7 Sustainable Fabrics For Garments

Monday 15th May 2023

The demand for sustainable textiles is rising, as we try to combat our negative impact on the environment. Clothing made of bamboo, hemp, or recycled polyester was practically unheard of just ten years ago, but they are now seen everywhere! So which material is the most environmentally friendly?

Understanding the sustainability credentials of these popular textiles is vital since there are so many options to choose from. As a clothing manufacturer, we understand you may be ready to take advantage on the eco-appeal, so you need to know what’s available to you!

What makes a fabric sustainable?

Durability

Unfortunately, the fashion business contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Solid waste contained in landfills includes a significant amount of unwanted clothing. Ideally, clothing constructed of stronger materials should last longer and is less likely to be thrown away.

Biodegradability

Biodegradable material is defined as material that can decompose in nature through the action of biological agents such as plants, bacteria, or animals, as well as other physical agents such as the sun or water, which transform these substances into compounds that serve as nutrients for the environment.

Recyclability

Using recycled materials to cut down on waste is one way to make the fashion industry more sustainable. This covers recycling old and worn clothing as well as pre-consumer waste, including surplus and waste generated during manufacture.

Types of Sustainable Clothing fabrics

Recycled Polyester

Recycled polyester is a substance that has been broken down into tiny fibres, from plastic water bottles and other items. The many throwaway plastic items we use daily can be recycled with the help of fabrics made of recycled polyester, which helps prevent plastics from ending up in landfills.

For garments like leggings that can't be made from 100% natural fibres, recycled polyester is a terrific option. Because it can be recycled and reused to make new items and because its manufacture produces less carbon emissions, it is a sustainable fabric.

Hemp

Hemp is a fast-growing plant that does not eat up soil nutrients. It also doesn't require a lot of water or pesticides, so farmers may use fewer chemicals on their crops. There are many advantages to using hemp withing clothing, including its durability. Hemp clothing is capable of lasting for years due to its super-strong fibre.

The fibres in the stalks of the hemp plant, like bamboo, offer the raw material that is spun into threads. The stalks are equally strong than bamboo, yet more flexible and adaptable. This means that far less chemical processing is required from stalk to thread.

Linen

The flax plant is used to make the fabric known as linen. Flax may flourish in different places where other plants can't, because it doesn't require a lot of fertilisers to grow.

Additionally, flax plants produce minimal waste as possible. There is no waste in the production of linen since every component of flax plants can be used. Flaxseeds and linseed oil are two examples of the numerous byproducts produced by this plant. The great biodegradability of linen is another benefit. Compared to most fabrics, it degrades far more quickly.

Cotton

Although cotton continues to be the most widely used raw material for textiles and garments, other substitutes are gaining ground.

The cotton plants' bolls are one of their many benefits, as they can be spun into fabrics and threads extremely quickly.

As the cotton is naturally white in colour, it can be easy to dye to any colour required.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a renewable plant that grows quickly and doesn't require a lot of water or fertiliser. It can be utilised to make sustainable and eco-friendly apparel because it is renewable nature.

It's a practical material since it is both highly comfortable and absorbing. Bamboo can absorb moisture, making it perfect for use on waterproof clothing.

Silk

Silk is a material created by silkworms, that solely ingest mulberry tree leaves. Mulberry trees are easy to cultivate and resistant to a wide range of pollutants. They also contribute to a low-waste product as they feed silkworms.

It's a lightweight, breathable fabric that acts as a natural temperature regulator. In cold weather, silk preserves body heat and absorbs extra heat in warm weather.

Wool

Wool is a renewable natural material and is a sustainable material since it can be sheared off an animal and regrow.

Wool clothing has a longer lifespan, requires fewer low-temperature washes, easily recyclable, biodegrades naturally in both land and water, and do not produce any microplastic pollution.

Want to know how we can help to improve the sustainability of your business's offering? View our alternatives for eco-friendly branding and labelling.