Materials

What are the RESPONSIBLE FABRIC choices AVAILABLE to today's designers? (Part 2)

There is often a deal of confusion as to which fabrics are available for producing your collection and their correct names as well as what the composition is and their environmental impact. Here we give you a summary of the 3 main fabric types - natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic.

Synthetic Materials

Synthetic Materials

SYNTHETIC MATERIALS, like polyesternylon and acrylic are man made fabrics.

Synthetics are created through an industrial manufacturing process in which petroleum, a fossil fuel, is extracted from the earth and mechanically transformed into fibers for clothing. The resulting fiber, although soft and even silky, is actually a plastic. In fact, polyester is made of the same exact material used to make plastic bottles: polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. These fabrics have environmental issues linked directly to the production of fossil fuels which emits carbon dioxide which is harming our ozone layer and thereby contributing to the Greenhouse effect. Another environmental issue is that these ´plastic´ fabrics do not decompose.

Polyester is the most common material in our clothes – it gives a wrinkle free and elegant hang to fabric. Many fabrics are composed of natural fibers mixed with polyester to achieve the benefits of both of these types of fabrics – breathability but wrinkle free.

Semi-Synthetic Materials

Semi-Synthetic Materials

SEMI-SYNTHETIC MATERIALS have a natural source, but require processing to transform that natural source into a fiber that can be used for clothing.

These include rayon (aka viscose), modallyocell (aka Tencel®) and bamboo. These fabrics are primarily made from wood which has environmental issues due to deforestation. Heavy chemicals are also required to transform hard wood into a soft fiber and these are released into the atmosphere.

So what fabrics are the most responsible choice? 

To be continued

What are the RESPONSIBLE FABRIC choices AVAILABLE to today's designers? (Part 1)

There is often a deal of confusion as to which fabrics are available for producing your collection and their correct names as well as what the composition is and their environmental impact. Here we give you a summary of the 3 main fabric types - natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic.

NATURAL MATERIALS are of course natural fibers we find in nature. 
One category of natural materials is plant based materials. 
These include cottonlinenhemp and raffia. They can be organic and farmed in a cooperative, or they can be grown using chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

The other category under natural materials is animal-based materials which are wool (from sheep), silk (from silk worms), cashmere (from goats).

Natural Materials
Plant Based - Natural Materials

Plant Based - Natural Materials

Whilst these fabric types are often the preferred materials used for their breathability, there are ethical issues in their production. Plant based materials often use pesticides and fertilizers which damage our planet. Animals are often not treated ethically – most companies for example have stopped using angora wool which comes from angora rabbits due to their being caged and mishandle for the use solely of their wool.

To be continued