What are Sustainable Fabrics?
Sustainable fabrics are often made from natural or recycled materials, aiming to reduce harm either through the production process, fiber properties, or overall environmental impact.
These fabrics can also contribute to waste reduction, water conservation, lowered emissions, and soil regeneration—though there isn’t one fabric that is entirely sustainable.
Sustainable clothing fabric is derived from eco friendly resources, such as sustainable grown fiber crops, and also recycled materials. But it also refers to how the eco fabric is made.
You’ll find that “sustainable fabrics” is a term often used to group together various environmentally friendly materials, and several fabrics have garnered the “sustainable” label for different reasons.
The method of creating the fabric and the production processes used, affects the environmental impact, and determines the sustainability.
Which are the 7 Most Sustainable Fabrics ?
Bamboo is a fast-growing, regenerative crop that doesn’t require fertilization and is often touted as a sustainable garment fabric—though there are concerns about land clearing and harvesting methods (something to ask a brand about before purchasing a garment).
That said, bamboo is incredibly absorbent, comfortable, and moisture-wicking, making it a favorite with sustainable brands.
Bamboo is a highly breathable, soft and smooth fiber. Features of this fiber include antibacterial and anti fungal qualities and no micro-plastics.
Bamboo is also a sustainable, renewable flooring alternative that is eco friendly, affordable and durable.
Hemp is a specific type of cannabis plant. It’s fast-growing, doesn’t exhaust the soil, and doesn’t require pesticides. Hemp creates a durable fabric that’s non-irritating for skin and has many uses. It’s often used in place of cotton.
The great thing about hemp is that it’s grown all around the world and it requires very little water, no pesticides, and naturally fertilises the soil it grows in – making it much better for the environment than other crops.
One of the oldest fibers in the world, hemp helps keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, and gets softer the more you wash it.
Linen is made from flax, which can be grown without fertilizer and planted in areas where other crops cannot thrive.
Flax is hardy and does not require as much water as other possibilities, such as cotton. Farmers can also successfully grow flax with relatively low pesticide usage.
Flax can also be used in its entirety (seeds, oil, and crop), meaning there’s no waste. Linen is also biodegradable—as long as harsh chemicals are left out of the process.
The downside to linen is that it can be expensive as it’s often made overseas.
Cotton is one of the most common and most used fabrics. This natural fibre is light and breathable which makes it a wardrobe staple. But growing cotton can be problematic:
conventional cotton is one of the thirstiest and most chemical-intensive crops to grow. It requires a lot of pesticides and, as a result, has a negative impact on the planet, and the people who grow it.
If you’re looking for the most sustainable cotton go recycled. Recycled or up-cycled cotton is made using post-industrial and post-consumer cotton waste.
Recycled cotton is a more sustainable alternative to both conventional and organic cotton.
It has the potential to help reduce water and energy consumption, as well as help keep cotton clothes out of landfill – which is why we consider it one of the most sustainable fibers on the market.
Recycled polyester is PET (the chemical used to create polyester) from plastic water bottles that have been broken down into fibers.
The recycled fabric keeps plastic out of landfills and can be recycled again many times over. When a garment can’t be made from 100 percent natural fibers (for example, stretchy garments like underwear or leggings).
we recommend looking for recycled polyester as it’s less harmful than its virgin counterpart, generating fewer carbon emissions in production.
Tencel is a type of rayon derived from cellulose fibers that come from tree pulp. It’s been growing in popularity recently, as is said to be 50% more absorbent than cotton, and requires less energy and water to produce.
Plus, the chemicals used to produce the fibre are managed in a closed-loop system.
This means the solvent is recycled which reduces dangerous waste.In addition to this, Tencel has moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial properties, which makes it perfect for activewear!
Wool can be a sustainable fabric depending on how it’s produced. Some producers came up with the idea of create climate beneficial wool on Carbon Farming landscapes where carbon is captured and put back into the soil.
Wool is also compostable, incredibly insulating, and doesn’t shed plastic microfibers.
Unfortunately, there is also a lot of animal abuse in the wool industry, and so it’s essential to vet brands to verify sourcing and production methods. While wool isn’t for everyone, it is a fabric that many sustainable brands are turning to.
CFB – a ethical sustainable supplier for fabrics and garments
Our biggest passion is to be sustainable textile production that people can rely upon without worrying about contributing to carbon footprints.
The products we come up with are certified by OCS, ISO-9001, OEKO-TEX, GOTS, which are the organizations providing sustainable product certifications.
CFB emphasizes circularity and the limited use of traditional raw materials, which is harmful to the environment.
CFB represents the textile industry has been moving away from a linear economy to a circular economy where the raw materials used to produce the textile products are recycled for as long as possible.