Eco fabric - Being thoughtful with what you wear!
'You are what you wear'... or 'Your clothes reflect your personality', are common modern adages we hear, mouthed by style gurus.
If there is some truth to it, and forms an integral part of us, how many of us actually give it that importance and attention? Right down to its origin and how it is made…
We all love that jaw dropping bargain, discounts, and end-of-season sales, or for the more trend conscious, a big brand apparel. While we pay special attention to any news on the above, do we give that importance also to how the apparel has been produced?
Is it produced after leaving behind a large carbon footprint?
The textile industry, by far, is one of the major pollutants, second only to oil. Being one of the biggest industries, it produces one of the largest carbon emissions. Water, a dear resource in many parts of the world, is used up extensively in apparel and textile production.
So why does it create such a large carbon footprint?
Majority of the textile fiber produced is largely synthetic. Nylon and polyester are petrochemical based fibers. These are very popular fabrics used to produce a variety of apparels. And so is rayon, a chemically treated fiber. Apart from the huge energy volume it consumes in its production, it also ends up polluting the air, soil and water, because of the extensive deadly chemicals it utilizes in the production process.
Here are some deeply concerning facts that will make one sit up and take notice
- Polyester one of the most environmentally polluting fabric, and sadly the most popular, is much slower to decompose – approximately 200 years or more.
- Synthetic fiber, which is cheaper, and hence more popularly affordable, emits gases like nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
- Conventional cotton, extensively uses pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers and water, making it one of the largest pollutant of soil and water.
- Plastic microfibers shed from synthetic clothing, pollute our water bodies greatly endangering the world’s plant and marine life. This finally ends up in our food supply.
- A quarter of the chemicals produced globally are used in textile production during different stages, resulting in a rise in skin allergies, and skin cancer around the world.
The solution to this may actually lie with us – The Consumer
Knowing that what we choose to wear every day, has a huge impact on our planet and environment, can go a long way into shaping global fashion trends, and in turn raising the demand or popularity of environmentally friendly fabrics.
Eco fabrics use lesser energy and resources and are great for the environment and our skin.
There is a growing demand for eco fabrics, and more and more companies are dedicating time and resources towards discovering eco friendly clothing materials, that are clean, environmentally friendly and having great health benefits.
Some of the skin friendly fabric options are:
- Organic cotton is an eco friendly cotton fabric, grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. They are grown naturally, and are available in natural dyes, and with the age old natural block printing motif.
CLICK HERE to shop for organic cotton
- Linen, one of the oldest textiles in the world was extensively used, sometimes as a currency, during the Egyptian times. Lightweight and durable, linen fibre is derived from the flax plant. Handmade linen, especially uses the least energy and water. It is extremely breathable and great for the skin, especially during warm weather
- Bamboo, is a renewable grass, and is extremely hardy. Bamboo fabric is naturally hypoallergenic, and has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It is excellent for sensitive skin and is a part of the ecofriendly fabrics group.
- Banana fabric, a sustainable fabric, is made from the left over stalks of the banana plant. It is 100% biodegradable, highly absorbent and breathable, making it a great natural fabric.
- Corn fabric can be a great replacement for synthetic fiber. It has a low odor retention, easy to wear and gives a perfect drape. It is naturally stain resistant and has fire retardant properties.
- Pineapple Fabric is an ingenious fabric derived from the leaves of the pineapple. Pineapple fiber cloth is an ivory-white color and naturally glossy. This delicate and dreamy cloth is translucent, soft and fine with a high lustre. It is 100% hand woven and eco friendly and similar in look and feel as Linen.
Emerging trends in eco friendly fabric textiles include organic cotton blends with aloe vera, Vetiveer and soy!
Being part of the slow fashion movement, and making it a big part of the apparel industry, can also go a long way in contributing to the health of the environment. The slow fashion movement, as opposite to the fast fashion movement, ensures quality and lengthy garment life. Garments are, made using sustainable clothing materials, sometimes recycled, where consumers keep the garment longer than one season. It would also mean slower production of apparels, as opposed to a mass production basis.