Fast fashion is a double-edged sword. While purchasing essential garments for the whole family has never been more accessible, these items are notoriously brittle and unreliable. Plus, many fast-fashion products negatively impact the environment. Read on to learn more about the most eco-conscious clothing materials available to ensure you make responsible purchases next time you’re at the store.
As their name suggests, organic fabrics consist of all-natural materials. For example, organic cotton, hemp, or linen clothing only contains specific, raw textiles without lab-made additives like plastics. Often, organic materials cost more than synthetic-blend products. However, the higher price is worth the investment, especially when it comes to benefiting the environment. These fabrics are typically eco-conscious certified, ethically sourced, and, as a nice bonus, extremely durable. Consider shopping for raw materials instead of cheaper synthetic products.
The One Synthetic Exception: Fleece
While most lab-made materials are harmful to the environment, there is one exception—fleece! This fabric is typically made from synthetic polyesters known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). You can easily and affordably produce large quantities of PET made from recycled plastics, motivating many clothing manufacturers to implement this green, vegan alternative fabric. Products from eco-conscious brands typically include 100 percent recycled fleece materials in order to reduce their carbon footprint. As a bonus, this special fleece fabric is perfect for any season!
Different brands will sometimes feature certifications on their product tags that indicate eco-conscious manufacturing and business practices. This information allows you to easily find sustainable items. These certifications are entirely optional for brands to strive toward and are awarded by various associations upon submission of the products by the brand.
Organizations such as Cradle to Cradle, Made in Green, and International Oeko-Tex Association (Oeko-Tex) distinguish businesses based on labor treatment and practices, sustainability, the inclusion of toxic materials, and more. The Fairtrade Mark indicates that a brand goes above and beyond in all areas—including eco-conscious practices—and provides Fairtrade certified-level products. Look for these certifications the next time you shop for new clothing.
Understanding which clothing materials are the most eco-conscious ensures you purchase sustainable, long-lasting garments. To further simplify this shopping process, consider researching small clothing businesses near you that only carry environmentally-friendly brands!