How-To Source Amazing & Superior Eco-Friendly Fabrics


When sourcing Eco-Friendly fabric they are often mentioned in the same breath as natural substances but these two things are not exactly the same.

Firstly, while eco-friendly fabrics can be natural, not all-natural fabrics are eco-friendly.

In this article I will go over the difference of these two things.

It all depends on the cultivation, production, and handling of waste and sewage.

This is why man-made fibers can also be eco-friendly as long as production does not harm nature in any way!

Then why are eco-friendly fabrics so important?

What Are Eco-Friendly Fabrics?

Making an organic fabric blanket

One reason for optimism is that the production and use of eco-friendly textiles are higher today than ever before.

That is a great step in the right direction for both the consumers and the environment.

Growing environmental awareness and increasing awareness of the consequences of climate change among the consumers making buying decisions means that more and more eco-friendly substances are also available to end consumers.

And here are some of the reasons for this:

  • Organic cotton is grown without chemical pollutants
  • Bamboo is incredibly robust, regenerative, and biodegradable
  • Hemp is pest tolerant and easy to grow
  • Recycled polyester is made from PET, a widespread plastic waste
  • Organic wool does not contain any toxins and comes from sustainable agriculture
  • Less water is needed to grow linen than to grow other substances

From fair trade and safer methods for farmers to hypoallergenic clothing and furniture for the end-user, eco-friendly fabrics benefit us all.

The textile industry does not have to be a linear economy.

We can all help to relieve the burden on nature with small changes that have a big effects.

Voting with your dollar shows the industrial giants sourcing eco-friendly fabrics is important to not only us as consumers but also for the environment.

Why Do We Need Eco-Friendly Fabrics?

You may have noticed that clothes and accessories don’t last as long as they did in the past.

Don’t worry it’s not an “everything was better before” mantra, it’s reality.

Because many of the fashion giants rely on fast fashion to increase their profits year after year.

Fast fashion is something that can be produced quickly and cheaply and is therefore also super cheap for the consumer.

Most importantly, bigger profits for the companies selling these types of products.

However, since savings are made on every corner in production, the quality of the end product is considerably lower than the quality of more expensive products.

And that’s good for the seller too because the consumer will come back again and again to buy new clothes or whatever the company is selling this month.

On average, we only wear garments half as often as 20 years ago before we dispose of them. It can not be denied,

It is estimated that by 2050 the fast fashion industry will consume approximately 300 million tons of resources that cannot be renewed. (source)

Many companies in the fashion industry have committed themselves to use renewable raw materials and sourcing eco-friendly materials for their fabrics.

Organic Cotton Fabric

Organic Cotton Field
Organic Cotton Field

Cotton is also used in fast fashion.

No wonder, because the plant fiber is very soft and comfortable to wear.

It is very skin-friendly and also suitable for sensitive people and allergy sufferers.

It is all the more important to pay attention to where the cotton comes from and how it was grown.

Organic cotton is made without toxic chemicals or genetically modified seeds.

In addition, the working conditions of farmers in growing countries such as China or India must meet certain standards.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Hemp Fabric

Hemp fabric cording
Hemp fabric cording

Hemp fabric is made from the fibres in the herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa.

It’s a high-yield crop that produces significantly more fiber per acre than either cotton or flax.

Hemp fabrics are

  • Stronger
  • More absorbent
  • More durable
  • A better insulator than cotton.

Furthermore, they don’t stretch out of shape which is one of the key elements of bamboo fabric as well.

We will talk about bamboo later.

One of the drawbacks is that cotton fabric is softer and more comfortable against the skin than hemp fabric.

Hemp fiber has a rough feel to it in its natural spun state and is prone to fraying.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Organic Wool Fabric

Sheep
Sheep

Wool keeps you warm in winter, is breathable and self-cleaning.

Organic wool comes from sheep that are kept organically and under animal-friendly conditions.

So-called mulesing – the removal of skin flaps to avoid vermin infestation – is prohibited.

The wool is not treated with hazardous chemicals and must not contain any harmful residues.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Organic-Linen Fabric

Linen is a soft, sturdy fabric that is particularly light and is therefore particularly popular in summer.

Flax, also known as flax, is a plant that has been used for the manufacture of fabrics for thousands of years.

Organic linen comes from certified organic cultivation. The farmers do without pesticides, fertilizers during cultivation and genetically modified seeds.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Lyocell Fabric

Lyocell Fabric
Lyocell Fabric

Lyocell, also known as Tencel, is a light, flowing material that is reminiscent of silk.

It is obtained from the wood of the Asian eucalyptus and is skin-friendly and breathable.

No toxic substances are used in its manufacture and the material is biodegradable.

Even more sustainability: reuse instead of buying new

With clothing made of organic cotton, organic wool, organic linen, or lyocell you set an example for sustainability.

But a more conscious approach to fashion is also important in order to conserve resources.

This is where the slow fashion movement comes in.

It is not a trend, but a movement and forms the counterpart to fast fashion – that is what the majority of fashion labels practice and what many consumers support.

