Green Clothes

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Bamboo Fiber – The Fabric of 21st Century

Bamboo Fibre – The Fabric of 21st Century

When you start thinking of bamboo you will start with imagining panda or baboon forests, landscaping and about construction industry etc. Rarely would it ever occur to you that bamboo may also have a use as a fabric, and that to an extremely exquisite one. Employing very eco-friendly and natural techniques of processing the bamboo fibre can be turned into a fabric which exceeds cotton in its softness and silk in its drape. Further advantages of bamboo fibre include inexpensiveness, durability and eco-friendliness due to the minimal amount of signature that its formation leaves on the environment; which is less than organic cotton when compared.

Apart from this, bamboo fabric can be used in all four seasons of the years and it is compatible with all sorts of skin; sensitive or not. In summers it offers features like high absorption capabilities and non-stickiness with your skin. The natural pores that exist in the bamboo fibre allow for excellent ventilation of air and therefore, bamboo cloth can keep you cool even during the hottest of the days. All these properties were associated with cotton but when we look closely they exist more in bamboo cloth than in any other fabric.

Getting bamboo for making fibre and processing it has the minimum amount of effect on the environment and therefore the fabric formed from bamboo fibre is graded green and eco-friendly. Whereas most of the forests would take as long as over 60 years for recovering completely, an average bamboo forest has the ability to fully recover in three years at max. This keeps the environmentalists away from raising slogans against it and ensures sustainability as well. With every growth cycle, the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are consumed by bamboo plants to grow up again, which means that it is actually cleaning up the environment.

Unlike cotton, which is the prime source of fabrics nowadays, there is no need of using chemical pesticides on bamboo. In fact, “bamboo kun” which is thought to be an excellent anti-bacterial substance and bacteriostasis bio-agent can be mixed with bamboo fibre during the process of its formation. This adds anti-bacterial properties to the bamboo fabric which stays on it quite permanently even after washing scores of times. And unlike the addition of anti-bacterial agents with other fabrics, bamboo kun is complementary for all skin types and does not develop any sort of irritations.

The use of bamboo fibre for making fabrics and clothes is on the rise these days. With textile industry previously been over-taken completely by the people ignorant to the environment and health of their consumers, now things are moving into the right direction. Due to the added pressure from environmental enthusiasts and growing awareness about consumer benefits, textile owners have to use eco-friendly and human health friendly materials like bamboo to fashion out clothes now. Bamboo fibre can be rich in colours and the exquisite touch of softness, absorption, durability and anti-bacterial properties make it stand out clearly among all its rivals.

Bamboo fabrics are so cool and well ventilated that they received a title of “Air-Conditioning Dress”. Bamboo fibre absorbs the sweat very well during the hot spells and is able to dry quickly. Plus it is very soft and does not get stuck with your skin during really warm and humid conditions. The ability of being processed with anti-bacterial and deodorizing substances makes it very safe for health and for use by people with all skin types. Although, unlike most of its competitors, bamboo has no long history of being used as an eco-friendly fabric yet it has become one of the most important ones in today’s context.

Bamboo fabric is really making it to the lime light now as more and more fashion designers – who call themselves eco-fashion designers – revert to bamboo fabric to be used in their fashion collections. The greatest use of bamboo fabric has been made in making baby garments and linens due to the softness and absorption that it offers. Even lingerie today is being manufactured from bamboo fabric due to its cotton like comfort and silk like feel. It is also used in fashioning yoga pants due to the kind of unique comfort it offers that you need to focus completely.

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Eco-Friendly Fabrics

So what determines the environmental friendliness or eco-friendly materials and substances are the current buzzwords of today? Everyone is looking for materials that are not harmful to Mother Nature rather on the contrary they are complementing to the nature. In the past, the only basis of selection for our clothing was either style or price but now there is an addition to this criterion as well. Environmental friendliness has also been integrated into the criterion of cloth selection and that is the primary reason why eco-friendly fabrics are gaining prominence every day. Eco-friendly fabrics have been there for quite some time but it is now, due to increased environmental awareness, that everyone is taking interest in them.

