Updated: Oct 18
Hello Green Warriors!! We are back after vacation!!
Well, the long wait is over and we are here with our remainder blog on sustainable fabrics!!
To revisit the first part of this blog you can find it here
My Research for sustainable fabrics:
Frankly speaking it is not a piece of cake at all to switch to completely sustainable fabrics but small steps at a time can definitely help us reach our goals...As I was cleaning up my wardrobe I just realized I had so many polyester or polyester cotton blend clothes which I bought when I had no clue about this alarming issue of synthetic fabrics made of petroleum and how they dissipate micro plastics on washing them!!
This made me think how could I do justice by wearing these clothes and eliminate the micro plastics escape to the environment?
The solution can be wash it less frequently and buy a good filter for my washing machine so it could trap as much micro plastics as it can!
When it comes to buying new clothes...Minimalist approach would be great...Buy only how much you need but try and buy sustainable fabrics like Linen, Organic cotton, Hemp, Lyocell, Ahimsa silk, Khadi etc…As we discussed in our previous blogs, fabrics that are man made with chemicals do not fit into our ecosystem.
To revisit that blog you can check the link here
Sustainable fabrics should also be opted for your accessories like bags, wallets etc.. Most of them are made of Rexene leather which is basically made of PVC which is toxic in its highest content!! At the end of its life it is going to be disastrous for the environment. Polyvinyl chloride is a toxic chemical that releases very harmful gases in the environment.
As I was exploring the market for availability of sustainable fabrics, I was glad to know many of the big brands are now working to make sustainable clothing accessible to people...I could get over my hand on some good organic cotton T shirts(Don’t know how genuine organic cotton it is..as it is not certified) and Linen clothing is also widely available, although could not really find fair trade and OEKO certified clothing.
I am sure that would soon be available too!! I could find OEKO TEX certified cotton products in Carrefour for Towels and bedding...OEKO TEX certified cotton is certified to not have any harmful chemicals in the fabric that might pose danger to human use. Although this certification does not ensure the production is organic. I am glad to see such options are slowly being available..That's a great start..
Brief description of sustainable fabrics and how they are sustainable:
Organic cotton: We have already got you covered on this topic.
Check out the blog on it here
Conventional Cotton is a highly water consuming plant and requires extremely high amounts of fertilizers and toxic pesticides. Conventional cotton farming is harmful for the environment and the farmers health who are working in the farms. The extensive use of chemicals is polluting the soil and groundwater.
Organic cotton on the other hand is the sustainable choice and is gaining major popularity. Popular brands like Dressmann, Nike, Adidas, H&M, House of Fraser, Timberland and many more have pledged to use 100% organic cotton by 2025. That ratifies need and demand for switching to sustainable cotton.
Linen: Linen fabric is made from Flax plant. The best thing about this plant is, it requires very less irrigation and very less pesticides and fertilizers to grow it. Every part of the plant is put to use so leaving no waste. Byproduct of flax plants is linseed oil which is used for wood preservation. In their natural colors it is the most strong, antibacterial and Eco friendly fabric.
Due to great care required during weaving to prevent breakage of the threads it becomes a laborious work to weave this cloth hence it is considered a luxurious and expensive fabric. Nevertheless this fabric lasts for ages, hence if you have a minimalist approach with clothes, one time buy will last you for decades!!
Hemp: While outer bark is used for manufacturing fabric, inner woody core can be used to manufacture paper and as animal bedding. Hemp seed oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. This sustainable crop has earned its title because it requires less irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides and grows very fast. Currently hemp fabric is more of a novelty and hence expensive as compared to cotton or even organic cotton which is in the main stream and produced on a much larger scale. Hemp fabric comes close to linen in look and feel. This highly durable fabric can be enhanced by blending it with cotton, organic cotton or even silk to create a smoother fabric.
Bamboo: Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world and since it is a type of grass, it simply sprouts back up after it is harvested. It does not need replanting, it has impressive rates of carbon sequestering, requires close to no pesticides and fertilizers and little water. Bamboo fabric can be an Eco friendly choice when you are informed of the following blends. Some of them are Sustainable whereas some are not. So be informed before you pick.
Sustainable options in Bamboo fabric
Bamboo linen- This is a result of mechanical processing of bamboo and can be called sustainable. Natural enzymes are used to break the bamboo into soft mass and individual fibers are combed out. Do note that it is not as soft as bamboo rayon.
Bamboo lyocell- Chemicals are used in making it but it is a closed loop cycle which means all the water and chemicals used are extracted back and reused and nothing goes out to pollute the environment.
Bamboo blend with Organic cotton- Organic Cotton blended with bamboo is slightly stronger than pure bamboo but ensure it is a blend with organic cotton as otherwise it will not be a sustainable option.
Unsustainable option in Bamboo fabric
Bamboo rayon- This fabric isn’t any different from rayon fabrics ( fabrics made from wood fibers) . It is highly chemical intensive in the fiber spinning phase and hence not a sustainable choice. Chemicals like NaOH, H2SO4, CS2 makes the bamboo rayon lose its status of sustainable fabric.
Most bamboo fabric available in the market is bamboo rayon. So make sure to read the labels are buy wisely. Fashion is an exciting topic and there is much more to sustainable fashion.
For a completely sustainable fabric it is advised to look for OEKO, GOTS or any other certification that ensures the production of fabric is toxic free and safe for human use as well as safe for the environment. Practically such certified fabrics are not widely available but slowly getting introduced in the market. Hence being informed helps you be on a lookout for such certified fabrics and helps you take a wise decision and pick your clothes sustainably. You might not get certified clothes at the moment but one step at a time we can at least try and opt for the right fabrics. That ways we can reduce the harm to the environment one step at a time.
We still have to get you covered on some more amazing sustainable fabrics such as Khadi, Ahimsa silk, Lyocel & Tencel. So stay tuned we will continue talking about these in our next blog.