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The concept of sustainability is a highly controversial one that has taken over the textile industry by storm. As more individuals begin realizing the importance of leading a sustainable lifestyle, veganism has come into play regarding small changes made in the everyday setting that can have a big impact.
Become a more conscious shopper by choosing vegan alternatives over conventional fabrics. Here are a few vegan fabric choices you should consider.
Linen is a fabric that comes from natural fibers derived from the flax plant. The flax crop grows very quickly, and its cultivation requires few to no pesticide and fertilizers. It does not need much help to grow sturdy and strong, meaning its growth has no impact on the environment.
It is famously produced in countries such as Belgium, France, Egypt, and China. The fabric is characterized for being strong, durable, yet very soft to touch. It is praised for being both fashionable and comfortable.
Other important properties are that this fabric is antibacterial, recyclable, and biodegradable. It is commonly used to make aprons, reusable bags, towels, cloth napkins, bed sheets, tablecloths, furniture covers, and adapted in various forms of mens and womenswear.
Hemp fabric is a textile fabric made from the fibers of the Cannabis sativa plant. Specifically, the stalks of these plants are used as they produce highly durable fibers. The stalks are made from two layers; an outer layer that consists of thicker fibers, and an inner layer made of a woody pith.
The outer layer is utilized for the hemp fabrics. This is stripped from the plant and processed into a kind of yarn material. Once processed, the hemp fabrics feel similar to a combination of cotton and linen.
This fabric is soft yet highly durable; anything made from hemp fibers will have a long lifespan. It is commonly used for t-shirts, dresses, hooded sweatshirts, undergarments, socks, and many household textiles.
Organic cotton is produced from organic agricultural processes. It is a sustainable production that takes into account the health of the soil, ecosystems, and workers. It does not include any form of artificial inputs, toxic chemicals, nor GMO’s.
Other benefits of organic cotton production include the reduction of environmental footprints, the promotion of safer working environments for farmers, a circular business model for the future, a positive impact on the food system, a fair price for a sustainable product, and the massive difference that is made if replacing conventional cotton.
Organic cotton has the same uses as traditional cotton, and is found among men and women’s clothing, shoes, furniture, children’s clothing, sanitary items, cosmetic products, and paper products.
Lyocell is manufactured from wood pulp. Lyocell is similar to rayon, and consists of a cellulose fiber; the dissolving pulp is reconstituted through a dry jet-wet spinning process. In difference to rayon, which is made through the viscose production process, lyocell does not include carbon sulfide which is highly harmful for the environment.
While the lyocell production process is a bit more pricey than the rayon production process, this vegan fabric is revolutionary and must be considered as a substitution for viscose rayon.
Lyocell is used in many different everyday fabrics. These include denim, chino, undergarment, casual wear, and towel fabrics. They can be incorporated in clothing intended to have a silky appearance, in pieces such as faux silk blouses and men’s dress shirts.
Pinatex, more commonly referred to as ‘pineapple leather’, is a faux leather alternative that is made from the fibers of pineapple leaves. The inventor of this fabric, Dr. Carmen Hijosa, is the owner of the fabric’s rights and has her own company which produces it.
The production process is as follows; the long fibers extracted from pineapple leaves are felted together to create a non-woven substrate. Pineapple leaves usually go to waste, therefore this fabric is highly sustainable and helps create a circular sustainable model.
Production requires no pesticides, additional land, water, or fertilizers. It is known for being a breathable and flexible fabric, commonly used in handbags, shoes, wallets, watch wristbands, and seat coverings.
The conventional synthetic fibers tend to be very harmful towards the environment; especially throughout their production process. However, by making use of these waste products and recycling them, these can help eliminate these excessive wastes and create new fabrics from these remains.
Recycled nylon is an example of this method. However, keep in mind that nylon is not a natural fabric, and use can still be harmful for the environment. This is the best vegan synthetic option, among many others. Recycled nylon is used for products such as pantyhose and swimwear, for both men and women.
Soysilk is known as a vegan imitation of traditional silk, and is made from the soy residue that is leftover from tofu production. The production process is completely natural and does not include the use of any petrochemicals, making this product not only vegan, but also highly environmentally friendly.
The fibers have a fine diameter, and are easy to adjust to structure the drafting and thickness of the material. The process is highly similar to that of spinning silk or Tencel. Soysilk can be found in products such as men’s dress shirts, women’s blouses, dresses, camisoles, among many others.
Veganism has been taking over the fashion world, it seems each day more. Vegan fabrics represent a big part of the future of the textile industry, in all its aspects and among all its variations.
These fabrics are comfortable, stylish, and imitate the texture of authentic animal fabrics– without bringing harm to the animals.
They are an innovation that must be further exploited and included. Become more sustainable, either by creating a sustainable wardrobe by purchasing second hand items, or by incorporating vegan fabrics.
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