If you missed part 1 & 2 of our Fabric Lowdown by Jewelz pop over and have a quick read. We will continue the conversation about different fabric fibres with two plant-based natural fibres. Remember at the end of the day Jewelz’s is a fan of vintage but if you’re buying new or looking at developing a sustainable or ethical brand then some of her thoughts on fibres/fabric are differently worth a reading.
Like most people when I think natural fibres cotton is the first fibre that springs to mind. Cotton is a natural fibre, and it can be organically grown and dyed. It is also a great choice for our bodies as it allows breathability. Cotton is also biodegradable which means that it is a better choice than chemical-based man-made fabrics like polyester or viscose. But cotton, unfortunately, is not all rainbows and unicorns when it comes to our environment. Cotton is commonly grown & produced with pesticides and consumes huge amounts of water throughout its processes. It is without a doubt one of the most environmentally demanding crops. Regular cotton relies on GMO or genetically modified seeds. Pesticides are used during the growth process and then chemical-based dyes are used to colour and decorate the fabric. Organic cotton on the other hand uses natural seeds without the use of pesticides or chemicals during the growth and production process.
To maintain the organic credibility the organic cotton should either be maintained in its natural colours or dyed using environmentally friendly organic plant-based dyes. In addition to what Jewelz has shared, we would like to add that we have been advised from a reliable source that the manufacturing of organic fabric is hard to track and ensure that it is 100% organic cotton. The reason being is that most times the organic cotton uses the same plants as the regular cotton to be made into yarn and then fabric. This, therefore, means the organic fabric runs the risk of being contaminated with regular cotton.
Hemp is one of the most sustainable & environmentally friendly fabrics or fibres available. It uses up to 50% less water than cotton to grow and it can easily be grown in different soil types without the use of pesticides. Hemp fabric can take as little as two weeks to biodegrade and even less if cut into small pieces. So long as hemp has not been chemical dyed it can be a great natural fibre and fabric that is good for both the planet & the body. So why don’t we see more hemp items in the fashion market? That is a very good question! Hemp can be a more expensive fibre to purchase and has restricted growing here in Australia. A license from the Australian government must be obtained for the growing of hemp plants for the use of creating hemp fibre for fabrics or other hemp products. If hemp was to become a more desired & commonly used fabric in the fashion industry we would benefit from a durable and sustainable fabric.
Photo credit https://sensiseeds.com
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