What are sustainable fabrics and why are they important to fashion?
In today’s society, an eco-minded philosophy is becoming more prominent, and in response, the use of sustainable fabrics is on the rise. One of the most widely used definitions of sustainability is that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This is the idea behind the use of sustainable fabrics- use only what we need, leaving no burden on future generations. There are many types of sustainable fabrics and eco-friendly fashion is full of them, contributing greatly to the reduction of energy consumption and the cleanliness of the environment.
There are many types of sustainable fabrics. First, “natural” fiber fabric simply refers to fabrics made from fibers found in nature. Many natural fibers may have been grown and manufactured without harmful toxins, but there are no certifying organizations to label them “organic.” This includes hemp, silk and linen.
Natural fibers fall into three main groups – vegetable fibers such as cotton, protein fibers such as wool, and strong elastic fibrous secretion of silkworm larvae, which is used to create silk. The use of natural fibers extends back beyond recorded history with archaeological evidence indicating that the interlacing of plant fibers (what we call weaving) dates back 12,000 years to the Neolithic times!
All natural fiber fabrics are renewable and have the potential to be sustainable. Certified “Organic” fabric is an even higher level of purity, and requires certification. Through the use of sustainable fabrics, sustainable fashion was born.
Sustainable fashion is fashion that is designed to be environmentally friendly. It is part of the larger trend know as “ethical fashion,” and according to the May, 2007 Vogue issue, it appears to be sticking around for a while. Eco – minded trend setters look at inputs to determine what products are harmful to the environment and try to find green alternatives that can function at the same or a better level and, preferably, at a lower cost. With these products you’ll know that what you put next to your skin is as healthy as it is beautiful and luxurious.
Because of cotton’s versatility, it is used for many fiber products, making it one of the most widely traded commodities on earth. Since the early 1990’s, an emerging trend toward organic cotton has grown exponentially. Cotton is absorbent, strong and breathes well. Organic cotton is grown in varying colors eliminating the use of dyes. Sama Baby Organics, (www.samababy.com ), is a perfect example of how to utilize organic cotton. We hold our cotton to the utmost standards and provides a truly fashion-forward product.
The bottom line is that designing, producing, and wearing natural and organic clothing is important to the future of our world! Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon that are made from petroleum-based chemicals are harming the environment. Their production requires a much higher consumption of energy and chemicals than natural fibers and uses non-renewable resources.
Using sustainable fabrics for our clothing is an important part of the green movement and our future. Next time you’re shopping, look for eco-friendly products, and do your part to help keep our planet clean!