Choosing the right fabrics, whether as a creator or consumer of clothing, is an important topic that should be discussed and explored. Fabric is one of the main components of clothing design. Aesthetics wise, the look, feel, drape, pattern, and material make-up of fabric significantly shape the overall vibe of a garment. But have we looked at other aspects of fabric, such as the affects on environment (clothes discarded become textile waste), the health of workers (consistent contact with dyes and chemicals), and the health of consumers (everyday skin contact)? Wouldn't you agree that it's time to take a deeper look at what we're wearing?
On our own journey of discovery, we've come across some options that we'd like to explore.
1) Organic - Organic fabrics like cotton tend to have a way lower impact on the environment than conventional cotton. According to organiccottonplus.com, " Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers."
2) Upcycled - This is by far, in our opinion, the most eco conscious option. The definition of upcycled means to take something of less value and to transform it into something more valuable. In regard to fabric, it means to take pre-existing material and transform it into something new. In upcycling, there are no new materials made and minimal to no new chemicals used. In fact, the act of upcycling takes usable material that consumers were ready to throw away, and give it a second life and purpose.
3) Recycled - We came across recycled polyesters and nylons made from waste products such as plastic bottles. To take post and pre consumer waste to create actual, wearable fabric-- it's a yes for us.
4) Deadstock - Rolls of unused fabrics from overproduction. It may be over ordered by a design house or excess from a manufacturer. Instead of ordering new fabrics, using deadstock is a resourceful way of using what is already made. These limited edition rolls make for special few of a kind pieces that people can treasure as collector's items. You can check out our Silk Mandarin Collar Shirt Dress as an example.
5) Sustainably and naturally dyed - The finishing and chemicals used are just as important as the materials itself. We discovered the possibility of using natural dyes, which are dyes made from natural sources like berries, leaves, etc. And while this sounds like an amazing dream come true, the dyes do fade a bit quicker than normal dyes and have to be washed with care. Sustainable dyes have a lot less negative impact on the environment as well. The absorption rate of the dye is higher, leaving less color runoff, and use less toxic mordants to fix the colors.
Our goal is not so much perfection but improvement. We're excited and hopeful that as technology advances and more options become available, we'll be able to make better choices. We're also hopeful to see the fashion industry as a whole shift towards consciousness of people and the eco system.