FABRIC ECO-ANALYSIS

You probably know this already, but different fabrics have different impacts on the planet and on our people, depending on how they’re made and what they’re made of. From fibre to fabric, every stage of their production leaves behind an environmental footprint. These yarns travel through a countless number of hands during their creation, so it’s also crucial to consider their social impact.

 

We’re here to expose the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

 

You probably know this already, but different fabrics have different impacts on the planet and on our people, depending on how they’re made and what they’re made of. From fibre to fabric, every stage of their production leaves behind an environmental footprint. These yarns travel through a countless number of hands during their creation, so it’s also crucial to consider their social impact.

 

We’re here to expose the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

 

THE GOOD

It’s important to consider the entirety of the fabrics lifespan, from seed to garment to grave. We consider most organic fibres (fabrics that are, quite literally, fashioned from nature) to be sustainable for two main reasons. Firstly, they’re readily renewable, so they don’t diminish or deplete our resources. Secondly, they’re biodegradable, so their production, use, and distant disposal doesn't harm the environment – because of this, they also don’t release toxic substances like micro-plastics when being washed, unlike their synthetic counterparts.

 

TENCEL LYOCELL

Tencel™ lyocell – also known as rayon (in it’s sustainable form) – is an environmentally responsible, regenerated cellulose fibre that has both a low ecological impact and a high resource efficiency. It's extracted from sustainably grown wood pulp using a closed-loop production process, which minimises the generation of waste and damaging by-products as it recycles virtually all of the substances it uses. Tencel™ is derived from fast-growing eucalyptus trees in PEFC certified forests, using no fertilisers, pesticides or irrigation. Tencel™ fibres are also OEKO tex standard 100 certified.

 

ORGANIC COTTON

Cotton is a world favourite fabric, but organic cotton (the good kind) constitutes less than 1% of the global cotton production. Organic cotton is cultivated using non-genetically modified cottonseeds. It’s production process doesn’t face the same environmental challenges that confronts the cultivation of conventional cotton because it doesn’t involve the use of non-toxic fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides. Instead, traditional farming methods, like crop-rotation, are used in order to ensure and preserve soil fertility. Organic cotton also uses around 70% less water than the production of its conventional cotton counterpart. It takes roughly 25 weeks until the cotton bolls are ready to be harvested, after which the fibres are handpicked, cleaned, compressed, spun into yarns, and knitted into fabric.

 

ORGANIC HEMP

Fibres derived from the hemp plant form entirely eco-friendly fabrics, for many reasons. Hemp is an incredibly fast growing plant, which requires little water and energy, and can be grown without the use of fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides. The plant also aids in soil regeneration, so it doesn’t exhaust the soil fertility over time. Because of this, hemp fibres actually have the lowest ecological footprint of all fabrics.

 

LINEN

Linen is a natural bast fibre that is derived from the outer stem of flax plants. The flax plant requires far fewer resources, like water and energy, than its counterparts. For example, 60% less water is required in the production of flax in comparison to conventional cotton (not organic cotton). The flax plant, during their growth, actually has a positive impact on the environment since they have a high rate of carbon absorption; up to 2.1 tons of co2 are absorbed per ton of flax cellulose produced. The flax plant is renewable, recyclable and readily biodegradable, and it’s a zero-waste resource.

 

CUPRO

Cupro is a silky fabric made from regenerated cellulose fibres from linter cotton (aka, cotton waste). Cupro is another fabric made in a closed-loop process, like Tencel, meaning that the water and other substances involved in its production are constantly reused and recycled. All substances used in its production are non-toxic, therefore they don’t harm the environment nor the workers involved in their creation.

It’s important to consider the entirety of the fabrics lifespan, from seed to garment to grave. We consider most organic fibres (fabrics that are, quite literally, fashioned from nature) to be sustainable for two main reasons. Firstly, they’re readily renewable, so they don’t diminish or deplete our resources. Secondly, they’re biodegradable, so their production, use, and distant disposal doesn't harm the environment – because of this, they also don’t release toxic substances like micro-plastics when being washed, unlike their synthetic counterparts.

 

Tencel™ Lyocell

Tencel™ lyocell – also known as rayon (in it’s sustainable form) – is an environmentally responsible, regenerated cellulose fibre that has both a low ecological impact and a high resource efficiency. It's extracted from sustainably grown wood pulp using a closed-loop production process, which minimises the generation of waste and damaging by-products as it recycles virtually all of the substances it uses. Tencel™ is derived from fast-growing eucalyptus trees in PEFC certified forests, using no fertilisers, pesticides or irrigation. Tencel™ fibres are also OEKO tex standard 100 certified.

