THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUSTAINABLE AND NON-SUSTAINABLE FABRICS
Also known as eco fashion, sustainable fashion emerged from society's need to rethink its conduct from an ecological point of view.
Eco Fashion or Sustainable Fashion is based on methods of producing garments that are less harmful to the environment and is increasingly popular in the fashion world, both by those who create it and those who consume it.
As a result of this phenomenon, people also began to think about making the raw material more and more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and that is how sustainable fabrics emerged.
It is well known that sustainable fabrics are those that generate less impact on the environment, from the manufacturing process to the disposal and reuse of materials.
Also known as eco-friendly fabrics, sustainable fabrics are made from materials such as organic cotton, hemp, linen, modal, soy silk and orange silk.
If you are still in doubt about whether a fabric is sustainable or not, we advise you to consider the following questions:
- Does it affect the environment intensely when being produced?
- Do you use chemical agents in fabric production?
- And the final disposal, is it biodegradable or recyclable?
We defend that being aware of information about the production process and the raw material, and possible subsequent and final damage, is the best way to find out if the fabric is really sustainable.
However, be aware that not all sustainable fabrics are necessarily biodegradable.
This means that sustainable fabrics can come from organic or reusable materials, and therefore also be biodegradable.
Biodegradable fabrics can be made from natural raw material, natural-based artificial fibers or chemically altered synthetic fiber to decompose faster.
As the terminology itself indicates, its main characteristic is its degradation time, which can reach a few weeks. This happens when the raw material in question is left in a landfill or compost and is exposed to local characteristics, suffering the action of microorganisms present there.
An example of this type of material is biodegradable polyamide. This raw material was developed to decompose faster after being discarded, and a traditional fiber, for example, would take from ten to a hundred years to be able to do the same process.
Here are some examples of sustainable fabrics:
Organic cotton: An alternative to conventional cotton. Organic cotton has a reduced use of chemical products, in addition to other natural resources, representing a more sustainable option for big brands. It is a fabric often used to make jeans, shirts and underwear.
Hemp: One of the most sustainable plant fibers in the world and is produced from the Cannabis sativa plant, so it doesn't need chemicals like herbicides and pesticides to grow. It is a strong fabric with remarkable durability.
Banana fiber: Highly resistant material that can be used in sustainable fabrics similar to cotton and silk, for example, in kimonos.
Orange fiber: Produced from orange bagasse cellulose, orange fiber has a silk-like finish. It is light, smooth and can be glossy or opaque.
Soy Fiber: Manufactured from soy industry processing waste, soy silk is soft, has good pigment absorption, an antibacterial action, and is UV resistant.
Lenpur: This raw material is made of white pine and has a great capacity for moisture absorption and release. It can be used in home textiles, jeans, socks and various clothing.
Linen: It’s a resistant and versatile material, which requires low irrigation to be cultivated and no pesticides in your plantation. It is through its stem and root that the fibers to be used in the composition of fabrics for accessories, bedspreads, clothes and bedding, table and bath articles are extracted.
Lyocell: It’s made from the cellulose present in the wood pulp and the solvents used are almost totally recycled after the process. Can be used for items such as pants and shirts.
Modal: Hass a production very similar to lyocell. It is a fiber made from wood bark, free from harmful solvents. This material has a soft touch and is ideal for lingerie pieces.
Piñatex: Made with fiber from pineapple leaves, the piñatex material is a leather that can be used in accessories, clothing and shoes.
Biodegradable polyamide: It’s a type of material that is easily degradable as it can completely decompose in just three years. This kind of raw material can be used in bikinis, footwear and other types of garments.
Qmilk: Is a fiber derived from milk, all natural and requires low water consumption and no addition of chemicals. This fabric has an antibacterial action, a very soft feel and can be used both in curtains and sportswear.
On the other hand, it is also important to remember which are the least sustainable fabrics that are part of our clothing universe. Examples of this are cotton, which despite being a natural and biodegradable fiber, needs a large amount of water to be produced, synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon or acrylic, because they are not biodegradable and because they are produced with oil, and animal-derived materials such as wool, leather and fur.
The importance of knowledge about sustainable and non-sustainable fabrics becomes relevant because when it comes to pollution, the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors in the world. And, the materials that make up the fabrics used impact and directly contribute to increased water consumption, microplastic pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, forest destruction and, finally, present waste in landfills.
Given the threat of climate change, global warming, the continuous loss of biodiversity and damage to human health caused by industrial activity, the sustainable consumption of clothing is a growing trend all over the world.
Therefore, we conclude that, in addition to the creation of movements such as Slow Fashion, and the expansion of local production, it is also necessary to take into account the materials used in the manufacture of clothes, as well as the environmental and social consequences of their own manufacture.