001. Ethical and sustainable fashion is something I am really passionate about and something that I have definitely mentioned a lot on this blog before, but today I'm coming to you with a post from a little bit of a different angle. I want to to talk about the fabrics- WHAT fibres and materials are actually going into the clothes you wear on you bodies every single day! As I'm on an ongoing journey of cutting back the amount of plastic waste I produce personally and becoming kinder person to the earth, I found out that what I wear on my body plays a pretty important role too.
Hemp is honestly the miracle fibre that could save the world (no exaggeration I swear). A little plant that is often widely misunderstood, due to it's little cousin called Marijuana. Hemp actually contains no THC (which is the component that creates the high) and can honestly be used to make ANYTHING (I'm talking replacing fossil fuels, making paper, superfood for the body and skin, and a substitute for plastic!). A few of it's magic powers are that is uses half as much water as cotton to grow and is naturally resistant (meaning no pesticides etc. needed to grow!). Seriously this is a little wonder plant and I have only just introduced you to the tip of the iceberg. As far as hemp fabric goes, I would say it resembles a natural cotton- meaning it is very comfortable, breathable and lovely to wear. If you are wanting to know a little more about the powers of hemp, there's a pretty cool little doco HERE by the guys at Afends, kudos!
Ah good old faithful cotton. Honestly not the BEST of these three eco friendly basics (waster consumption wise) but it is still a nice basic and one of the most widely accessible. Cotton is a natural fabric, literally picked from the fields to be made into fabric. Because it is natural it also means it is breathable, soft, strong and hypo-allergenic. Cotton is also super versatile- denim, corduroy, chino, calico, broadcloth and even more are all made from cotton fibres! When produced in an eco friendly environment, meaning no harsh chemicals from dying or toxic resources when growing, cotton can is the match made in heaven for a conscious eco-babe.
The dreamiest fibre ever- once you try bamboo you won't go back. Environmentally, producing commercial harvests of bamboo only require rainwater, the plantations of bamboo produce up to 30% more oxygen than the equivalent area of trees and is also a fast growing, regenerating plant that can grow up to one metre per day (that is insane!). Health wise bamboo is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, hypo-allergenic (perfect if you have sensitive skin) and made out of a breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that I can't help but mention is honestly the softest thing I have possible ever touched. The best part about bamboo is that it is also super affordable with lots and lots of bamboo based stores popping up everywhere! If you haven't owned anything bamboo before I highly recommend giving this eco friendly fabric a try- it is a dream to wear, I promise you won't regret it!
Okay I thought I would also just mention it here with the Good Guys that if all of these are grown organically (which more often than not hemp and bamboo particularly are), they don't use pesticides, insecticides or fertilisers. Which means that they don't contribute to any toxic chemicals or toxic waste finding their way into our clothes, our land or our waterways!
Polyester, Acrylic, Nylon and Rayon
I feel like I don't need to talk about these in too much detail, I just want to make it clear that they are not good for the earth or for you! A main ingredient in polyester and acrylic materials is plastic. Meaning that it does not break down, contributes a LOT to pollution, takes a lot of nasty chemicals and toxins to manufacture and is in no way natural at all! Polyester is down right the worst and is made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric and terpthalic acid- nasty stuff! Acrylic is made from polycrylonitriles and some sources believe it may even cause cancer. Nylon is made from petroleum, which isn't something we want to be wearing. Rayon is also another fibre you see a lot of- it's made from recycled wood pulp (good hey?) but then must be treated with chemicals such as caustic soda, ammonia, acetone and sulphuric acid to survive our regular wash and wear.
002. Now, after reading all of that and maybe checking the labels on a few pieces of clothing, you are wondering how the hell it would be possible to curate a whole wardrobe of good materials- all while trying to not be wasteful and spend all of your hard earned money!? In my opinion this post is already long enough and jam-packed with new information, so I'm going to do a separate post on how to integrate these eco friendly values into your life. I hope that this little mini series will teach you something new and make you reconsider how powerful you are as a consumer!
003. YOU vote with YOUR dollar. Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the type of world you want to live in. You bought a new shirt from K-mart that cost $5? Cool, your dollars from that purchase are going towards voting for a world where underpaying garment staff, exploiting workers and not feeling safe in your work environment is OKAY. Bought a nice juicy beef burger on your lunch break today? You're voting for a world that isn't concerned with the HUGE negative impact animal agricultural poses to our environment here on earth and that thinks murder is okay as long as it's an animal. Just a perspective of money to get you thinking.