 

Organic Cotton

Cotton is a world favourite fabric, but organic cotton (the good kind) constitutes less than 1% of the global cotton production. Organic cotton is cultivated using non-genetically modified cottonseeds. It’s production process doesn’t face the same environmental challenges that confronts the cultivation of conventional cotton because it doesn’t involve the use of non-toxic fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides. Instead, traditional farming methods, like crop-rotation, are used in order to ensure and preserve soil fertility. Organic cotton also uses around 70% less water than the production of its conventional cotton counterpart. It takes roughly 25 weeks until the cotton bolls are ready to be harvested, after which the fibres are handpicked, cleaned, compressed, spun into yarns, and knitted into fabric.

 

Organic Hemp

Fibres derived from the hemp plant form entirely eco-friendly fabrics, for many reasons. Hemp is an incredibly fast growing plant, which requires little water and energy, and can be grown without the use of fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides. The plant also aids in soil regeneration, so it doesn’t exhaust the soil fertility over time. Because of this, hemp fibres actually have the lowest ecological footprint of all fabrics.

 

Linen

Linen is a natural bast fibre that is derived from the outer stem of flax plants. The flax plant requires far fewer resources, like water and energy, than its counterparts. For example, 60% less water is required in the production of flax in comparison to conventional cotton (not organic cotton). The flax plant, during their growth, actually has a positive impact on the environment since they have a high rate of carbon absorption; up to 2.1 tons of co2 are absorbed per ton of flax cellulose produced. The flax plant is renewable, recyclable and readily biodegradable, and it’s a zero-waste resource.

 

Cupro

Cupro is a silky fabric made from regenerated cellulose fibres from linter cotton (aka, cotton waste). Cupro is another fabric made in a closed-loop process, like Tencel, meaning that the water and other substances involved in its production are constantly reused and recycled. All substances used in its production are non-toxic, therefore they don’t harm the environment nor the workers involved in their creation.


THE BAD

We consider fabrics to fall under this 'bad' category if their production raises any questions in regards both human and animal welfare.

 

For this reason, we don’t use fabrics like silk, wool, cashmere, or any forms of leather out of concern for animal welfare. There are also many negative environmental impacts from the production of these materials because of the need for extensive chemical-processing in order to prevent the materials from decomposing.

 

Similarly, we don’t use conventional cotton out of concern for human welfare, and because of it’s impacts on the environment. The production of conventional cotton (i.e. cotton that isn’t certifiably organic) is a very resource-intensive process. It uses an immense amount of harmful insecticides, pesticides, mechanised farming practices, water, and the list goes on. The production process for the crops required to make one cotton t-shirt gulps up an 2,700 litres of water – for one t shirt. The social impact of conventional cotton is one that does far more than just raise an eyebrow. The production of conventional cotton has a very dark and dirty history of oppressive regimes, forced labour, and slavery to keep up with the demand for the worlds ‘dirtiest’ crop.

We consider fabrics to fall under this 'bad' category if their production raises any questions in regards both human and animal welfare.

 

For this reason, we don’t use fabrics like silk, wool, cashmere, or any forms of leather out of concern for animal welfare. The production of these materials often also comes at an immense environmental and human cost, because of the need for extensive chemical-processing in order to prevent the materials from decomposing. Not only do these toxic chemicals harm the planet, but they also cause negative health effects for the workers involved in their creation.

 

Similarly, we don’t use conventional cotton out of concern for human welfare, and because of it’s impacts on the environment. The production of conventional cotton (i.e. cotton that isn’t certifiably organic) is a very resource-intensive process. It uses an immense amount of harmful insecticides, pesticides, mechanised farming practices, water, and the list goes on. The production process for the crops required to make one cotton t-shirt gulps up an 2,700 litres of water – for one t shirt. The social impact of conventional cotton is one that does far more than just raise an eyebrow. The production of conventional cotton has a very dark and dirty history of oppressive regimes, forced labour, and slavery to keep up with the demand for the worlds ‘dirtiest’ crop.

 


THE UGLY

About two-thirds of the harm done to the environment which causes destructive climate impacts by the fashion industry occurs in the pre-production stage - i.e. during the creation of fabrics. This should come as no shock, but synthetics are the biggest culprits for these destructive effects. Clothing and textiles are the #1 source of micro-plastics in our oceans; the cause for this is largely down to synthetic fibres releasing micro-plastics when being washed. Even their recycled counterparts (although a massive step in the right direction in comparison to virgin synthetics) are still susceptible to these same shortcomings. For this reason, we refuse to use any form of synthetics, like polyester, nylon, and PU leather. Nor do we use any semi-synthetics, like viscose.

About two-thirds of the harm done to the environment which causes destructive climate impacts by the fashion industry occurs in the pre-production stage - i.e. during the creation of fabrics. This should come as no shock, but synthetics are the biggest culprits for these destructive effects. Clothing and textiles are the #1 source of micro-plastics in our oceans; the cause for this is largely down to synthetic fibres releasing micro-plastics when being washed. Even their recycled counterparts (although a massive step in the right direction in comparison to virgin synthetics) are still susceptible to these same shortcomings. For this reason, we refuse to use any form of synthetics, like polyester, nylon, and PU leather. Nor do we use any semi-synthetics, like viscose.