Two of the most significant contributions a clothing line can bring to the marketplace are ethically made clothing and clothing created with eco-friendly textiles. For this, you not only need fair labor but textiles which work in harmony with the environment. This is important because not only are eco-friendly fabrics often the most comfortable, they also reduce pollution, wastewater, and petroleum use. It is extremely important for fabrics to be ethically and sustainably sourced because conventionally produced fabrics are wreaking havoc on our environment. For example, many conventional textiles require production with harmful pesticides and other chemicals which end up in water supplies causing serious health risks. Synthetic materials are no better. Many of the microplastics used in synthetic textiles are ending up in the world’s oceans creating a harmful layer of microplastic. When sourcing eco-friendly textiles one must also consider sustainability. Alternatives that do not contribute to pollution but also do not overuse natural resources by overworking the land are most desirable. There are several great alternatives on the market which are sustainable, durable, and an alternative to conventional fabrics.
One of the most sustainable and well known earth friendly fibers on the market is hemp. Since it is a strong and durable fiber, clothing made with hemp tends to last longer. In addition, it grows very fast without the requirement of harmful pesticides or other chemicals. This creates a great option that is beneficial to the long term sustainability of the environment.
A new and exciting fiber on the market is pinatex that is made from the fibers of pineapple leaves. This resourceful fiber is crafted from the waste product material that results from pineapple harvesting; there are no harmful chemicals used in its production process. Pinatex is also being utilized as an alternative to other vegan leathers because it does not require petroleum products to make the material. Overall it gets high scores in the sustainability category.
Made from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees, Tencel is a soft and durable fiber. Clothing made from Tencel is soft, easy to wash, and the fibers are biodegradable. Tencel is a great alternative to other eco-friendly fibers because it requires very little water to grow. Water use is a big concern when it comes to providing the most sustainable products. Products that reduce the amount of water it takes to produce them have the lowest impact on the surrounding environment.
Sounds crazy but coconuts have much more to offer besides the delicious milk, water and meat inside. It turns out that the fibrous husks of this amazing plant make a great textile as well. This textile is called Cocona and major brands have started to adopt it in their clothing lines. Coconut husks provide a great sustainable alternative because of the large amount of textile produced by a small amount of raw material.
Another revolutionary fiber that is sure to disrupt the status quo of the fashion industry is MycoTEX. Made from the vegetative part of mushrooms known as “mycelium,” this unique fiber is proving to be a highly sustainable alternative to existing fibers on the market. Instead of producing a textile, some designers are even playing at the idea of “growing” garments to cut down on production materials and eliminate waste. This seems to be one of the most unique options in new, eco-friendly materials.
The fashion industry and its designers concerned with reducing the environmental impacts of production are embracing the use of these eco-friendly fabrics. Look to see them incorporated into more mainstream fashion as consumers become educated on their benefits as well as their versatility and comfort.
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