The sort of cloth used will decide how much environmental damage it does — and what techniques can be utilized to rectify it. Consider this: fabric selection has a direct impact on raw material procurement, processing, and end-of-life considerations such as whether it can be recycled or composted.
When it comes to pollution, the textile sector is one of the most significant culprits. It not only pollutes, but the materials used to create high-quality fabrics have a direct impact on and contribute to: water consumption, microplastic pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, soil deterioration, rainforest loss, and, finally, massive landfill waste.
On the other hand, if you know where to look, eco-friendly textiles are easy to find. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most environmentally friendly materials on the market.
- Peace Silk
Silk is so soft that the word “silk” is used as an adjective to describe it. Silk, as you might expect, is both good for your skin and good for the environment. It’s made by either “wild silkworms” or “domesticated silkworms,” in most situations. Although the manufacturing of silk should not hurt the worms in theory, they do die in some situations when the silk is processed.
Sericulture is used by Peace Silk in a humane manner. Silkworms are bred in their natural habitat. After the silk is collected, they can emerge on their own and go about their lives. That’s true, no animals were injured in the manufacture of this sort of silk fabric.
- Recycled Polyester
Single-use plastics certainly have a bad influence on the environment, and a number of companies have discovered ways to reuse plastic bags, bottles, and textiles that would otherwise end up in landfills. Recycled polyester is a versatile material that can be made to feel and behave in a variety of ways. While this helps to keep plastic out of landfills, it also causes the release of microplastics when washing without a microplastic filter bag. Furthermore, it can only be recycled so many times until its quality diminishes to the point where it must be thrown.
- Organic Cotton
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of sustainable high-quality fabrics available. It is cultivated and processed without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Organic cotton production utilizes 62 percent less energy and 88 percent less water than traditional cotton farming from an environmental aspect. This high-quality fabric is used by organic clothing makers in a variety of garments, including organic bras, organic mattress protectors, organic maternity clothes, organic baby clothes, and much more.
- Cashmere Wool
Cashmere is a popular high-quality fabric for very soft and warm eco-friendly sweaters, and it’s also completely biodegradable. Unfortunately, it’s a fabric that’s been linked to a slew of negative environmental and ethical consequences. Cashmere, fortunately, can be obtained in a sustainable manner. Look for individuals who utilize hand combing techniques instead of electric shears, as this maintains the fibers and reduces the chance of harming or scaring the animals.
- Upcycled Tanned Leather
Leather is a fiber made from animals. It typically employs the skin of meat-producing animals, however it has been chastised for environmental and ethical concerns. It’s also non-biodegradable! This is usually used as a furniture fabric, and in terms of processing, chrome-free tanning is superior to traditional tanning, but it is still a long way from being environmentally friendly. Instead, search for labels that state that all natural dyes or vegetable tanning were used.
- Sheep Wool
Wool, as a natural high-quality fabric, can be used to replace plastic/petroleum-based synthetics like nylon and polyester. Wool materials can also decompose naturally. While some believe wool will never be ethical, we believe it can, but it will be a very difficult task. At the very least, seek for applicable certifications.
Linen is roughly equal to hemp in terms of sustainability. The textiles are also quite light and airy. The only distinction? The flax plant is used to make linen. To grow, it only requires a small amount of fertilizer, pesticide, and irrigation. Linen, on the other hand, does not yield as much as hemp. Linen is a popular high-quality fabric for everything from linen garments to linen sheets because of its universal appeal and dependability.
Cork high-quality fabric has made its way onto our bodies from the board and the bottle. For good reason, the material has become a popular choice for vegan purses and shoes. Cork is extracted from a cork oak by shaving away the bark in a sustainable manner. The tree consumes more carbon dioxide than most other trees while regrowing its bark. As a result, cork plantations can operate as a carbon sink. After being gathered, the cork can be dried in the sun and then transformed into something fit for fashion with just a little water.
Alternative plant-based wools, such as this one created from hemp, coconut fibers, and mushroom enzymes, have taken the world by storm. This vegan wool is not only cruelty-free, but also long-lasting! Stay tuned for more mushroom fashion…coming soon. Mushrooms have recently found their way into a variety of sustainable vegan materials, so keep an eye out for more fungi fashion…coming soon.
- Merino Wool
Merino sheep are distinguished from other sheep breeds by their wrinkled skin, which means they produce more wool. Many enterprises in Australia use a brutal method known as “mulesing,” yet ethical merino can exist, especially if it’s supplied from New Zealand, where animal welfare regulations are exceptionally high and mulesing is not performed. Don’t be afraid to ask brands tough questions about their transparent sourcing policies.
Poor fabric selection is a major contributor to unsustainable fashion. Many of the materials used in every project are harmful to humans or animals. Not to mention the toxic chemicals and microplastics that they discharge into the environment for hundreds of years. By using many of the eco-friendly high-quality fabrics featured here in your designs, you can take a stand for a better future by wearing sustainable and organic apparel. To keep the momentum rolling, spread the word and share this article!