Sustainability is about maintaining harmony in social, economic, ecological, and cultural divergence. So, it’s not just about producing and selling eco-friendly products. Top 10 sustainable textile and apparel products are ways forward to it.
Ever since fashion evolved many changes in terms of product, technology, uses, economy, and social status have happened with time. As population and economy have grown fashion and lifestyle have changed across the world.
There have been many factors where the fashion and Apparel industry has a negative impact on the social and ecological system. The community of the fashion industry is adopting sustainability to overcome the negative impacts of fashion.
- Organic Cotton – Since regular cotton production needs synthetic fertilizers and pesticides land and air pollution have been the biggest concern for textile and apparel industry. Organic cotton is eco-friendly way of producing cotton without using harmful chemicals.
- BCI Cotton – The Better Cotton Initiative is a non-profit, multistakeholder governance group that promotes better standards in cotton farming and practices across more than 20 countries. This system has been introduced for the welfare of farmers. However, BCI Cotton are not Organic Cotton.
- Fairtrade Mark Cotton – Similar to BCI cotton implemented West and Central Africa, the FAIRTRADE Mark is the symbol of the international Fairtrade system – and the most globally recognized ethical label. When you buy products with any of the FAIRTRADE Marks, you support farmers and workers as they improve their lives and their communities.
- Recycled Cotton – Recycled cotton can be generally defined as converting cotton fabric into cotton fiber that can be reused in textile products. Recycled cotton is also commonly referred to as regenerated cotton, reclaimed cotton, or shoddy.
Denim is made from cotton, which means that’s millions of litres of water spent on making jeans. This is not enough, chemicals used for dyeing and washing process make big pollution to water. Adopting below options are alternatives for sustainable denim products:
- Closed-loop water – It can save 1000 ltrs of water used per jeans.
- Without Stone washing and acid wash – Laser technologies are being used as alternative however brands adopting denim products without these washes is the best solution.
- Use Recycled Fiber – Using recycled and regenerated fibers save resources and is a sustainable process for denim fabric production.
Linen fabric is the finished product of Flax plant and it can be produced with natural fertilizers. This is one of the natural fibers used for sustainable fabric and apparel products.
- Peace Silk – Traditional silk is made by insects? Silk is made by silkworms when they make their cocoons, which are then collected by hand, boiled, and spun into threads. Yes, you read that right – the boiling process kills silkworms in their cocoons before they’ve developed into moths. And it takes around 5,000 silkworms to make a pure silk kimono. So it’s not a vegan material, nor a cruelty-free fabric. Peace silk is a relatively new answer to this. Silkworms are given the time to develop into moths, and their empty cocoons are then collected to create peace silk.
- Cupro – If you’d prefer a vegan, silk-like material that’s much more widely available, cupro may be your answer. Cupro is a circular fibre, meaning it has been made from recycled garments. It is a rayon fibre made from cellulose (usually cotton) that is dissolved in cuprammonium solution. However, when made responsibly, cupro is a great alternative to silk. It’s fine, sheer, and can feel soft to the touch. It’s a step in the right direction when it comes to recycling, but it would be great to see the chemical process changed in the future.
5. Bamboo / Ecovero / Lyocell / Modal / Tencel / Rayon / Viscose
When bamboo is harvested, it can be done without killing the plant itself. That means that bamboo can renew super quickly (it’s one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet). Like hemp, bamboo consumes more CO2 than some trees. It doesn’t require a lot of inputs and can survive on rainfall alone.
The problem with bamboo fiber is that it requires a lot of land to produce a significant amount of fabric or say the demand fashion industry has for Viscose/Rayon/Lyocell fabric. Moreover, the process from plant to fabric requires a lot of chemicals and energy. Under the certified process, bamboo trees are produced on dedicated land with the system of replantation against deforestation.
6. Vegan Leather
Researches have been on for the absolute alternative for vegan leather. A company like Pinatex has come up with Vegan Leather made of Pineapple. Obviously, it has entered the sustainable fashion world as a sustainable and cruelty-free replacement for leather.
It’s essentially a food byproduct, made from scrap pineapple leaves that are otherwise burned. It reduces waste and can biodegrade naturally even when frequently combined with wood-based PLA.
7. Recycled Polyester
Recycled polyester comes from used plastic bottles and plastic bags which are thrown as garbage making places toxic. The technology is yet to come to practice where 100% recycled polyester can replace virgin polyester without affecting the performance of the fabric.
8. Wool & Cashmere
Alternative plant-based wools have taken the world by storm, including this one — made from hemp, coconut fibers, and mushroom enzymes. This vegan wool is not only animal-friendly, but is also sustainable!
Mushrooms have made it into a lot of sustainable vegan fabrics recently.
Hemp is a natural plant fiber. It is a bast fiber, which means it comes from the stem of a plant (like linen, which hemp is often likened to, in addition to ramie, jute, flax, and bamboo).
In terms of sustainability, hemp is often considered a preferred fiber with less harmful environmental impact.
10. Recycled Nylon (aka Econyl)
Similar to polyester Nylons are made of petroleum products too. Recycled Nylon is made from recycled plastic (often plastic bottles, fishing net, and other easily-recycled plastic items), it’s the sustainable answer for bikinis, rainwear, and other items too.