Sustainable Fabrics 101: A Guest Edit by Cassandra Dittmer
We ask sustainable stylist and founder of ethical fashion line CD Studio to walk us through some simple tips for making sure you are investing in the right fabrics when it comes to conscious consumption!
Whether you’re at the beginning of your sustainable fashion journey, or a seasoned pro, looking at the composition of the clothes we wear is key.
Yes I’m focusing all things fabrics in this month’s column.
Does natural always equal good and synthetic equal bad? Should I be buying vegan leather?
As with most topics in sustainability, there is no one right answer, but I thought I’d highlight some of my favourite fabrics when it comes to shopping more sustainably.
KEEP IT NATURAL
Invest in good quality natural fabrics and you can’t go wrong. Especially in the summer months, natural fibres like cotton, hemp and linen are super light and breathable.
Cotton – this wardrobe staple is also one of the thirstiest and most chemical-intensive crops to grow. Where you can, try to opt for organic cotton which removes harmful pesticides and other chemicals from the production process. I made sure the cotton I used in my CD Studio collection was GOTS-certified to ensure the highest possible standards in production, try and keep an eye out for GOTS labels next time you shop.
Hemp – although hemp doesn’t scream high-fashion, it requires very little water, no pesticides, and naturally fertilises the soil it grows in – making it much better for the environment than most other crops. I’ve spotted some beautiful hemp bed linen from Casa Parini which looks beyond dreamy…
I really believe that technology and innovation provide the key to solving some of the big climate issues, and love to discover (and geek out) on the latest fabric developments. In particular, ECONYL regenerated nylon is one of my favourites; used in everything from Prada backpacks to Girlfriend Collective leggings. It’s made from nylon waste such as fishing nets and carpets recovered from the ocean or landfill. The yarn can be endlessly recycled without ever losing its quality. Top tip, don’t forget to use a Guppy Bag when washing your recycled nylons to reduce microfibres being released into the waterways.
A lot of vegan leathers can be petroleum-based, so here are a couple of my favourite leather alternatives that use incredible fruit and vegetables to create amazing ‘leathers’ that are kinder to animals and the planet.
Pinatex is a natural leather alternative made from pineapple leaf fibre. The leaves are a by-product of the food industry and would otherwise end up in landfill or incinerated. Not only is this a great use of waste, it also creates additional income for the farming communities in the Philippines.
Stella McCartney recently made headlines for making fungi fashionable! Creating a bag from mycelium, a vegan leather substitute made from the root-like structure in mushrooms. I look forward to the material scaling up and being more widely available and accessible.