Curating and building up an organized and efficient wardrobe can have many positive effects on your daily life and routine. When looking to align with sustainable fashion as a consumer, certain fabrics are essential to keep in mind when building up your wardrobe. This guide will provide insight into the various types of sustainable fabrics that are worth investing in for your wardrobe.
There are multiple aspects to consider when examining the sustainability of fabrics. Firstly, the production or manufacturing process is an important criterion to evaluate a fabric's sustainability. Secondly, the durability and quality of the fabric should be considered as it would determine whether the clothing will endure wear and tear and be long-lasting. Finally, it is vital to consider the biodegradability or recyclability of the fabric. Based on these criteria, the list of fabrics below has been created to guide you in your wardrobe building journey.
When compared to other conventional fabrics cotton, especially organic cotton, is produced in a more eco-friendly manner. The fabric is produced by growing the cotton plant and extracting the fibres. Cotton fabric is biodegradable, durable and long-lasting with proper care. It is also breathable and even considered hypoallergenic, making it ideal for sensitive skin. However, conventional cotton actually consumes high amounts of water, pesticides and space to grow. Therefore, organic cotton is highly recommended as it is grown without any pesticides and consumes much less water than traditional cotton plants.
Production of wool involves sharing of animals that bear wool, spinning the strands into yarn and weaving the yarn into fabrics, clothes and other textile forms. Producing wool is an extremely eco-friendly and sustainable process, with its only carbon footprint being from the sheep, goats and alpacas. Wool is a durable, naturally wrinkle-proof and flexible fabric that keeps its shape and is long-lasting. It is also an appropriate alternative to outdoor and winter wear made from synthetic fabrics. It is also 100% biodegradable and releases essential nutrients while decomposing in soil.
Fabric made from bamboo is highly environmentally friendly due to the process by which it is produced. Raw bamboo stalks are steamed and crushed to obtain a bamboo fibre which is then spun into yarn and finally woven into a fabric. Bamboo plants can be grown without pesticides and excessive amounts of water, making them highly eco-friendly. Furthermore, bamboo fabric is durable, breathable, anti-bacterial, has natural cooling properties and is very suitable for sensitive skin. Bamboo fabric is highly biodegradable and recyclable, making it a good choice for a sustainable and comfortable fabric.
Fabric made from hemp plants is produced by separating the fibres from the bark, carding them into strands, steaming these strands to produce weavable fibres and finally spinning it into yarn and weaving it into the fabric. This production process is highly eco-friendly, hemp plants grow rapidly, no pesticides are needed and it actually consumes less energy than producing fabrics such as cotton. Fabric made from hemp is durable, versatile, has natural sun-blocking properties and is suitable for sensitive skin. However, the fabric does wrinkle easily and naturally comes in muted, neutral tones. Hemp fabric is one of the most biodegradable fabrics and it decomposes rapidly.
Produced by extracting cellulose from various plants including bamboo, wood from trees and cotton, rayon is a popular sustainable fabric option. There are multiple forms of rayon fabrics including Lyocell, Modal, Viscose, and Tencel. It is known as a semi-synthetic fabric as the raw cellulose is naturally occuring while the production process requires the raw cellulose to be chemically processed. While the manufacturing process varies, the most eco-friendly Rayon is produced from sustainably grown plants and without the use of toxic, polluting chemicals. Rayon fabric is stretchy, durable and soft. Since rayon fabric is made from plant based materials, the fabric is indeed biodegradable. However, it is important to choose rayon fabrics from producers that manufacture rayon in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.
Organic linen fabric is produced from a plant or vegetable based source: flax. First, the flax plant is harvested by uprooting the plant which is then left to dry. The flax fibres are separated from the straws and spun into a yarn. The yarn is then weaved into a loom which is then processed into linen fabric. Production of linen is sustainable as the flax used can be harvested without the use of any toxic chemicals. Linen is versatile, comfortable and more durable than cotton. It is also biodegradable due to the source of the fibers and the nature of its production. This makes it a good choice as a sustainable and environmentally friendly fabric.
Peace Silk, also known as Ahimsa is an alternative to traditional silk. Traditionally, the production of silk involves boiling the silkworms alive in order to extract the cocoons for the fabric. Peace Silk, on the other hand, is produced by allowing the silkworms to shed the cocoons naturally. This is a cruelty-free way of producing the luxurious fabric. Silk is extremely strong and durable, light on the skin and provides natural regulation of temperature during summer and winter. It is also sustainable and eco-friendly as the source of the fibres is natural. Furthermore, it is biodegradable, making it a great choice for those looking for sustainable luxury fabrics.