Environmental awareness has undoubtedly become one of the biggest talking points in both the US and throughout the world. The conservation narrative has been adopted by the mainstream and fashion isn’t exempt from this. Sustainability is creeping its way up on the agendas of garment technologists across the world, but which materials have taken the most inspiration from nature? With some guidance from CT Shirts, suppliers of high quality mens dress shirts, let’s take a look at some innovative materials which are inspired by nature.
TENCEL™ (Lyocell/ Modal)
The fabric innovation TENCEL™ was pioneered by an Australian firm, and it is created by combining and then dissolving cotton scraps and wood pulp, obtained from certified sustainable forests. The material is essentially cellulose fibres and it produces a light and multi-purpose fabric, which has soared in availability in recent years. It is 50% more absorbent than cotton, unshaken by moisture, and with an impressive anti-bacterial quality, it is the ideal choice for activewear garments. In terms of efficiency, it is far cheaper and less resource consuming than producing conventional cotton. As well as this, it is biodegradable which is a sought-after quality in a society which is looking more and more towards finding new ways to limit our input onto landfill sites.
While the production of TENCEL™ does require petrochemicals, they are used under a closed-loop system, which recycles the solvent and keeps the amount of waste produced minimal.
Hemp is one of the oldest fabrics in the world, and it is becoming more and more popular as a component of our everyday garments. It’s derived from the stem of the hemp plant, and the resultant product shares a lot of similarities with linen. The qualities of hemp garments help to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer months, making it an extremely versatile choice to incorporate into items for every season. It is also extremely UV resistant, making it great for swimwear!
Hemp is remarkably pest resistant, meaning that it will not require any herbicides, fungicides or pesticides to thrive — plus it will yield in a small surface area and with minimal water. Plus, as it grows, it returns much of the nutrients it uses to the soil, making it good for the surrounding ecosystem. The hemp can be produced into fabrics through an entirely organic process as well, which adds to the environmental benefit.
Linen is an essential for many of us packing outfits for a summer vacation, celebrated for its breathability and lightweight qualities – and you’ll also find that many towels and bedsheets are available in the natural fabric. However, not many people know that linen is a plant derivative! It is made from the stem of the flax plant, and growing linen is not an excessive time nor water consuming process. It rivals cotton on durability, and it even gets stronger with every wash. As an organic fabric, when it is untreated it is biodegradable, making it a brilliant choice for the environmentally conscious among us. Linen products are timeless wardrobe staples, and they look brilliant in white or alternatively muted tones like ecru, ivory, tan and grey.
Conventional cotton requires a lot of water to grow, and the plant relies heavily upon harmful chemicals — making it a less sustainable option for the fashion industry. However, GOTS cotton has been manufactured to rival traditional cotton. The production process doesn’t require any harmful pesticides — which have been linked to causing cancer in the past. This material takes a holistic revision of the classic production methods of cotton, while maintaining all the benefits of being a natural fibre. It is a breathable, sustainable alternative which can be incorporated into various garments.
The fashion industry is certainly looking towards nature to support further fabric innovations, and these developments are just the beginning of the shift from traditional fabrics to the new wave of greener, eco-friendlier alternatives!