Wouldn’t it be a lovely feeling to know that the clothing in your wardrobe makes a positive impact on the world? By choosing to buy your clothes from eco friendly clothing brands you can lessen your wardrobe’s impact on the planet.
Sustainable textiles are becoming more widely produced and accessible to the general public. This is encouraging news! Being informed about different sustainable materials for clothing is the first step towards an eco friendly wardrobe.
Below we’ll take a look at some traditional fabrics used in clothing, along with their eco-conscious alternatives.
Organic Cotton vs Cotton
Conventionally produced cotton is a massive drain on resources. According to the UN, conventional cotton production uses 3% of global water resources, 7% of all chemical pesticides used in the U.S. for agriculture, and more than 2% of all arable land. This is a less than ideal situation.
Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, irradiation or genetic engineering. Instead, Organic farmers use a variety of techniques like crop rotation in order to build soil diversity and protect the air and water.
If shoppers can create a market for eco friendly organic cotton clothing, more farmers will be inclined to move away from traditional cotton, and towards a more earth-friendly organic cotton.
rPET vs Polyester
Polyester is a very common material that is found in approximately 60% of clothing. It is a type of petroleum-based plastic manufactured from crude oil (an energy-intensive process).
rPET is a recycled Polyester fabric that is formed by crushing and molding old plastic bottles into small pieces, then spinning it into yarn. This removes post-consumer waste from our oceans and landfills.
rPET yarns also use 94% less water than oil-based Polyester fibers. The production of rPET uses 60% less energy and there is a 32% CO2 emissions reduction, making clothes made with rPet a very worthwhile alternative to traditional Polyester clothing.
Hemp Fabric vs Organic Cotton Fabric
As we know, organic cotton is far better for the environment than traditional cotton. There is another up-and-coming alternative to cotton, even organic cotton, that is gaining more and more attention; hemp.
Hemp fabric is a completely renewable resource which needs no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. It grows much quicker than cotton and requires fewer resources. The hemp plant also has a deep root system that helps to prevent soil erosion, removes toxins and aerates the soil to benefit future crops.
In addition, hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, more mildew-resistant, and more insulative than cotton. This means that it will keep you warmer in the winter time and cooler in the summer months. It also blocks out the sun’s harmful UV rays more effectively than cotton.
Clothing made from hemp fabric or hemp blended with other fabrics provides a sturdy, high-quality, fabric that is soft and long-lasting.
Bamboo Fabric vs Cotton
There has been a movement towards bamboo products over the last several years due to the fact that it is naturally pest-resistant, grows very rapidly and can help rebuild eroded soil. It can also be grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
However, consumers must be aware that there are a lot of variations on what actually constitutes “bamboo fabric”. Bamboo textiles can only be labeled as such if they are made directly from actual bamboo fiber.
Textiles made by blending bamboo with rayon, or viscose, must indicate that they are “rayon made from bamboo”.
Vegan Silk vs Regular Silk
Both regular silk and vegan silk are very environmentally friendly. However, there is one main distinction between the two. The vegan community does not promote the production or wearing of silk due to the fact that it requires boiling the silkworm alive in its cocoon.
Another type of silk - vegan silk - is produced by using the cocoon after the worm has shed and left it. This is the best option for vegans as fabrics made from vegan silk are completely cruelty-free.
Organic Soy Fabric vs Soy Blended Fabric
Soy fabric is produced from the soybean hull which is a by-product of the food industry. Essentially it recycles and reuses food waste that would otherwise have gone into the trash or compost. Soy fibers are long, soft and silky making them a great fabric for undergarments.
Soy blends use non-organic soy fabric blended with inferior fabrics such as inorganic cotton or polyester. Be aware that these “blends” are not typically used in eco friendly clothing. Look for soy that is labeled Certified Organic, it will be sustainable and eco friendly.
Eco Friendly Clothing Brands aren't Just Good for the Planet
When considering fashion purchases, people don’t often consider where their clothing comes from, who made it, or how it is processed. With more and more eco friendly clothing brands choosing to use sustainable textiles, we have the power to choose longer-lasting clothing that is better for the planet and for our wallets.