Instead of buying new, cheap clothes at short intervals, the aim is to buy high-quality pants, shirts, and dresses that, with the right care, will last a long time and will not break after a season, lose their shape or have to be disposed of for other reasons.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Bamboo Fabric

Bamboo grass
Bamboo grass

Bamboo fabric is a eco-friendly fabric made from the pulp of bamboo grass.

The Bamboo used to produce fabrics is easily replenished and requires no pesticides to grow.

Bamboo is considered one of the most sustainable plants because it grows quickly and does not require chemicals or irrigation and biodegrades more quickly than oil-based synthetics.

Bamboo rayon is made by dissolving pulp bamboo into its cellulose component and then spun into viscose fibers.

Clothing made of bamboo rayon typically lasts even longer and holds its shape even better than clothing made of simple bamboo fiber. (source)

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Kapok Fabric

Kapok Tree
Kapok Tree

Kapok is a massive tropical deciduous tree (Ceiba pentandra) of the silk-cotton family that has a trunk with short, sharp prickles, a buttressed base, and porous lightweight wood and that bears large seed pods containing numerous silky fibers. (source)

The kapok fiber obtained from this is used as a filling for duvets and pillows.

Thanks to a new spinning process, kapok is now also being used more and more often for clothing (mixed with cotton).

The air inclusion of 80%, kapok fiber is considered to be the lightest natural hollow textile fiber in the world after poplar fluff.

Kapok naturally regulates heat and moisture.

This eco-friendly fabric makes great use in pillows to sleep on.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Ramie Fabric

 ramie plant
Ramie plant

The bast fibers of the ramie plant (Boehmeria Nivea) native to China and India, which is also called Chinese grass.

It consists of cellulose.

With a life expectancy of up to ten years, it can be harvested up to four times a year.

The fiber yield is about four times that of cotton.

Since the processing is very complex, ramie textiles are relatively expensive at the moment of writing this article.

The fiber is very even and fine and has a nice sheen. In order to be able to process ramie better, it is usually spun into a yarn with cotton or synthetic fibers.

Ramie is the ideal material for light summer clothing, lace and fragrant decorative textiles.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Soy Fabric

Soy Spun Fabric
Soy Spun Fabric

This is a new fiber for textiles that is interesting in itself:

However, only if it is ensured that no genetically modified seeds have been used and that the cultivation is organic.

Soy is usually mixed with cotton in cloth production and the fabric is skin-friendly and pleasantly soft and slightly shiny.

Nettle Fabric

Nettle Plant
Nettle Plant

This plant is completely underestimated.

In addition to being used as vegetables (similar to spinach) and medicinal herbs, their stems also provide a wonderful fiber for making textiles.

The plant is indigenous, there is no need for fertilizers to grow, and chemicals can be dispensed with for the entire manufacturing process.

Usually, the nettle is processed into a fabric together with organic cotton.

The fabrics from nettles are pleasantly smooth, can absorb moisture very well, are skin-friendly, easy to care for and tear-resistant.

You can see the current price for this eco-friendly fabric here.

Reusing Worn Clothing Is Still Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Second Hand Clothing
Second Hand Clothing

Whoever buys from second-hand shops, thrift stores, or participates in clothing swap shops not only saves money but also does something good for the environment.

The same goes for repairing clothes.

We highlighted some eco-friendly clothing for men that can be repaired or sent back to the maker to have them repair the jeans.

That articles can be found by clicking here!

Buttons can be sewn on again and holes can be stuffed.

And if your favorite shirt or jeans can no longer be saved, they can be turned into a new piece of clothing by upcycling them.

Email Suppliers For Fabric

Email suppliers for fabric
Email suppliers for fabric

If you are starting or looking to start an eco-friendly clothing company I have good news for you!

It is possible to email suppliers asking them about their process and if they carry eco-friendly fabrics.

Here is a bonus 7 tips before you start

1.) Consider the person you are reaching out to.

The supplier is likely receiving hundreds of emails per week or sometimes daily, so you want to make sure your inquiry gets straight to the point.

Be courteous and respectful of the supplier’s time when drafting these emails.

2.) Keep the email short and sweet.

Yes, you will want to include a nice “Hello” and an appropriate “Thank you.” But again, make sure you are not wasting the recipient’s time.

3.) Do your due diligence.

Make sure you some research on the supplier’s website beforehand.

Oftentimes, you can get many of your questions answered on the supplier’s FAQ pages.

4.) Know your stuff.

Many fabric suppliers are going to want to see that you actually know what you’re talking about, so they don’t risk wasting their own time.

If you have them already send over designs, specs, or visual examples of the piece you’re needing.

5.) Don’t ask about the minimum order quantity.

This mistake will make you come off as overly frugal and price-conscious before even making initial contact with them

6.) Foster the relationship.

Once you’ve received an initial response, take your time in building a relationship with the sales rep.

Most of these suppliers tend to give priority to the people they have built relationships with.

7.) Stay persistent.

Be mindful of not overwhelming the supplier, but don’t give up.

Conclusion

We only have one planet and should therefore do our best to relieve Mother Nature of the burden we as consumers demand.

It is not our place to demand so much from something that has already given so much.

Be part of the movement by using eco-friendly fabrics in your sewing or design project.

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