Guest Blog | Trusted Clothes on Sustainable Textiles

Guest Blog | Trusted Clothes on Sustainable Textiles

Navigating the minefield of sustainable textiles is a tricky business. For starters, when it comes to textiles, what does 'sustainable' even mean?

A textile's sustainability must take into consideration a variety of factors, including the social, environmental and economic impacts. Each of these impacts must also take into account the entire life-cycle, from origins and processes through to care and disposal/reuse.

This week, our guest bloggers Trusted Clothes have tackled the issue, and presented an overview for designers wanting to choose more sustainable textiles - 'The Good the Bad and the Ugly'.

We'll be releasing the article over a few installments so have a read and tell us what you think - are there any surprises? do you have a different take or conflicting research?

We'd love to open a dialogue on this subject and thank Trusted Clothes for kicking things off!

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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY | PART 1

By Trusted Clothes

Many designers are experts in the form and functionality of the materials they use.  This guide is intended to be a non-exhaustive listing of sustainability issues that can be considered when choosing a fabric for a particular project.  It is very important to note that the sustainability of fabrics can vary dramatically depending on how they are blended, dyed, transported and processed. The good, the bad and the ugly:

TENCEL - Our Grade A+

Tencel is a natural, man made fibre which is also referred to as Lyocell.

Made with wood pulp from sustainable tree farms, tencel textiles are created though the use of nanotechnology in an award-winning closed-loop process that recovers or decomposes all solvents and emissions.

  • Production process are non-toxic, and are able to be re-used again and again due to a technique called ‘closed loop’ spinning. This eliminates dumping of waste by 98%.
  • The eucalyptus trees that are harvested for the fibre are grown on sustainable farms. In addition, eucalyptus trees are fast growing, and require no toxic pesticides and little water to thrive.
  • Completely biodegradable
  • While the textile does use traditional dyes, its impressive absorbency allows companies to use less dye to achieve the desired effect. Meaning less waste and more cost efficient.
  • Does not use bleach before dying due to its pure white colour at production. (Source)
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Tencel is similar to rayon in feel. Soft, breathable, lightweight and comfortable.

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HEMP - Our Grade A+

Hemp fabric is made from the fibres in the herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa.

Hemp is a renewable resource which grows more quickly and easily than trees making hemp more cost effective than waiting decades for trees to grow to be used in man-made fiber production such as lyocell and rayon from wood pulps. It’s a high-yield crop that produces significantly more fibre per acre than either cotton or flax.

  • Can be grown on marginal soils
  • Hemp plants can be harvested for their seed and oils increasing food security where it is grown
  • Low maintenance plant to grow
  • Does not usually require supplemental irrigation
  • Usually produced organically
  • Biodegradable
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Clothing made of hemp fiber is lightweight, absorbent and, with three times the tensile strength of cotton, strong and long lasting.

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JUTE - Our Grade A

Jute is a natural bast fiber. It is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses of vegetable fibers. It is harder than other textile fibers. It is environment friendly. Normally jute are used for sacking, burlap, and twine as a backing material for tufted carpets.

  • Can be grown on marginal soils
  • Uses much less water than cotton, requires no chemical pesticides and fertilisers to grow, and replenishes much faster
  • Reaches maturity quickly, between 4-6 months, making it an incredibly efficient source of renewable material, and therefore sustainable
  • Usually produced organically
  • Easily recycled and is biodegradable
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Jute fabric has excellent tensile resistance, and more forgiving to air flow making it highly breathable.

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Thank you to Trusted Clothes for the words! Stay tuned for the next installment and be sure to have a look at their other articles HERE.

Thanks for Reading!