Once upon a time, our clothes – made naturally from eco-fabric –were made to last. That was the point; desirable clothing was ultimately based on quality. The term eco-fabric didn’t exist back then, it didn’t have to. Fabrics were natural, as were the dyes and finishes. Fashion, back in the day was also less fickle, or at least the styles moved at a far gentler pace than they do today.
Fast forward to present times and fast fashion rules. Most fabrics are cheap, fashion trends swoop by, and for the great majority; wardrobes and fabrics are disposable. But thankfully there is a new movement based on more sustainable measures.
An item of clothing made with eco-fabric is not the only aspect to making a green garment, despite clearly being an important component of evolving your wardrobe. A sustainable wardrobe of fashion means you know where the clothing comes from, who made it and what it is made from.
Here’s a breakdown on some of the eco-fabric choices out there:
Conventionally grown cotton is the anti-eco-fabric that packs a huge pesticide punch as it is one of the most chemical-laden crops in the world. Buying organic supports a method of agriculture that’s good for the planet. Make sure, like any eco-fabric you choose that it’s grown and harvested under Fair Trade principles.
Luxury and high fashion junkies rejoice; silk is an inherently natural eco-fabric because it’s made by silk worms, not by a chemical-based synthetic process.
This eco-fabric receives lots of buzz because it’s easy to grow without pesticides and is a fast growing plant itself. Another bonus is that bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial and repels odour.
This eco-fabric is cropping up everywhere! Hemp has been touted as the ultimate eco-friendly fabric because it requires no chemicals to grow. It’s also extremely versatile, and can be used to create strong, sturdy fabrics or soft, delicate items.
The Rolls-Royce of fabrics, cashmere fibre comes from combing out the under-hairs of Kashmir goats, a breed native to the Himalayas but now raised worldwide. Perhaps best of all from en eco-perspective, it’s also long-lasting, making it one of the most eco-friendly wardrobe items you’ll own.
Real linen is made from flax, a crop that requires very little pest-controlling chemicals, so it’s a great eco-friendly fabric
Alpaca wool is long lasting, does not require chemical, hormones or any nasties – a great natural wool.
Better known by the brand name Tencel, this eco-fabric is made from wood pulp, so it’s both biodegradable and recyclable. Producing this fabric involves less emissions, energy, and water usage than other more conventional fabrics, and it doesn’t get bleached either.
Another great eco-fabric that is made from the by products of soy oil processing. It is great for underwear because its long fibres make it soft and silky. Just make sure your soy fabric is certified organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly.