Over the past couple of decades, eco-friendly clothing has gained a considerable amount of attention. With brands churning out more clothes than the planet can handle, fast fashion is proving to be quite detrimental to the environment. One t-shirt uses nearly 2.5 year’s worth of water that an individual needs.
So if you look at the big picture, we don’t need as much water as our clothes do. Are there any alternatives? Just so that we are all on the same page, let’s start from the beginning.
What does eco-friendly clothing mean?
An article of clothing that doesn’t harm the environment during any stage of its production is considered to be eco-friendly. Wearing clothes made from this type of fabric is the first step towards sustainable fashion.
It’s important to understand that there is a difference between organic and eco-friendly fibers. Organic fibers are grown without chemicals, whether it’s pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. However, they may utilize a lot of resources, like water, during production.
On the other hand, eco-friendly fabrics may use a little pesticide, but processes are greener and aim at saving resources such as water and energy.
Where are we headed?
The future of fashion aims at becoming more eco-friendly. We need to reduce the impact that this industry has on Mother Nature. It’s the only plausible solution.
But this can only happen if consumers initiate a change. Increasing awareness about these concerns is only half the job. Bringing alternative options into the mainstream is the other half. Brands need to introduce eco-friendly apparel into their existing lines.
There are numerous environmental as well as health benefits of eco-friendly clothing. Some are:
- You’re doing your part in protecting Mother Nature.
- There is less strain on current resources.
- Fewer pesticides are used.
- Less toxic waste is released into the environment.
- The quality of the product is better.
- For people who have sensitive skin, the fabric won’t be harmful.
These are just a few advantages of eco-friendly clothing. Keeping them in mind, here’s a quick guide on which ones you can consider buying on your next shopping spree.
#1 Organic cotton fabric
Traditional, non-organic cotton is a soft, light-weight, breathable fabric made of natural fibers. As one of the most comfortable materials on the market, it is sold almost everywhere. However, the use of harmful pesticides and chemical input is damaging the ecosystem.
Organic cotton has become an alternative, especially since it is grown without the use of toxic chemicals and harsh processes. Moreover, it offers a fabric that has the same qualities as non-organic cotton. People Tree, Amour Vert, WAWWA, and WYNAD are just a few shops were you can buy organic cotton clothes.
However, Fashion United claims that even though the use of chemicals is limited, organic cotton requires almost double the amount of water to grow the same amount of cotton. Sustainable brands may need to find a more eco-friendly alternative.
#2 Hemp fabric
Hemp requires little or no pesticides during farming. In fact, this plant thrives with just minimal attention and needs considerably less water than cotton. Moreover, it doesn’t deplete the soil of nutrients.
As a natural fiber, it does not require any chemical processing. Hemp fabric provides a high-quality, durable, soft material that is biodegradable. It’s especially beneficial to people with sensitive skin because of how gentle it is against the skin as well as naturally UV resistant.
However, it must be imported because growing the plant in the US isn’t legal. This makes the clothes more expensive. But you can easily find stylish clothes made of hemp fabric in Groceries Apparel, Shift To Nature, and Wallis Evera.
#3 Tencel fabric
Tencel, also known as lyocell, is a soft, comfortable, absorbent, and lightweight fabric. Since it’s naturally developed from wood cellulose or pulp from trees, this biodegradable fabric is the ideal solution for sustainable fashion. In fact, its versatile and wrinkle-resistant qualities make it a favorite among designers. And since it’s initially bright white, the fabric does not have to be bleached, another plus for the environment.
But even though non-toxic solvents are used during the production of Tencel, other harmful chemicals are utilized to turn the fibers into fabric. However, these chemicals are recycled instead of being released into the ecosystem.
To shop for this eco-friendly material, brands such as BN3TH, VETTA, and Gung Ho carry various eco-friendly products, from innerwear to jumpsuits.
#4 Linen fabric
Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant, which can be grown without the use of pesticides. Though laborious to manufacture, it is the preferred choice of many.
Linen is a soft, breathable fabric ideal for lightweight summer clothes. Durable and absorbent, it dries faster than cotton. And it a favorite in hot, humid weather because of its exceptional coolness and freshness. Unfortunately, the only drawback is that linen wrinkles easily.
Shoppers can find linen fabrics in various stores, such as Reformation, Posse, and Black Crane.
#5 Soy Silk/Cashmere
Soy silk/cashmere is a luxurious, versatile fabric that is being used for a variety of clothes. Many demand this material simply because it’s machine washable and wrinkle resistant. Moreover, the soft, all-natural fabric falls gracefully on your body. So buying good cashmere is a great fashion investment. Well, that’s the price you pay for excellence. Shops like Frock L.A., Everlane, and Cuyana carry a variety of clothes.
#6 Bamboo fabric
Bamboo is being used to make clothes. Surprising, isn’t it? In fact, bamboo fabric is quite durable and soft to the touch. Moreover, it’s suitable for all climates. Clothes made from this fabric help keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And, it is 3-4 times more absorbent than traditional cotton.
One of the most significant benefits of bamboo fabric is that it comes from an abundant, renewable source that requires limited use of chemicals. Above all, the bamboo plant grows relatively quickly and is ready to be harvested every four years. And since it’s biodegradable, it’s a well-known material for sustainable fashion.
However, the process of converting the plant into the fabric is intensively chemical. But there is another eco-friendly alternative. Unfortunately, it’s more labor-intensive and expensive.
Royal Apparel, Bamboosa, and Cariloha are some brands that manufacture clothes made from bamboo fabric.
Clothes made of rayon, viscose, polyester, and nylon are manufactured with less water and are cheaper. But they are often produced from toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
Therefore choosing green clothing is a conscientious choice. You can make a difference by purchasing products made from materials that do not harm the planet. It’s time to search for brands with sustainable ethics.
Are you willing to wear clothes that are responsible for damaging the world we live in?