When it comes to looking at ethical and sustainable fashion, one of the most important questions to ask is – what is it made from? Have you ever looked at the tags on your clothes to see what the fabric composition is and not known what it meant? There are many innovative sustainable fibres used to produce our clothes and accessories today and it can be overwhelming at times remembering what each of them are. So, we have put together a small guide of these sustainable fibres, some of them you may have heard of before, others may be new to you. We have divided them into two categories - Natural Fibres, Natural & Innovative Fibres and Recycled Fibres.
These fibres originate from plants and are commonly used in a variety of different clothing.
Organic cotton differs from conventional cotton as it is grown without the use of toxic synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which is better for the soil and safer for cotton farmers. The cotton used in both our KEEPER Denim jeans and tote bags is organic cotton, certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This ensures the fibre meets several social and environmental standards throughout the production process, from the growing of the crop, through to the final product.
Hemp comes from the Cannabis Stavia plant, which requires a low amount of water and no pesticides or herbicides to grow. It also naturally fertilises the soil it grows in. Some of hemps' properties include weather resistance, strength, and its ability to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.
Tencel™ is made from cellulose produced by dissolving wood pulp. Less water and energy are used to make Tencel compared to the production of other fibres. The fabric is soft, breathable and has anti-bacterial qualities, therefore it is commonly used for active wear.
NATURAL & INNOVATIVE FIBERS
You might not have come across the following fibres before as they are new and not commonly used yet, but they are very exciting!
Orange Fibre is an ethical and sustainable alternative to silk, made from the by-products of the citrus juice industry. The fabric is soft, lightweight and can be made to be either opaque or shiny, depending on the look required.
Bananatex® is a waterproof fabric made from Abacá banana plants, which are organically grown in the Philippines. To date, this fabric has been used to make fashion accessories, including handbags.
Parblex™ is a bioplastic made from potato waste and is currently being developed by Chip[s] Board®. It is biodegradable and the production process doesn’t involve the use of any toxic chemicals. Given the materials’ plastic-like quality, one of the potential uses for it is buttons on clothing.
Fibres made from recycled materials not only creates a second life for an old material, but it also reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfill, having a positive impact on the planet.
Econyl® is derived from synthetic waste including fishing nets from the ocean, industrial plastic, and fabric. These materials are then recycled and turned into yarn. Econyl® has very similar qualities to nylon, including strength and its ability to not shrink when washed, however it requires less water and creates less waste during the production process.
This fabric is made from recycled PET plastic bottles that have been discarded, helping to reduce the amount of plastic in landfill. The denim used in our KEEPER Denim jeans contains recycled polyester made from post-consumer PET plastic bottles.
We hope this KEEPER Denim guide on sustainable fibres is useful for when you are next out shopping for ethical and sustainable fashion and reading the tags on clothes to see what the composition of the fabric is before you buy.