So many of us try to do the right thing, buy the right products & clothing, and try to stay informed. But with fashion, you'll have your work cut out for you just staying up-to-date on who's down with eco, who's out, and who has no idea what is actually going on back at the factory. Trends and rules of thumb change incessantly... but what if there were a fast-pass to just know the odds that the garment you bought was eco-friendly?
I did some digging for you, and want to blaze past the confusing statistics... let's shoot straight. Armed with the real scoop, the next time you go looking to add pieces to your wardrobe, you can check the tag's fiber content and cut to the chase - in or out?
Silk comes from worms, but you probably knew that. Did you also know that those silkworms are given growth hormones so they can produce the silk? Did you also know that they die in the process?
If bugs aren't your thing, I get it, they're not mine either, but you've gotta admit, feeding hormones to worms just because we want to wear silk is a bit of a silly an arduous task - especially when most people can buy garments made out of modal and achieve the same look and feel as a gorgeous silk dress. Modal & modal blends are mostly made from reclaimed beechwood, using an entirely carbon-neutral production.
This might be a lightweight, drapey, material that gets weaker when it's wet- highly breathable but cheap and not very durable. It's a semi-synthetic fiber that, get this, is made from plant-derived materials. Now that kind of verbiage will trip you up, making you think you've done the world a solid by buying that garment. But actually... what you didn't know, is that the only way to make viscose comfy and wearable is to put a bunch of chemicals on it. It's packed with nitrates and phosphates, which pollute both water and air. Check the tag to find viscose lurking, and instead, get the same effect by buying recycled polyester clothing instead.
Confusing, right?? For such a simple textile, it actually has a bit of a cluttered backstory. Cotton is the most commonly-used fabric in the world, so that actually puts a lot of pressure on cotton farmers... so pesticides are plenty. In fact, conventional cotton pesticide needs make up 16% of the world's pesticide usage. Imagine, all that pesticide run-off in lakes, streams, and rivers. Kind of gross. Not to mention the fact that it takes over 700 gallons of water just to make one cotton t-shirt.
Organic cotton, however, doesn't have these issues because it's grown without the use of pesticides. In addition, garments made from recycled cotton use zero extra water and still results in soft, cuddly material.
Once again, this gloriously stretchy material requires a ton of chemically-heavy production processes, and because of this, they end up in landfills down the line.
Instead of choosing spandex, I wanna introduce you to a newer material, called elasterell-p. Its production process is just a bit more eco-friendly because it uses way fewer chemicals an less water. The best part? It lasts longer than spandex and it's recyclable!
I know, say it ain't so, anything but the bamboo! What if I told that the only reason those bamboo sheets feel so cuddly is because they're laden with chemicals an use an extreme amount of water.
But what really seals the deal, is the fact that the use of bamboo in the fashion industry is contributing to the deforestation of ancient forests. So what's an appropriate subsitute? Meet tencel. Tencel is also a plant-based fiber - but made from sustainable eucalyptus trees. It requires less fertilizer and water to grow, making it a more appropriate plant-based substitute.