high-quality bags. Ramie fibers are strong, lightweight, and have excellent moisture-wicking properties. Making them ideal for use in bags that can withstand daily wear and tear. Furthermore, ramie cultivation is less resource-intensive than other crops, making it an eco-friendly and cost-effective option for bag production. As more companies begin to recognize the benefits of using ramie in their products, we can expect to see a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally responsible manufacturing practices in the bag industry.

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