Apart from the hue and cry raised by the environmentalists and the awareness created for saving Mother-Nature there is the factor that these eco-friendly fabrics are also better for the health of the user than using the ordinary clothes that we wear ordinarily every day. The reason for eco-friendly fabrics being better for ordinary everyday user’s health is that they are not taken from polluted sources. All eco-friendly fabrics are grown or manufactured in a very environment friendly manner which includes the condition that there is no use made of harmful chemicals like pesticides.  Why does this matter?  Intensive scientific testing has proven that the human body actually absorbs the residual chemicals from the fibers that are woven into clothing!

Some of the eco-friendly fabrics available for your better choices today are:

•  Organic cotton
•  Hemp
•  Bamboo
•  Soy (Wha?!  Yes, Soy.  See our other articles about soy.)

To make sure that the eco-friendly fabrics are really eco-friendly and not bogus claims, there are strict measures that the producers and manufacturer of such fabrics have to follow. First of all, the criterion is to use no chemicals or pesticides on your crops if you are using naturally grown material for your fabric. This constitutes to “organic”  designation.  If you are not using natural crops to make eco-friendly fabrics you should use completely biodegradable material with no harmful chemicals used in dying or other processes of fabric formation. If the material is not biodegradable it must completely obtained from recycled resources.  This is what is referred to as “sustainable” material.

The checks and balances are not only reserved for the manufacturing and pre-manufacturing part but even small things such as transportation of these materials from the country of origin to the country of consumption or processing is also brought into consideration when awarding the title of eco-friendly fabrics to any fabric. Hence, the criterion covers every aspect from plant growth to the transportation of these materials and the product that satisfies each of these standards is then titled as eco-friendly fabric.

Eco-friendly fabrics are undoubtedly better both for the consumer directly and the environment that we live in but there is one downside to these eco-friendly fabrics as well. This down side is the extra price that such materials cost to you. Growing crops such as cotton and jute without using pesticides is costly. Similarly, replacing chemicals in dying and manufacturing process makes the production of the final product more expensive than ordinary. And lastly the transportation criterion for eco-friendly fabrics also contributes in raising the cost quite a bit. This is the reason why all such eco-friendly products cost so much more than ordinary products, and eco-friendly fabrics is no exception. This limits the affordability of such materials only to the well off people.

While not every piece of fabric can lay claim to all of different “green” criteria of being sustainable,  organic or fair trade, they are all positive steps in the right direction of dressing in harmony with Earth.

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Bamboo Lingerie – Rachel McAdams Goes Eco Friendly

May-3-2009
Green Clothes

Rachel McAdams, the Canadian superstar is campaigning to help the environment in a new way. She has been coaxing women around the world to use lingerie made from bamboo to help save the environment from global warming.

Rachel, who has acted in many movies, became a star after her role in the movie Notebook which was an adaptation of Nicholas Spark’s novel of the same name. She then started using her celebrity status to support environmental issues. She has even launched an environmental website called greenissexy.org. This website, a joint creation of three friends including Rachel, gives you numerous environment friendly tips to use in your daily life to help reduce your carbon footprint.

Bamboo underwear she says is, “a very sexy thing to do”, in addition she says, “They sound quite painful but they’re actually quite soft. I’ve also got soy underwear!”

Bamboo has many different environmental benefits as it is a renewable source and produces more oxygen compared to most trees on our planet. Now, environmentalists and fashion designers have come together to produce bamboo underwear. They are not what you might imagine them to be. Like Rachel says, there are quite soft. In fact, they are as comfortable as any other underwear you’d ever wear. Another benefit of bamboo underwear is that it dries at a faster rate compared to regular cloth underwear. They also allow your body to breathe better, this helps in dealing with odor problems as well and above everything else they are chemical free.

Rachel and her friends have been doing a fantastic job with their website for the past two years. On the eve of the websites second anniversary she said, “We’re coming on our two-year anniversary of GreenIsSexy.org and the environmental community has really opened up online. That’s the amazing thing about the Internet – for all the problems and concerns, the relationships you can develop with people who are on the same wavelength and deeply care about the same things is immediate and it’s vast.”

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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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