Sustainable fashion is the latest initiative to voice the grassroots environmental movement. Both textile designers and fashion designers are trying their hands on eco friendly fabrics. They are adopting responsible garment manufacturing techniques. Mostly organic raw materials are employed for manufacturing eco friendly fabrics. Even recycled materials such as discarded plastics are used to make fashion garments and accessories. Raw materials such as bamboo, hemp, cotton are grown without pesticides. Eco friendly fabrics do not involve the use of harmful bleaches, chemicals or colors. Budding entrepreneurs involved in eco friendly fabric production and trading provide fair wages and hygienic working conditions to their workers. However, sustainable fashion is found to be more expensive than clothing produced by conventional methods.
What are some of the popular Eco friendly Fabrics?
Next time when you are out for shopping, make sure that you are picking your dress materials in a responsible and environment friendly way.
Hemp: This eco-fiber belongs to the family of cannabis. Industrial hemp cultivation is considered illegal in U.S.A. because the species is closely linked with marijuana. However, studies have revealed that industrial hemp does not contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol (the chemical responsible for the addiction). Hemp fiber requires less water during cultivation. It does not require any additional pesticides for growth and the farm land on which it is grown need not be rested between seasons as hemp improves the quality of the soil as well, hence this is an Eco friendly fabric. If you want to buy Hemp fabrics, try the website Hemp Traders which seem to have wholesale prices and names of companies that sell hemp fabrics.
Ingeo: Another ecofriendly fabric, and is the first manmade fiber manufactured from renewable resources. It is produced from corn and has excellent UV resistance and resilience. It does not absorb odors or stains. Ingeo need not be necesarily made only from corn but can be made from any source that has abundant sugar such as beets, wheat, sugarcane etc and definitely does not use genetically modified stock. Ingeo can also be used to make other products such as bottles, food packagaing, cartons, lactides which are used to produce polymers and copolymers. Ingeo is the trademark for NatureworksLLc manufactured fiber from corn.
Jute: Jute finds use in making rugs, bags, carpets, ropes and twines. This is an eco-friendly fabric material since it is carbon dioxide neutral (net carbon released is zero). One hectare of jute field absorbs 15 tons of carbon dioxide and releases 11 tons of oxygen. Hence, it has a purifying effect on the atmosphere. They are 100% biodegradable and recyclable. When cultivated in rotation with other crops, jute can improve the growth of the other crops.
Hessian Cloth: Is also known as Burlap. Another eco friendly fabric since it is produced from jute and hemp. It is resilient. The color of the fabric makes it suitable for military clothing. The color is close to dense foliage which helps in camouflage. It is more refinednow and is used ot make bags, rugs etc. Was initially used by Germans to make clothes for soldiers and since the soldiers were from teh state od Hessen they were called Hessians and thus the fabric got its name Hessiah cloth.
Calico: Calico is also referred to as muslin. It is printed cotton which is more patterns. It is made from unbleached cotton. Calico is an eco friendly fabric compared to plastic. In the year 2004, 15,000 calico bags were exchanged with plastic bags in Sydney for the Environment Day program.
Recycled Polyester: Used polyester is used for making these fabrics. The company Patagonia became famous for its recycled polyester fabric apparels. The company encourages people to bring used Capilene base layer for recycling. However, recycled polyester cannot be labeled as eco friendly because the raw material is synthetic.
Organic Cotton: This eco friendly fabric material requires least fertilizers and pesticides for its growth. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifies the authenticity of organic cotton.
Bamboo Fiber: Bamboo fibers are great for making summer clothes as they absorb moisture from the body. Bamboo plants can survive drought conditions. Bamboo grove releases 35% more oxygen than regular trees and reduces soil erosion. These fibers are produced from bamboo pulp and can be dyed easily.
Ramie: This natural fiber is 8 times stronger than cotton. It is native to Asia, and commonly known as “China Grass”. It can easily withstand hot temperatures and does not shrink. Ramie is commonly blended with cotton upto 55% to get beter lustre and strength. Ramie fabric can be used to make apparel, linens, woven fire hoses, canvas, paper and when blended with wool, reduces the shrinking of wool fabric. Some of the finished Ramie fabrics are sold by Swicofil AG, Sichuan JTC Garments Company Ltd sells ramie materials and apparels but if you are looking for wholesalers there are many manufacturers you can find online..
Tencel: It is 100% biodegradable fabric made from cellulose derived from wood pulp. A non toxic solvent is used during its manufacturing. This solvent is 99% recyclable and reusable. Tencel can be bought from Zona Clothes and Amazon.com. It is usually mixed with cotton, nylon and polyesters.
Soy Silk: It is the by-product of tofu manufacturing. Soy silk fiber is available in three varieties namely Phoenix, Oasis and Infinity. They can be purchased from “Crown mountain farms” and “The Yarn Grove”. The texture of this fiber is soft and lustrous and suitable for apparel making.
Milk Silk: This is a very interesting eco-friendly fabric made from milk. The Chinese company Cyarn was the first one to produce milk silk. The company has received Oeko-Tex Standard 100 green certification. Milk silk can be bought from Piscotta Cashmere.
Nettle Fiber: Nettle is commonly known as weed. It is a natural moth repellant and also used in Nepal for fine clothing and sail cloth. These fabrics provide good insulation.
Organic Linen: It is derived from flax seed and can be produced from organic cotton or hemp. Crespi1797 is a company that makes organic linen from flax. Apart from that, Mikkawork, Rawganique and Ecolinen also manufacture organic linen.
Fortrel: It is branded fabric of Wellman Inc. This fiber is used for apparels, carpets, blankets, automobile interiors, fiberfill, and home furnishing materials. These fibers are manufactured from discarded plastic containers.
For additional information on Eco Friendly Fibers, click on the links below: