The theme of sustainability has been making waves in the fashion industry for a few years now, with pioneer designers like Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher spearheading the movement. And finally we have seen in the last few years a number of brands emerge that offer sustainable options at affordable prices.
A number of stores such as Lindex and Weekday now offer off-the-shelf collections of sustainable and clothing. And leading the pack on luxury pre-owned fashion is Vestiaire Collective, an online marketplace for authenticated second hand designer fashion. Excuses like "I do not have access" are no longer valid. In addition, we often spend hundreds of pounds on organic food and quality natural creams, and then we will throw on a piece of polyester cloth. Do you already understand where I'm heading? Would not it be better to buy one quality T-shirt that you know was made without the help of child labour, is a quality material and kind to nature? Most of us, unfortunately, instead of one t-shirt, buy three only just to throw them all away in half a year, because they fell apart from poor quality or simply are no longer on trend. Such a vicious cycle.
Did you know that 2,700 liters of water is needed to make one cotton shirt? That's enough water for one person for 900 days. Sustainable fashion is a statement that you value yourself, your fellow humans and this beautiful earth we are so lucky to inhabit.
But how can you start buying more responsibly? A start perhaps is looking more closely at which fabrics the products you wish to purchase are made of. The main focus of this blog is to present to you materials that are more environmentally friendly.
Tencel is a relatively new eco-friendly fabric made from eucalyptus. The production is certified by the FSC, which guarantees sustainable forest management. Tencel needs far fewer chemicals than viscose and 100% chemicals can be reused. This is also a good material for allergy sufferers. Tencel production also uses much less energy and requires 10 to 20 times less water than cotton. It is one of the most ecological materials, together with hemp, flax and bio cotton. By the way, the clothes of the tencela are soft, durable and well worn. The t-shirt and trousers are extremely comfortable to wear
Cotton is by far the most widespread material (you are probably wearing a cotton sweater or a t-shirt while reading this blog, am I right?). It is a material that is durable and comfortable to wear. However, it is also a material that is used for processing a great deal of water and chemicals. As I mentioned earlier, about 2,700 liters of water is used for the production of one cotton shirt. A variant can be found in bio or organic cotton. It is grown without fertilizers and pesticides (but still with a large volume of water!). Products made from bio cotton are more durable and, moreover, softer (the fibre is not damaged by chemicals). Organic cotton certified GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) has undergone strict quality control, and state fair trade has been applied.
* Fair trade is an organised social movement and market approach that seeks to help producers in Third World countries and promote sustainability.
Wool is a natural fibre that comes mostly from sheep (but can also be sourced from the coats of other animals, such as the Angora goat - mohair or alpaca). Wool has long been used to make long-lasting warm clothes and blankets. It is an elastic fabric that pleasantly heats up. Wool is also produced at lower temperatures than other garments, making it more environmentally friendly. It is a natural material that is renewable and biodegradable. When choosing clothes from wool, try to opt for local brands. Although the wool tends to swell, a good woolen sweater will protect you from the worst winter.
Hemp, unlike other substances, can be grown even in our climatic conditions. It is a solid and hard material that softens when washed. In addition, hemp is absorbs sweat well and has antiseptic properties. It is not chemically treated and it is also free for farmers. It grows fast, is resistant to pests and has a positive effect on the soil structure.
We wear linen clothes mostly during the summer. This material has the advantage of pleasantly cooling and refreshing properties, which you will definitely appreciate in the hot summer. It also can fight against weeds well, so less chemicals and pesticides are used in its production than with cotton. Water consumption is also twice as low as cotton. Surprisingly, lingerie was made earlier in linen, and proof is found in the French word "lingerie". Today you do not buy linen underwear, but in addition to clothes, linen, towels and bedclothes are produced.
Silk is a complex fabric for production, meaning that silk fibres are considered to be the most exclusive textile fibres. Silk is a natural material, protein fibre from silkworms. Since silk is a natural material, it is degradable and silk can actually be added to the compost with food and garden waste! Silk clothing is comfortable, good, because it does not electrify, absorbs moisture and protects the skin. Everyone knows right away if you're wearing a silk shirt.
I hope that this little guide will help you choose better materials for further shopping, and perhaps make you think about the impact of choosing one shirt on social and natural conditions. Below you will find my favorite brands and bits of sustainable fashion.