Organic, recycled and natural materials in the fashion industry

Products made of sustainable materials are becoming more accessible to consumers. We are seeing bigger brands making an effort in cleaning up their supply chain and offering greener products, London Fashion Week 2020 saw an increased interest in this from some of the biggest names in the fashion world.

This is a necessary change that we need to see, and hopefully, this will change consumers behaviours too. Fast fashion is still a huge problem in the world, charity organisation Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) have estimated that the amount of clothes that end up in landfill annually is worth around £140million (around 350,000 tonnes) just in the UK, and they estimate that clothes unused in peoples wardrobes could add up to £30 billion.

The fast fashion industry often uses the cheapest possible manufacturing, materials and finishing to keep the prices low for the consumers. As you can imagine these methods are devastating to our planet, and to our health. For example, non-organic cotton is one of the most common materials used in t-shirts and jeans, one cotton t-shirt requires roughly 2700 litres of water during production. In the bleaching and dyeing process, about 8000 different synthetic chemicals are used that are carcinogenic, can be damaging to our nervous system and the environment and even cause deaths to farmers and serious birth defects in their children. As our skin absorbs anything we put on it, it is best to wash your clothes before you wear them, and check for clothes with OEKO-TEX®, GOTS, or BLUESIGN® certification labels.

But thanks to changes to some industry standard and few corporations taking a bigger responsibility, we are seeing some positive changes. These changes, unfortunately, are not enough to save our planet from climate change, but it gives consumers the chance to make a difference by changing their shopping habits and how they treat their clothes.

There are increasingly more clothes on the market that are made out of organic and natural materials like linen, hemp, organic cotton and TENCEL™. These are fabrics that are environmentally friendly, less harmful to the planet and some are even biodegradable. As an example, organic cotton reduces water consumption by 91% compared to conventional cotton. Unfortunately, only 1% of the global cotton production is organic today, mainly due to higher cost. There are other fabrics that require even less water in the production phase, such as hemp, linen and recycled cotton.

Recycled materials can save us even more water, save virgin resources, and even tackle the growing problem we have with waste management, making it another great environmentally friendly option. There are several ways recycled materials are being used to make fabrics, anything from recycled cotton to recycled PET bottles. Patagonia’s Responsibili-Tee is one of the t-shirts we stock that is made this way.

At TYF we want to help you make your decisions easier, so we stock a wide range of products that are good for the planet. Not only do we stock organic and recycled clothes, but also our zero waste lifestyle products and pre-loved wetsuits. We have arranged several clothes swap and we hope to have a repair station set up very soon for our customers to use. Sign up to our newsletter here to keep yourself up to date on these developments. 

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