Friday, October 11, 2019

The Ultimate Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fabrics

Hey earth muffins! If you are on a journey to live with less waste (like I am!), one of the major areas that needs to be addressed is buying clothes. In my opinion, there are two options:

1) Go thrift shopping! - This is my personal preference 😀
2) Buy sustainable fabrics when buying new

The struggle with the second option is that you will need to avoid fast fashion when choosing fabrics that aren't so hurtful to the environment. Fast fashion is a terrible thing in general (read my whole about it here!), so this is extremely important. Many “cotton” and “polyester” fabrics have microplastics in them that are released in the washing machine… We definitely do not want that! Buying from the thrift store can lessen this issue, as the microplastics have already been released and you are saving any new microplastics from leaching into the water stream. There are many other problems with unsustainable fabrics as well: huge amounts of water usage, chemicals/pesticides affecting the land and leaching into water, unethical treatment of workers, the list goes on.

A picture of sustainable fabrics including wool, hemp, bamboo, cashmere, and organic cotton, with the words The Ultimate Guide to: Sustainable Fabrics! in the center
Pin to read later! 

SO, if you decide that you still would like to buy clothes that are brand new, I suggest searching for these fabrics:

~Organic cotton - Normal cotton uses huge amounts of water and pesticides, making the "fabric of our lives" an unsustainable choice. If you really love cotton clothing, I suggest checking out 100% organic cotton fabrics. While there is still a lot of water involved, this at least helps avoid the chemical/pesticide aspect of producing the cotton. If the cotton is 100% organic, it will also be biodegradable!

~Silk - This fabric is extremely sustainable and efficient when it comes to water usage and land use; plus, it is biodegradable at the end of its life! However, the silkworms are only able to produce a small amount of fabric making it a more time intensive process. Some vegans also disapprove of the treatment of the worms.

~Wool - This fabric is renewable as it comes from sheep! 🐑 It is biodegradable as well. Take caution to research where the company sources its wool, to make sure the sheep are treated ethically and are taken care of properly.

~Cashmere - Just like wool, this fabric is renewable because it comes from goats! Fast fashion increased demand for this product, so many farmers started shearing their goats too early... This obviously puts the animal at risk of dying from the cold, so I would personally suggest only buying cashmere secondhand.

~Hemp - Growing hemp takes very little water (and the plants are naturally extremely pest-free, which makes pesticides not necessary). This fabric is also biodegradable, making it an excellent choice!

~Bamboo - Just like hemp, bamboo can be grown basically anywhere with very little water. 🎍 It can be used to make anything from kitchen utensils to fabric, making it an amazing sustainable choice! It is also biodegradable.

~Linen - Another great option, linen is biodegradable if it has been untreated. Flax grows with very little water, and almost all parts of the plant are used in the production process making it extremely low waste.

While there are many "sustainable" fabrics on the market, you must still do your research before making purchases. The rise of the "going green" movement has resulted in many companies stating that certain products are "sustainable"... But that doesn't mean they actually are! Make sure to look at all the tags and do your research to see the OTHER implications that resulted from a fast fashion brand using a sustainable fabric: water usage, shipping from across the world, the conditions of the workers, where the dyes have been sourced, etc. In my opinion, thrifting is always the best option, as I don't trust fashion corporations to completely change their practices. That may sound cynical, but I hope that one day fast fashion will stop existing altogether.

What fabrics do you look for when shopping? Comment below and don't forget to follow Life of an Earth Muffin to never miss another post!


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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post! You definitely make me think of things I never would have considered before.


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