Fruganomics

16 green fabrics to make your fashion choices more sustainable

green fibres can be beautiful

With environmental awareness growing in the fashion industry an amazing array of new sustainable fabrics are becoming available. Here are some super green fabrics that are better for the environment than traditional fabrics.

I am hoping to add to this page as more sustainable materials come along.

Bamboo: the planet’s fastest-growing tree and one of the best green fabrics. Green fabrics score: 7

sustainable banana fabric

Banana: different! and definitely an interesting way to do fashion. Read more

Hemp: sustainable, low environmental impact green fabric and often comes in organic fabric. But it’s still considered a bit whacky and hippie, so it can be expensive and difficult to find. I’ll score it 8 for sustainability.

Ingeo fibre: Ingeo fibre is produced by taking the sugar from corn and putting it through a process called polymerisation, which turns the sugar into plastic. From NatureWorks LLC

Lenpur: This soft and light fabric is made from white pine tree clippings, it has a high absorption capacity and can sustain a high thermal range keeping you cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Linen: a fabric made from flax, found in many a stylist wardrobe. Green fabrics score: 9

Lyocell: made from biodegradable wood pulp using chemical-free processes. Can be blended with other fibers to create fabrics like SeaCell and Hempcel. Green fabric score: 8

Merino: a moisture-retaining wool, favoured by sportswear manufacturers for its warmth and practicality. Runners love it! Green fabrics score: 6

nettle is one of the best green fabrics

Nettle: made from stinging nettles, tough yet soft and naturally fire retardant, nettle fabric is often made the traditional way by local communities. From Green Nettle Textiles. I’ll give this a score of 8.

Organic cotton: cotton ordinarily involves the use of massive amounts of chemicals. Organic cotton cuts out the chemicals, so it’s better for the environment and for the people growing/harvesting it, but still uses vast quantities of water and land. Green fabrics score: 9

ramie, a green fabric

Ramie: Ramie is a strong and durable fibre from the ramie plant. The plant is naturally resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew and does not require pesticides or herbicides to grow healthily.

Repreve: claims to be the world’s favourite recycled fibre, Repreve is made from recycled water bottles. More than 21 billion bottles recycled so far!

Seacell: derived from wood pulp and seaweed, Seacell contains microscopic particles of marine algae fibre that aid in cellular regeneration.

SoySilk: : This lesser known 100% biodegradable eco-friendly fabric is made from tofu-manufacturing waste. Because soy has high protein content, the fabric is very receptive to natural dyes, so there’s no need for synthetic dyes. Sustainability score: 7

Sugar cane: traditionally used to make jeans. A good use of a “waste” product, so scores 8 for sustainability.

Tencel (aka Lyocell): made from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees. Chemicals are used in the process to turn it into fibre, but it’s done in a closed-loop system so nothing escapes into the environment. Expensive, but absolutely gorgeous to wear next to the skin. And at the end of its life it is fully biodegradable. Even though it’s man-made, sustainability score: 6

See also: Seven green alternatives to micro plastic

Images: Nettle scarves – Green Nettle Textiles; banana fabric – The Sustainable Angle; ramie – Wikipedia;

Clive Margolis

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