Sustainable fabrics are the key to making the fashion industry more eco friendly. However, it is important to understand what you are purchasing as greenwashing exists for fabrics too. Always watch out for materials that are marketed as sustainable but do not live up to their hype.
There are so many factors that come into play when discussing sustainable materials. Do eco-friendly materials always mean that they are good? Do synthetic fabrics always mean that they are bad? Is there evidence to back up the claims of the new innovative material? What happens when the item is washed? Are there sustainable options available when disposing of the item? Selecting which sustainable material to use or wear can be a tough decision. However, it is one of the realistic ways in which you can make a positive impact on the plant, people and animals. Continue to read as we dive into the details of commonly found sustainable fabrics.
What is ECONYL? This is a recycled material that is made from recycled synthetic waste. The waste includes industrial plastic, waste fabric and fishing nets. ECONYL is said to be the same quality as virgin nylon yarn. The Italian manufacturer uses less water and generates less waste than traditional nylon yarn manufacturing. Unfortunately, the downside of ECONYL is that it releases microfibers when being washed. For frequently washed items it is not the best fabric choice unless you have a microfiber catching filter installed or use a Guppy Bag. It is a great option for rarely washed items such as shoes, sustainable swimwear or outerwear.
What is Repreve? This material is a state-of-the-art performance fabric that is also made from recycled materials. Typically it is made from plastic bottles. The manufacturer of Repreve has so far recycled more than 31 billion bottles (wow!). It gives single-use plastics a second life by turning them into something wearable. This fibre is known for its strength, durability and reliability. It provides moisture wicking and thermal regulation. It is utilised by iconic brands such as Patagonia and Quiksilver because it is water repellent and wrinkle resistant. Similar to ECONYL it does release microfibers so careful consideration needs to be taken when laundering this fabric.
What is Amni-Soul Eco? Welcome to the world’s first biodegradable yarn. Not only will it degrade in three years which is ten times faster than traditional fabrics. It is manufactured in a way that makes it easier and faster for bacteria to digest it. This product is also 100% recyclable and reusable. The new innovations mean that the fabric is durable. The quality of the material is soft to touch, comfortable to wear and easy to care for. The material can be used for any item however due to its breathability and softness it is ideal for underwear, sustainable swimwear and sportswear.
What is Linen? Linen is a summertime essential and is both biodegradable and stylish. It is both strong and moth resistant. Linen is made from flax plant fibres and it comes in natural colours including ivory, tan, ecru (off white) and grey. It can withstand high temperatures and absorbs moisture without holding onto bacteria. The flax plant is cost-effective for production and nothing is wasted in the process. According to the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, a linen shirt uses 6.4 litres of water when compared to the 2,400 litres used for a cotton shirt. The downside of Linen is that it creases easily and often requires constant ironing. Look for organic certifications for linen to make sure that the flax plant is grown in the most sustainable way.
What is Jute? Jute is derived from a vegetable and can be spun to make strong durable yarn. This yarn is used to make hessian or burlap items. It is a fast-growing plant that reaches maturity in four to six months. It is grown very similarly to cotton however it requires much less water, and no pesticides and fertilisers to grow. It is completely biodegradable and recyclable. Jute is often used to make rugs, reusable shopping bags, and curtains.
There are many ways in which a material can be sustainable. It is important to look at the holistic nature of the fabric and review its entire life cycle. To shop sustainable swimwear and clothing made from the sustainable fabrics in this article visit us at The Someday Co and have a read of our product descriptions to understand each items' origins.