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February 16, 2021 4 min read

Key Take Aways

  • Fabrics are a key piece in the climate change conversation.
  • Innovation is paramount to the movement of the industry.
  • Reinforce the classic good materials as well as shed light on some new ones.

 

The lowdown on eco fabrics.

We love being part of a movement towards a more environmentally conscious, inclusive and bright future. Fabrics are such a vital part of the production of everything we consume and like other things in the world of sustainability, rarely is the information or answer we want to hear black or white. We like to compare it to yin and yang, for every plus there could be an equal or larger minus.

Why would you want to hear more about fabrics? Because we believe that its a core and fundamental part of changing the vicious loop of destruction that some materials can cause to the world. The impact can be colossal and the innovations in materials in our space is mind blowing.

 

Lets talk facts:
  • Fabrics account for approximately 70 % of a garments environmental impact.
  • Every second a tonne of textiles enter landfill ( dramatic pause)
  • Textile production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all travel emissions. Fashion accounts for around 8% globally. That number has to go down.

 

A fabric or material seems so simple. It just is. But its pretty complex, when we think about measuring the impact of a fabric. The whole process starts at the source. From growing or developing the crop or fibre to processing, colouring, transporting this fibre.

 

Fabric Sorts

Fabrics can be bundled together by sorts and some examples are here below:

They categorise into the following:

  1. Plant based natural fibres; lets say cotton, hemp, linen.
  2. Manmade cellulose fibres; so rayon, viscose, eco vero, tencel.
  3. Animal based fibres & material; down, wool, leather and silk.
  4. Synthetics; polyester, nylon and the like.
  5. Bio leathers: apple leather, corn leather.

 

At Verse we have a penchant for all the good fibres like organic cotton, but in mainstream fashion the norm is polyester based. The second most common material is cotton and the third is man made cellulose. Animal based fibres only account for 1% of the global total fashion fibre.

We prefer to look at how we consume based on our style. The frequency of the type of styles you rock should lead to you starting there to improve your consumption.

 

Lets talk cotton

Intersectional environmentalism is such a hugely relevant movement within fashion right now. One resource we look up to is @intersectionalenvironmentalist group, this group is an “inclusive” version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalised communities and the earth are interconnected.

Conventional cotton crops are grown using toxic pesticides which strip soil of biodiversity as well as pollute water causing major reproductive, developmental, immune and neurological harm to the health of local garment workers. The fashion industries environmental impacts have humane ones too. Its all interconnected. Usually hitting marginalised communities or people of colour the hardest.

Organic cotton does not need the harmful synthetics, fertilisers and pesticides as well as reducing the output of water, air and pollution. Basically a lower carbon footprint is definitely a good thing in this most common material. Organic cotton is one of the easiest-to-wear natural fibres you can get. Looking for the certificates from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) can ensure that the fabric meets the approved standard.

Colorful Standard is our go to label for all our organic basic needs. All the garments are produced in Portugal, are unisex and are pre washed meaning they don’t shrink and stay perfect for way longer.

 

Five young adults posing for a group picture wearing colorful sweaters from colorful standards

 

 

two girls with KCST beanies and scarves walking through Amsterdam streets

 Shop KCST

 

 

Recycled PET

So many materials are basically made of plastic. Nylon, polyurethane as well as polyester all big culprits. A large part of all active and sportswear are crafted from non biodegradable fabrics. They are mostly crude oil based as well as being carbon monoxide emitters.

Traditional duck and goose down filling have traditionally dominated the market but recent years we have seen the rise of quality sustainable and vegan variants.

Another hidden disaster is micro plastics. They simply enter into the water stream during the washing cycle and are extremely difficult if not impossible to get out again.

The one solution to this problem is to wear products made from recycled PET or econyl for example which is a fabric crafted from recycled fishing nets. Honestly speaking there are still issued with recycled PET however its the better alternative compared to creating new polyester. Two of our long standing outerwear partners use Recycled PET as a main pillar in their product strategy.

 

two models wearing unisex vegan down jackets by embassy of bricks and logs

Shop Embassy of Bricks & Logs

 

a male and a female model wearing the new maium rain coat in sunshine yellow made from recycled bottles

Shop Maium

 

 

In 2020 Maium recycled over 1000000 bottles into outerwear - check out our collection of sustainable rain coats from Maium.

 

Tencel / Lyocell

When it comes to man made cellulose fibres we care about two things. How the raw materials are sourced as well as the processing (we prefer closed loop).

Lenzing  is a company which trademarks and produces sustainably sources eco friendly viscose alternatives. Its also powered by renewable energy.

This Summer will almost be like the Summer of love. Emerging out of global lock downs lets wear these floaty fabrics like eco-vero, tencel and lyocell in dresses, skirts, oversized shirts and blouses. Get the silky look without harming one single worm.

 

Bio Leathers

The debate was full blown this year about the real cost of “vegan” leather. As an alternative to animal derived leathers the most common alternative has been polyurethane based which totally dependant on fossil fuels and basically never biodegrade. At Verse we are excited for brands like Virón that are pioneering the space in using bio based leathers as a staple in their footwear.

According to founder Julian, Virón are using apple leather because:

“It meets the requirements of the brands main 3 sustainability pillars. By using the leftovers of the apple juice industry in northern Italy, its is 1) vegan as well as plant based 2) made from waste which otherwise would be thrown away 3) by reducing fossil fuel oil based synthetic components by 60% compared to conventional PU / vegan leathers.

 

a collage of black and white boots by Viron made of biodegradable apple leather 

 

Source links:

https://textileexchange.org/

https://store.textileexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/woocommerce_uploads/ 2019/11/Textile-Exchange_Preferred-Fiber-Material-Market-Report_2019-1.pdf

https://www.intersectionalenvironmentalist.com/

https://www.global-standard.org/

https://maium.nl/en/brand/sustainability/

https://embassyofbricksandlogs.com/about/

https://colorfulstandard.com/pages/about

 



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