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12 Sustainable Materials And Fabrics You Should Know About

Fashion has always been something people are very interested in. The truth is that the majority of us like keeping up with the trends and being fashionable. While this might seem a bit superficial, it’s something that makes you feel good. So, nobody can blame you for buying a new dress if you have a bad day. However, you should be aware that the fast-growing garment manufacturing industry has a big impact on the environment. Because of the high demand, manufacturers are often forced to use synthetic materials. These materials are a lot cheaper and easier to produce. However, they generate waste that can take decades to biodegrade. But you can stop this trend. Start paying attention to the labels and buy sustainable clothing. Here’s a list of 12 sustainable materials and fabrics you should know about.

No. 1 Organic cotton is one of the top sustainable materials and fabrics you should know about

Cotton is a well-known natural fiber. It’s easy to maintain, absorbs moisture, and is safe for kids because it’s naturally hypoallergenic. This gives a false impression that it’s also eco-friendly. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of water to produce and is usually grown with pesticides. But no worries, this doesn’t mean you have to give it up. Just look for garments made out of organic cotton. And if you want to ensure it’s organic, check if it has a GOTS certification.

No. 2 Hemp

Hemp is a multi-purpose plant. Apart from the clothing manufacturing industry, it’s also used in the food and cosmetics industry. This plant has been used for thousands of years because it requires low maintenance. It needs little water, it grows fast, and it doesn’t need pesticides. Just like organic cotton, it doesn’t irritate the skin, so it’s very safe. However, you should check the label to see if the material used is 100% hemp.

No. 3 Piñatex

You’ve probably heard about vegan leather by now. This is a new trend in the fashion industry meant to protect animals. Unfortunately, many of these solutions are made from plastic, which makes them bad for the environment. However, Piñatex is different. It is made from waste pineapple leaf fibers. And this makes it one of the best leather alternatives on the market

No. 4 Bamboo

Bamboo is a high-quality and eco-friendly solution for the clothing industry. The fabric made out of it is very comfortable and moisture absorbent. This makes it one of the top sustainable materials and fabrics you should know about. 

Nevertheless, there are some concerns regarding its processing. Namely, some manufacturers use intensive chemical processes to produce the fabric. Thus, making it non-sustainable. Of course, this is hard to check. The only option is to opt for trusted brands.

No. 5 Lyocell

Lyocell is made out of the wood pulp and is biodegradable. What is great about this fabric is that even though it requires chemical processing, the chemicals are reused. Therefore, manufacturers generate less waste. Furthermore, this fabric is odor-free, antibacterial, and moisture absorbent.

No. 6 Recycled nylon

Nylon is a plastic fiber, which makes it non-sustainable. However, it’s sometimes hard to avoid using it. Specifically when it comes to swimwear. But if you care about the environment, you should look for recycled nylon. It’s usually found under the brand name Econyl. And what is so great about it is that it’s made out of recycled plastic. This includes everything from waste fabrics and plastic bottles to fishing nets. 

Three women dressed in swimwear.

No. 7 Recycled polyester

Apart from recycled nylon, another great solution is recycled polyester. This fabric is usually produced from plastic bottles, which helps reduce plastic waste. Its production is also less harmful to the environment because it doesn’t generate as much carbon emissions as traditional polyester. Recycled polyester is often used for sportswear and outdoor garments.

No. 8 Organic linen

Organic linen is made out of flax. This plant is great because it thrives even in areas where other crops don’t. Plus, it doesn’t require the use of fertilizers. Furthermore, it doesn’t generate waste because you can use the entire plant. If it’s not chemically processed, then it’s biodegradable. Moreover, organic linen clothing is very comfortable as it is light and soft.

No. 9 Qmonos

Qmonos is quite an exciting invention. Specifically, it’s synthetic spider silk. But don’t worry, they don’t use live spiders to produce it. They use spider microbes and genes. The fabric is biodegradable, lightweight, and very flexible. One of the most interesting facts is that it is stronger than steel. Therefore, it’s being used even in the production of car parts. The only downside is that it’s costly.

No. 10 Cupro

Since we’ve mentioned the expensive alternative to silk, let’s also take a look at a more affordable option. Cupro is made out of recycled garments. Therefore, it’s highly sustainable. Unfortunately, it does require chemical processing. And not all manufacturers dispose of those chemicals properly. Otherwise, the fabric is soft and sheer, similar to silk. So if you are dealing with this material and you want to pack clothes without wrinkling them, you should keep them neat and tidy.

 

No. 11 Reclaimed fabric

Reclaimed fabric is also known as deadstock. Similar to Cupro, it is made out of leftover fabrics. In this case, it’s usually fabrics that haven’t sold for various reasons. Since you are reusing old fabrics, additional processing is not needed. Not to mention, there’s no extra waste. So, this option is highly sustainable. 

 

No. 12 Denim

We all love our jeans. Unfortunately, this is why they generate a lot of waste. Plus, denim is made from cotton, and we’ve already discussed the major issues concerning cotton. The problem is there’s not much you can do about it. But you can limit yourself to two pairs of jeans instead of ten. You can also look for manufacturers that use closed-loop water systems that save lots of water. And note that some brands use recycled fibers in the composition.

The jeans section of a store.

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