Places To Visit If You Are Interested In Fashion Design Eco-Friendly Fabrics – Fashion School Experts Examine the Pros and Cons of the Top Green Fabrics

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Eco-Friendly Fabrics – Fashion School Experts Examine the Pros and Cons of the Top Green Fabrics

It wasn’t long ago that clothes made from eco-friendly fabrics conjured up images of trees in a bag. But with the growing demand for clothing made from sustainable fabrics, more top designers are embracing the eco-friendly trend. So which fabric is really eco-friendly? So many manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon, we asked a panel of fashion school experts to guide us in our selections. The truth is, even if a garment is marketed as eco-friendly, the label doesn’t necessarily tell you everything about what makes the fabric good – or bad – for the environment.

Organic cotton. Organically grown cotton is produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers. This sustainable farming practice not only results in cotton that is free of chemical pesticides, it creates a healthier workplace for farm workers. But just because a garment is made from organic cotton doesn’t mean it’s completely eco-friendly. If painted, check if it is made with low-impact paints that are better for the environment. Better yet, look for organic cotton in the colors it’s naturally grown in, like cream and light brown.

Set. Bamboo is now the superstar of eco-friendly fabrics, and on the surface, it seems to go with anything. More like a weed than a tree, bamboo grows quickly and regenerates itself after being cut. And the bamboo fabric feels as soft as cashmere. But the way it softens is primarily through an extensive chemical process; in fact, the chemical has been linked to health problems such as headaches and nerve damage. And the news gets worse. As bamboo becomes more popular, environmentalists expect overharvesting that will affect wildlife, as well as clearing forests to grow more bamboo.

wool. While some clothing manufacturers consider wool sustainable because it’s a renewable resource, it’s not a pretty picture for sheep. They are exposed to toxic chemicals and are mainly processed by workers who, during the sewing process, are more than just wool. However, certified organic wool comes from sheep that have been treated ethically and humanely.

Hevirmesh. Silk is a natural fabric that is renewable and biodegradable, so it has several check marks in the sustainability column. But silk is often produced in China, India, or other countries in the Far East, where US fair labor practices are not in place, and then transported across oceans to reach us—for fuel consumption is not very important. And then there is the small matter of the bees that end up being boiled alive after spinning the silk. For a more humane option, look for vegan, or “peace” silk, in which mosses are allowed to live.

Cotton patch. Real linen is considered eco-friendly because it is made from flax, which is not usually cultivated with pesticides. But like organic cotton, clothing is better for you and the environment when it’s in a natural shade, or dyed with low-impact colors. Our fashion school experts also warn us to be wary of “faux cotton,” which is really just conventional cotton made to look like linen.

Hemp. Hemp is considered one of the good guys because it doesn’t need drugs or herbicides and it doesn’t need irrigation. It also improves the soil. It also has strong, naturally long fibers that can be spun with minimal processing. However, hemp is not well regulated, so there is little oversight over the chemicals that farmers may or may not use. You just need to take their word for it.

Expanded polyester. An increasingly popular textile marketed as eco-friendly is polyester, which is recycled to make new polyester. Basically, it is the clothes that have been cut and used to produce new fabric. Exactly how ecological it is depends on one’s perspective. On the one hand, it is polyester, which is not a natural fiber, so it is a disadvantage. But it saves old clothes from getting dirty, so that’s a plus. But it’s done with chemicals, so it’s still a drawback. But it still takes less processing than fabric made from scratch, so that’s another plus.

PET recycled fabric. It sounds like a miracle: polyester fabric made from recycled water bottles. What a great benefit for the millions of plastic water bottles we throw away every day. Just be aware again of the toxic chemicals and the process required to turn that bottle into a flak jacket.

Tencel. Another man-made fiber, Tencel is made from wood from managed forests. Since it is made of wood, Tencel is biodegradable. It is produced using less energy and water than traditional fabrics, and is produced with a non-toxic chemical that is sustainably recycled. The resulting fabric is breathable, with a touch that can feel like suede or silk. Just be sure to check the label to make sure the Tencel is made from sustainable wood.

As you can see, keeping track of all the organic and eco-friendly claims can be confusing. But while there is probably no single “perfect” sustainable fabric, at least environmental efforts in the textile and fashion design industries are moving in the right direction. We just need to be educated, and learn to distinguish truth from deception.

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