Sustainable Fabrics: Eco-Friendly Clothing

November 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Clothing, Eco-Friendly, Fashion, Front Page, Organic, Slideshow, Sustainability

Organic fabrics such as cotton make sustainable, eco-friendly clothing. Photo: © Sandra Cunningham - Fotolia.com

Organic fabrics such as cotton make sustainable, eco-friendly clothing. Photo: © Sandra Cunningham - Fotolia.com

If you’re interested in finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint with small, daily changes to your lifestyle, there are a lot of options to cut waste and reduce pollution on a personal level. You can recycle, use green cleaning solvents, switch to organic foods, and make many of your own products at home in bulk (5-gallon buckets of homemade laundry detergent, for example) in order to cut back on disposable packaging waste.

But did you know that you can also support sustainable farming by purchasing clothing made from eco-friendly fabrics? Not only are there a wide variety of clothing options out there (with even some big-name designers jumping on the bandwagon), but there are also plenty of reasons to make the change.

For starters, you may be interested to know that sustainable fabrics come from many different sources, each taking steps towards more eco-friendly practices. Organic textiles made from cotton, bamboo, hemp, eucalyptus, and a number of other plants are grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that seep into the soil and water supply and drift on the breeze, polluting ecosystems near and far.

Organic silk fabric is made from the abandoned cocoons of silk worms. Photo: © Boudikka - Fotolia.com

Organic silk fabric is made from the abandoned cocoons of silk worms. Photo: © Boudikka - Fotolia.com

Bamboo is particularly sustainable because it requires very little water to survive. As for vegan wool and peace silk, the animals that provide these fibers are treated humanely. Sheep are free-range, and when they no longer produce sufficient quantities of wool, they are put to pasture (instead of slaughtered). Silk worms are not killed for their cocoons; instead, the silk threads are collected only after moths have emerged.

Further, these fibers then go through green manufacturing processes that eschew chemicals such as bleaches, dyes, formaldehyde, and any number of retardants (fire, soil, etc.). This means that less chemical waste is produced and fewer harmful toxins are infused into your clothing, thus reducing your risk of absorption and allergic reaction.

Organic clothing is 100% chemical free from the field to your closet. Besides providing for a cleaner environment and clothing that is less harmful to you personally, this is also good for your wallet. Because the fibers of these garments have not been subjected to harsh chemical treatments, they have the potential to last up to ten times as long as regular clothing. So while organic clothes may be a little more expensive on the rack, they could save you a lot of money in the long run (especially on basics like underwear, tees, and jeans that you wear and wash frequently).

You might be thinking that there simply aren’t a lot of options when it comes to eco-friendly clothes, in terms of color and design. But there are plenty of organic dyes on the market to make your wardrobe as colorful as you could wish. And the wide variety of textiles ensure that you’ll always have something fabulous to wear, from comfy athletic ensembles to a little black dress (LBD) for a fancy affair. And with big-name designers like Stella McCartney embracing organic fabrics for their lines, even those who are interested in haute couture clothing can find something to love.

Carol Montrose

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Carol Montrose is a writer for tshirtprinting.net, where you can create your own custom tshirts, hoodies, and much more.

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