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Archive for the ‘Eco Fabrics’ Category

5 Sustainable Clothing Trends in Fabrics

Apr-12-2009
Eco Fabrics

The terms ‘sustainable clothing’ and ‘organic clothing’ are often used together and both essentially belong to the same genre of eco-friendly clothing materials. Although, they serve the same purpose and can be broadly classified as Green eco-fashion materials there are a few minor difference between the two. The difference doesn’t lie in their approach to the concept of being green or eco-friendly but their origins.

While organic clothing evolved from the movement of organically developed materials, sustainable clothing is more of an environmental consciousness that is slowly gaining momentum. Sustainable clothing also emphasizes upon the recycling of goods in our daily use. Essentials for a clothing material to be considered suited for ecological purposes, i.e. being sustainable:

  • Clothing material is derived from renewable/recycled raw materials
  • Efficient use of production resources such as energy, manpower and water with preference for using renewable inputs for manufacturing
  • Creating absolutely safe clothing material with regards to consumer health and the environment

Some Of The Most Noteworthy Materials Used In Sustainable Clothing

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is best suited for clothing meant for the hotter temperatures. It can absorb the sweat and lets it evaporate within seconds. This creates a natural mechanism of dispelling heat and maintaining fabric breathability. New fabrics being created from bamboo are equally adept for keeping you warmer in colder conditions. Bamboo-created clothing is naturally anti-bacterial and odor free.

How is it sustainable?

  • Bamboo grows without any artificial assistance, i.e. it is totally natural and sustainable as it doesn’t need pesticides and fertilizers
  • Bamboo plant is not uprooted like other plants. This helps to maintain the soil’s stability.
  • Bamboo yield in terms of per acre is nearly 10 times more than that for cotton
  • More bamboo plantations will mean more neutralization of greenhouse gases

2. Lyocell

This is produced from the cellulose found in wood. This makes Lyocell one of the purest forms of sustainable clothing. The fabric adheres to all quality demands meant for medical or technical compatibility.

How is it sustainable?

  • Its production is extremely eco-friendly and doesn’t use harmful dyes and chemicals and the Lyocell fiber is 100% bio-degradable
  • The end product is strikingly similar to cotton and hence, this makes it a very useful substitute for current manufacturing demands
  • Since, it is derived from wood, it can be regarded as the most replenishable and hence, the most sustainable form of clothing
  • Cellulose extraction uses nearly negligible artificially-produced extraction agents

3. Hemp

It is famous for being the most durable among all natural fibers and is often called the miracle fiber. It is lightweight, long-lasting, highly-absorbent and much stronger than other fibers. It is best suited for outdoor wear being weather resistant.

How is it sustainable?

  • Hemp crop does not need pesticides and uses a very little amount of water
  • It is known for enriching the soil where it is grown since it has an exhaustive root system which also helps to prevent soil-erosion
  • Extremely cost-effective to grow and has minimal agricultural requirements

4. Soy Fiber

Soy blended or pure soy fiber clothing has some excellent qualities like having a luster that is similar to silk and absorbs moisture like cotton. However, it offers the best of ventilation when compared with these two conventional fabrics.

How is it sustainable?

  • Its manufacturing is an example of bioengineering and proteins are extracted from sources like soybean oil and soymilk
  • This makes it a recycled product, since it is akin to creating something useful from a conventional manufacturing process
  • It is highly sustainable since by-products like soybean dregs are further used as fodder or natural fertilizer

5. Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is a huge improvement over the traditionally-grown cotton. For starters, it is grown following strict regulations that prevent the use of chemicals that can enter the fiber. Even its harvesting is less automated to ensure that the soil isn’t being drained. Perhaps, the only natural resource it does drain to a certain extent is water.

How is it sustainable?

  • Organic cotton is grown in a manner that actually replenishes the ecosystem rather than exhausting its nutrients
  • It is grown without using conventional chemical/toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
  • Only certified or organic facilities are allowed to procure/manufacture organic clothing and they use only low-impact dyes or mineral-based shades that don’t affect the consumers or the environment

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Soy, soy soft!

Since I love clothes almost as much as I love our beautiful earth, I’ve long been frustrated that I’ve not been able to find attractive and comfortable clothing that is also ethical and sustainable. I am all about celebrating the love of living green – even in our closets! I’m excited about the latest fabrics being used to paint your closet green, so I want to tell the world!

Okay, so I like me a little soy sauce, soy milk and edamame. I even like the occasional soy burger. But who would guess that my latest soy passion is my soybean SWEATER!? Before you create images of tofu cardigans, let me tell you why I’ve left behind my old love, cashmere, for my new love, soy!

In the first place, there are no humiliated, bald, Kashmir goats running around anywhere devouring precious crops to support my addiction. Soy has for over 5,000 years been a healthy and sustainable crop used in the production of consumables such as food and drugs, valued as an affordable source of oil and protein. But recently (relatively speaking) some clever chap figured out to take the spent fibers that remained as “waste” after the production of milk and tofu, and spin it into a fabulous fiber that can be woven into sensuous fabric with the elegant luster and drape of silk! I’ve gotta meet this guy!

Woven soy fabrics have a soft smooth hand, comparable to that of a silk and cashmere blend. And they are stronger than wool, cotton and silk. It is the only natural fiber that is resistant to both fungus and moths! I’ll save a fortune from moth destruction alone! Soy is more fade resistant, pill resistant, wrinkle resistant, shrink resistant than cotton and silk. It absorbs moisture like cotton, yet vents even better, not to mention that it is anti-bacterial while providing great UV protection. What better fabric for outdoor-wear can you imagine. And those precious little goats get to keep their winter coats!

So even if you aren’t on the Sierra Club‘s mailing list and never plan to be, you still have to try out this amazing new fabric because everyone looks better wearing Green Clothes!

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