Sustainable Materials Used In Fashion
Over recent years, sustainable fashion has progressed leaps and bounds. From the materials being used to how ethically they are collected, treated and manufactured to produce the clothes that you wear today. We decided to make a list of some of the most popular fabrics used in the current environmentally conscious fashion industry and why you should make the switch now.
Organic Cotton is one of the most popular sustainable materials used on the market right now. We even use it for our Original T-Shirts and Hats! One of the most important factors for this material would be to ensure it is harvested without the use of pesticides as organic cotton is grown in fields by farmers using more natural methods. Once woven, it is extremely light, breathable and easy to wear with a soft touch on the skin. Another benefit from using organic cotton is that it is rain-fed, meaning no pressure has to be placed on irrigation systems in local communities.
Another popular material used throughout the fashion industry is Linen. It comes from the flax plant and takes months to grow, treat and process until it can be woven into a material suitable for clothing. Similar to organic cotton, linen is extremely light and soft to the touch making it highly desirable for t-shirts, shirts and trousers. It is even said to have a lower overall environmental impact than cotton, however the time and treatment it requires can make it slightly more costly.
Now this isn’t just a regular nylon. Well it is, just recycled! It comes from plastic bottles, fishing nets and other plastic items which can be easily recycled. Econyl is the sustainable version of nylon, which is mostly used for sportswear and swimwear in the industry. It is extremely durable and light which makes it perfect for the active lifestyle of athletes and anyone looking to stay active.
When talking about sustainable fashion fabrics, it’s a must that Hemp is mentioned. This material gets used a lot in UK sustainable fashion as it can be easily grown locally. Pure hemp typically has a similar feel to linen. However, it is often mixed with cotton to make it a much softer fabric.
At this point, it seems like everyone owns a product with denim in it. From jeans and jackets to skirts and bags, denim has been a staple in fashion for many years. It is tough to make denim sustainable as a lot of water is used, so to ensure you get the most environmentally friendly jeans, look for these signs:
· Jeans made using closed-loop water systems to save water
· Avoid stonewash jeans as they are often created with toxic chemicals
Conventionally, the production of denim has been very harmful to the environment due to the amount of cotton used to create the fabric and all the dyes and treatment that it undergoes before making it ready to sell. These methods cause organic pollutants such as starch and excess dye to be produced and in turn require further efforts to remove these pollutants from the environment. In recent years the damage denim production is causing on the environment has been lessened, with larger brands recognising the importance of becoming more sustainable and moving towards using organic cottons. This certainly does not completely eliminate the detrimental effects on the environment so here are some measures you can take to help this shift to more sustainable fashion.
· Look for Jeans made using closed-loop water systems to reduce the amount of water used in manufacturing
· Avoid stonewashed and acid washed jeans as they often use additional chemicals that can be harmful to the environment
· When looking for new denims, get down to your local charity shop or hop on depop and get yourself some mom or dad jeans to add to your collection
Hopefully this has helped to educate you on some of the materials used in sustainable fashion. By no means is this list the full story. Scientists are constantly innovating and producing new materials and composites that are much better for the environment.
Written by Jonathan (Kleurstof Co-Founder)