The beginner’s guide to eco-friendly fabrics

What do we look for when we’re choosing sustainable fabrics? 

What’s in a label of your fashion garments? Whether you’re a clothes maker or a fashion lover choosing garments that use eco-friendly fabrics is a great start to make your wardrobe more sustainable.

Sustainable fashion is the future of the world. The fashion industry today uses a lot of unnatural, expensive fabrics which do more harm than good to our planet. As well as that, many big fashion companies don’t take social responsibility. Let’s top this off with the fact that most clothes tear easily, lose their color, and degrade in quality so much that they can’t be worn after a year or two. 

With organic and eco-friendly fabrics, none of these problems are present. In this beginner’s guide to eco-friendly fabrics, we will clarify some of the benefits and uses of each fashion textile.

1. Jute fabric

Jute fabric is made from plant fibers, making it one of the most popular eco-friendly materials out there. Unlike many other materials, jute fabric can often be very coarse, not making it suitable for clothing. However, the material has other important uses in your house. It’s perfect for making rugs, yoga mats, and upholstery. 

In recent years, designers and manufacturers have figured out how to blend linen and jute together, making the final product perfect for the fashion industry. Other benefits of jute include its durability and breathability, as well as its low thermal conductivity.

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2. Hemp fabric

Hemp is used for many things and it seems it’s found its place in the fashion industry, as well. Hemp clothing is very high-quality and extremely durable, making it a worthy addition to your closet. This is a soft material that lets your skin breathe, and can often feel like you’re not wearing anything at all. It might be the perfect material for summer days as it’s also UV resistant.

As far as production is concerned, this is one of the easiest plants to grow. It requires minimal attention and doesn’t deplete the nutrients of the soil. In other words, you can grow the same plant in the same place even after harvesting. No pesticides are used in production, adding to the eco-friendliness of the material. Finally, the material is biodegradable, meaning that there will be no waste even after you simply can’t wear the clothing anymore.

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3. Linen fabric

You’ve probably already heard of linen but don’t know just how eco-friendly it is. The breathable material is typically used for summer clothing. The linen clothing is very comfortable and lightweight, as well as being highly absorbent. In other words, you won’t feel the harsh summer heat anytime you’re wearing linen. The material is also very durable, making it a worthy investment.

When it comes to harvesting and production, linen is typically harvested without any pesticides involved. The whole plant is used to form linen fibres, leaving no waste behind. 

4. Lyocell (Tencel) fabric

Lyocell is a product of wood cellulose or the pulp harvested from trees known under the brand name “Tencel”. This material is typically very soft and easy to work with, making it the favorite of many designers. It’s also wrinkle-resistant, making it very easy to sell. People who have sensitive skin will love that they finally found clothing that doesn’t irritate them. You can find different types of clothes made from this fabric, as it is very versatile.

Tencel fabric is also known for its durability and the fact it remains rich in color even after a lot of washes. The fabric is comfortable and lightweight, making you fall in love with it even further. Tencel is typically bright white when it’s produced, which means no bleach is needed in the production. As well as that, the material absorbs color easily, making the use of a lot of dye unnecessary.

Non-toxic solvents are used in production and the material is biodegradable. This makes Tencel the perfect sustainable fabric, as it’s completely eco-friendly from production to decomposing.

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5. Organic cotton

Even though traditional cotton is present in almost all areas related to fashion and home decoration, it’s actually full of harmful pesticides and has a high chemical input. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown without all the toxicity. On top of that, only natural dyes are used. This helps lower the chemical waste in our ecosystem. As well as that, it’s much better for your health and your skin.

The benefits of using cotton for home decor and clothing are innumerable. The material is soft and breathable, making it perfect for sensitive skin. Whether it’s used for shirts, dresses, sheets, or pillowcases, it’s bound to make you more comfortable than you thought cotton ever could.

Supporting organic cotton production by purchasing products made from it is a big step in the long-term fight for a greener and more sustainable Earth.

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6. Econyl

Last but not least, you should take a look at the recycled fabric called Econyl. It uses synthetic waste such as fishing nets, waste fabric, and industrial plastic and gives it new life. The final product is called nylon yarn, and believe it or not, it’s the same quality as regular nylon but more eco-friendly.

Aside from the final product being better for the environment, the process of creating nylon yarn is also green. It creates less waste and uses less water. To make nylon yarn, waste is collected, cleaned, shredded, and depolymerized. Once it is polymerized again, it’s made into yarn. From here, it can be used to create various different textile products.

It’s much more suitable than regular textile products because of their prolonged durability and sustainability. This is exactly what makes Econyl the fabric of the future.

The only thing to worry about with Econyl is potential microplastic. This usually happens when the products are washed and Econyl sheds the small plastic particles that may end up in the ocean. For this reason, it’s advisable to only buy items that don’t need to be washed often made from this fabric. For example, you could go for a guppy bag or some sneakers.

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As you can see, organic and eco-friendly fabrics make the world a greener and better place. They’re much healthier for you and your skin and for the environment. Things made from organic and eco-friendly materials will typically last you a lifetime. We’re confident you’ll see all the benefits of sustainable fashion and home decor as soon as you try it on for size.

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Mia Johnson

Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.

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