“green, greener, greenest” ..the skinny on eco-fabrics
I’m not of the mindset that we’re ‘saving the world’ over here at Sweet Skins, just by being Green. I personally don’t believe the world needs saving. I think we each need to save ourselves, and by that I mean that we each need to tune into our own true SELF and do it’s WILL above all else. If we all did that, I believe great things would happen. I run my business as ethically as I can because that’s what feels right and good to me. It is my WILL to create a sustainable company (that my grandchildren will be proud of).
There are lots of aspect to running a company “sustainably”, but when it comes to fabric, it’s a no brainer for me; Organic is just so much yummier than the cheap stuff. I am run a eco clothing company, but I still try stuff on a Ross from time to time. But it’s rare that anything mass-produced ever really flatters these curves, or supports this baby belly the way Sweet Skins does. I buy organic clothing because they look better, fit better and feels better all around. There are lots of claim of ‘green’ & ‘organic’ in the textile world today. But since we know that no one is perfect and almost nothing produced is completely ‘green’, let’s have a look at some popular natural fabrics and compare the deets.. You’ll see that each ‘eco’ fabric has it’s own pluses and minuses..
Wool if the #1 prize winner on the sustainability charts. It is ALL natural. Sheering from farm animals (who do need to sheared from time to time) (un-sheared sheep pic). Wool is warm, water repellent and antimicrobial. In order to be considered ‘organic wool’ the sheep would graze organic fields and standards of care and animal treatment should be in place. Wool is a wonderful, reusable, luscious fiber! The down side of wool is, it needs very special care for fear of pilling and shrinkage (unintended felting, that is). Wool is also quite expensive (as it should be, it’s made from an animal’s hair!).
Silk is right up there with wool, in terms of ALL natural goodness. The main problem with silk is just that many. many. many little innocent silk worms get killed in the process. And then there is the special care, and the high price. There is such a thing as “eco silk” where the silkworm is allowed to metamorphosis and leave the cocoon before the silk is gathered. But ‘eco silk’ is not easy to find. This fabric making process is rare and takes much longer because the silk threads have been broken, where in the traditional silk harvesting method each cocoon is unrolled in one solitary thread. Silk is luxurious. delicate. and expensive.
Hemp- we believe that hemp is the next runner up on the eco scale. Hemp is grown organically because it simply requires no pesticides. The majority of our designs are crafted from some percentage of hemp fiber. We chose to work with hemp because of its amazing texture and superior environmental score. Hemp is the premier plant fiber fabric, used to make the first American Flag, and the first pair of Levi’s jeans! Now softer and more diverse than ever, hemp is grown organically and produces 250% more usable yield than cotton and 600% more than flax, on the same amount of acreage! Unlike many other so-called ‘natural’ fibers, hemp is processed in non-toxic ways. Not only that, but hemp fibers are porous, working to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and absorbs dye better. We just love the unique texture and the beautiful array of natural blends available these days. Once you go hemp, you’ll love it for life! Most accessible hemp is grown in China at this time.
Organic Cotton: Cotton is a dream fabric, admit it. If you could only have one fabric in the entire world, you would want it to be sweet, soft, glorious cotton. Cotton is a well, “cotton picking” kind of crop. For one thing, the only part of the plants used is the little cotton pooms (v/s hemps entire plant) and unfortunate that cotton crops throughout the world are the most heavily pesticide laden crop around! Thankfully, organic cotton can be found pretty readily. Though US grown crops are still very few. growth, production, processing standards.
Soy fabric is an interesting to contestant in the eco fiber world. What we love about it is the durability, versatility in look and drape. What’s really cool about the Soy fiber is it’s made from the waste product from soybeans. Since a huge part of the earth population (and especially in China where the fabric is made) eats soy, the material is recycled from post consumer. It is converted and processed (hopefully using non-toxic agents and enzymes) into a fiber and made into fabric. Soy Protein Fiber has antibacterial and UV radiation prevention properties.
What’s not so great about Soy Fiber is that the converting to fabric process requires chemicals and enzymes, that some claim are not likely to be organic. Therefore the processing aspect of Soy fabric may bring it down the scale on environmental friendliness.
Bamboo fabric is kind of awesome, and kind of not. It is silk, soft and delightful. It is made from free wild growing bamboo that takes over countrysides in Asia.Bamboo as a crop is highly sustainable as it grows very fast, needs minimal care and no fertilizers. Processing it is similar to the production methods for wood pulp rayon. Bamboo must be converted to pulp and transformed to what is called bamboo viscose (similar to rayon). Much like the Soy fabric, there is concern about the chemicals used for this process.
Eco-Fleece Eco-Fleece: 80-100% recycled pop bottles and water bottles. Eco-fleece fabric is the best quality ‘polar’ fleece available. It’s made entirely from 2 liter pop bottles! Unbelievably soft and warm, it washes up easily in a simple warm wash & dry cycle, with no special care required (other than to not over-dry on a very high temp!). It is super plush and ages gracefully. Made in US and Canada