Sustainable Fabrics that are good for you and the planet!

11 Sustainable Fabrics You Need in Your Wardrobe (some you may not have heard of!)

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Many consumers are now seeking out more sustainable clothing options that are produced using eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes. One important factor to consider when choosing sustainable clothing is the type of fabric used.

Let’s explore some of the most sustainable fabrics and why they are a good choice for the environment. 

What does sustainable fabric mean?

Sustainability in fabrics refers to the use of materials and production methods that have a reduced impact on the environment and promote social responsibility throughout the supply chain. There are several factors that can make a fabric sustainable:

Use of natural, organic, or recycled materials

Sustainable fabrics are typically made from natural or organic materials such as cotton, linen, or hemp, which are biodegradable and renewable. Recycled materials such as polyester made from recycled plastic bottles can also be sustainable.

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Low environmental impact production methods

Sustainable fabrics are typically produced using methods that consume less energy and water, and generate less waste and pollution. This can include techniques like waterless dyeing, natural dyeing, and closed-loop systems.

Fair labor practices

Sustainable fabrics are produced using fair labor practices that ensure safe working conditions and fair wages for workers throughout the supply chain.

Long-lasting and durable

Sustainable fabrics are designed to be durable and long-lasting, reducing the need for frequent replacements and minimizing waste.

Low carbon footprint

Sustainable fabrics are typically produced locally, using renewable energy sources and carbon offsetting techniques to minimize their carbon footprint.

Biodegradability or recyclability

Sustainable fabrics are often biodegradable or recyclable at the end of their lifecycle, reducing their environmental impact and promoting a circular economy.

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Natural sustainable fabrics

Organic Cotton

Conventional cotton is often grown using pesticides and other chemicals that can harm the environment and the people who work on cotton farms. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown without the use of harmful chemicals. This makes it a much more sustainable option for clothing production.

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Hemp

Hemp is a versatile and sustainable plant that can be used to create a variety of products, including clothing. It is a fast-growing crop that requires minimal water and pesticides, making it an eco-friendly choice for clothing production.

Linen

Linen is a natural fiber that is made from the flax plant. It is a very durable fabric that can last for years, making it a sustainable choice for clothing production. Linen is also biodegradable, which means that it will break down naturally over time.

Tencel®

Tencel® is a type of rayon that is made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. It is produced using a closed-loop manufacturing process, which means that the chemicals used to make the fabric are recycled and reused. Tencel® is also biodegradable and has a low environmental impact.

Recycled Fabrics

Recycled fabrics, such as recycled polyester or recycled nylon, are made from post-consumer waste. This means that they help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. Recycled fabrics can also help to conserve resources, as they require less energy and water to produce than new fabrics.

Wool

Wool is a natural fiber that is renewable and biodegradable. It is also a durable fabric that can last for years, making it a sustainable choice for clothing production. However, it is important to choose wool that is ethically sourced and produced, as some wool production methods can be harmful to the environment and to animals.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that requires less water and pesticides than conventional cotton, making it a more eco-friendly alternative. To ensure that bamboo fabric is sustainable, it is important to look for products that use the mechanical method (instead of the chemical method) of production or use closed-loop systems that minimize waste and pollution. Some bamboo fabric manufacturers also use eco-friendly dyes and energy-efficient production methods to further reduce their environmental impact.

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Pinatex

Piñatex® is made from the long fibers of pineapple leaves, which are typically discarded after the fruit is harvested. The fibers are extracted from the leaves, then cleaned, softened, and processed into a non-woven mesh that can be used to create a range of products, including bags, shoes, and clothing.

One of the main benefits of Piñatex® is its eco-friendliness. By using a waste product from the pineapple industry, Piñatex® helps to reduce waste and promote a more circular economy. The production of Piñatex also requires less water and energy than traditional textiles, and does not involve the use of harmful chemicals.

Piñatex® also has a unique and attractive texture that resembles leather. It is also lightweight, breathable, and durable, making it a popular choice for designers and consumers who are looking for eco-friendly and stylish alternatives to traditional leather.

Bananatex®

Bananatex® is a sustainable fabric made from the fibers of the Abacá plant, also known as banana hemp. The plant is grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizers, making it a more sustainable alternative to conventional cotton. After the fibers are harvested, they are processed using a unique, chemical-free method that involves washing, spinning, and weaving.

One of the main benefits of Bananatex® is its eco-friendliness. The material is fully biodegradable and compostable and can be returned to the earth at the end of its life. Bananatex® also requires less water and energy to produce than traditional textiles and does not involve the use of harmful chemicals.

Bananatex® is also durable and lightweight, making it a popular choice for backpacks, bags, and other outdoor gear. The material has a unique texture and appearance that is similar to canvas, but with a more natural and eco-friendly feel.

Apple Leather

Apple leather is a plant-based leather alternative made from apple pomace, the pulp that is left over after juicing apples. The apple pomace is dried and ground into a powder, which is then mixed with a polyurethane binder to create a material that looks and feels like leather. It is also biodegradable and compostable, which means that it does not contribute to environmental pollution and waste.

Apple leather has several advantages over traditional leather. First, it does not involve the use of animals, which can help to reduce animal cruelty and the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Second, it is made from a waste product that would otherwise be discarded, which helps to reduce food waste and support a more circular economy. Third, it is free from harmful chemicals, such as chromium, which is often used in the tanning process of traditional leather and can be toxic to the environment and human health.

Synthetic sustainable fabric

ECONYL®

ECONYL® is a brand of regenerated nylon fiber that is made from waste materials, such as discarded fishing nets, fabric scraps, and carpet flooring. The process of creating ECONYL® involves collecting and cleaning the waste materials, which are then processed and transformed into high-quality nylon yarn.

ECONYL® is designed to reduce the environmental impact of nylon production by diverting waste from landfills and oceans and creating a closed-loop system in which the same materials can be used and recycled indefinitely. It has gained popularity in the fashion industry, as it offers a sustainable alternative to traditional nylon fabrics. It can be used to create a wide range of products, including swimwear, activewear, and accessories.

Are you Sold on Sustainable Fabrics Yet?

There are many sustainable fabric options available for those who are looking to make more eco-friendly clothing choices. By choosing fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, linen, Tencel, recycled fabrics, and ethically produced wool, we can reduce our impact on the environment and support more sustainable clothing production practices.

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