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January 20, 2022 3 min read

Some people don't think about the materials that make up their clothing, while others will notice how certain fabrics feel against their skin. Whatever your stance may be, it is always important to consider how these fabrics can affect the environment because the production of the fabric and the care that follows every one of your clothing purchases will play a role in global carbon emissions caused by humans.

Washing our clothes makes up most of the environmental impact caused by clothing, and the severity of the impact will vary based on the fabric. While there is no such thing as 100% sustainable fabric, certain fabrics are much better than others, and understanding the most and least sustainable fabrics is very important.

Polyester, acrylic, rayon, nylon and conventional cotton are the least sustainable fabrics.

Polyester is often used in clothing items, and most polyesters are non-biodegradable, so it can take up to 200 years to break down if it ends up in a landfill. Large amounts of water need to be used for cooling in the energy-intensive process used to produce polyester, which can be very dangerous in areas where there is water scarcity, as it can further reduce access to clean drinking water.

Acrylic fabric is often used to make sweaters, hats and gloves, and while these items can help you feel warm, their production is not environmentally friendly, so you need to be aware of this aspect. Highly toxic chemicals are used in the acrylic production process, which can be very dangerous to the health of the factory workers and its key ingredient, acrylonitrile, can enter your body through skin contact or inhalation which is harmful to your health.

Every time you wash clothing made from polyester or other synthetic materials, they shed microfibres that treatment plants cannot filter out, which can cause plastic pollution in our water sources.

Another fabric that you should try hard to avoid is viscose. This fabric is easy and quick to produce, but the manufacturing process does create a lot of pollution. Viscose is made from wood pulp that is treated with chemicals, which is then spun into thread. The chemicals used are toxic and are likely to end up in the air or water close to the manufacturing plant.

The last unsustainable fabric we will discuss is bamboo. This may surprise you because bamboo is a natural plant that grows a lot every day, so the ability to create more won’t harm the environment. However, the process to create bamboo fibre is the same viscose rayon process that we discussed above.

Let’s now discuss the more sustainable fabrics that are used to make clothing. The first fabric is the one we use at Ecolove: TENCEL. TENCEL is a blended fabric made from modal and lyocell fibres and is produced using an environmentally friendly closed-loop solvent system. Compared to the bamboo and viscose system, the closed-loop system recycles the solvent to create new fibre and reduce waste. 

Organic or recycled cotton, hemp and organic linen are some of the most sustainable fabrics.

Organic cotton does not contain any harmful pesticides and is produced without any of the dangerous chemicals that normal cotton uses.

Hemp is a very durable fabric that is often used in clothing and is naturally insulating and cooling. It is also environmentally friendly as the process of spinning it into fabric requires no chemicals. Hemp fabrics will get even softer through washing, so you will love your clothes

Linen is produced from a plant and is light when used in clothing, so many people prefer to wear this material during the summertime. Minimal water is required for this fabric's manufacturing process, and organic linen is very sustainable when untreated.

If you are looking for environmentally friendly clothing, Ecolove is the answer. We use the ultra-soft and sustainable fabrics Hemp/organic cotton blends, linen, Tencel and Tencel Modal to make our clothing. If you want to feel stylish and comfortable while making a difference, start shoppingfrom our line of clothing today!