What we eat, how we travel, and even what we wear can have an impact on the planet.
That’s because our health is inextricably tied to the well-being of Mother Earth…
…and all these things affect us too.
Lots of us know where to start with eating more sustainably: buying organic, regenerative, biodynamic, etc.
But where do you start with clothing, fabric, or materials?
Put simply: what are the most sustainable fabrics or materials?
Here are some of the best and most exciting when it comes to sustainable materials and clothing made from them. We need to be thinking about choosing materials that are more biodegradable, using less energy and resources to create, and sourcing when we can from the "waste" stream –
– while still being beautiful, comfortable, and fairly easy to find and buy.
Bamboo-made alternatives (especially bamboo linen) are becoming very popular, very quickly. That’s because they’re incredibly sustainable to make— and they both look and feel amazing!
If you think something made from bamboo sounds too rough or weird, buy yourself a bedroom set of bamboo-made bedsheets and pillowcases. Shirts made with the material are surprisingly silky-smooth, too. Be sure to buy only sustainably grown bamboo-made products that contain a high percentage of the material for truly sustainable clothing.
The same goes for industrial hemp-made clothing and materials. The fashionable and beautiful stuff already out there is also way softer and more comfortable than you’d expect!
This material is highly sustainable, but only if it’s grown in a sustainable or organic way, of course. Luckily, it’s very easy and profitable to grow using these environmentally friendly-methods, and demand for it is on the rise.
Both hemp and bamboo clothes tends to last longer, be more resilient to wear and tear in the wash, and regulate temperature really well. They keep you cool in hot weather, and warm in cold weather.
Cotton – Organic and/or Recycled.
Though completely sustainable alternatives are becoming more available and affordable, when in doubt you can always seek out organic cotton products. Even better is to find something made from organically grown and recycled cotton! (Though either separately is fantastic, too.)
Non-organic cottons are highly sprayed with pesticides. Try to avoid them.
Here’s where we get into some of the crazier new inventions for sustainable clothing: like “pineapple leather,” or Piñatex. That’s right: leather made from pineapple. Not the fruit, but the leaves!
This is a great alternative to leather, and it’s even been successfully used in upholstery. It also helps deal with waste stream leaves from pineapple fruit production.
You won't find this a lot yet, but it's something to keep an eye out for in the coming years.
This may be one of the most exciting new sustainable fabrics out there. If you haven’t caught on through the name already, econyl is a more eco-friendly version of nylon.
Econyl is made from recycled plastic, including discarded fishing line from the ocean. What a great way to clean our oceans! However, this option is best for items that need less washing (like hats, shoes, coats, gloves, etc.), if you want to keep microfiber and microplastic pollution low.
There are lots more sustainable fabrics on the rise, and they’re worth keeping an eye on, (Like clothing that mimics spider webs, or made from material that squids produce in the ocean!)
A lot of these new materials are made from waste stream products. And it’s only the beginning.
These innovations could lead to countless more ideas on how we can feel (and look) great in a way that is kinder to the planet.