Being sustainable whilst staying fashion conscious can often be very difficult. If we choose sustainability over fashion then, arguably, our wardrobe suffers, for eventually our clothes will become outdated. However, if we pick fashion and buy new clothes, probably via fast fashion brands, then it could be debated whether being environmentally friendly still stands. The reason for this is because the rise of fast fashion unfortunately also means the rise of environmental waste through degradable fabrics.
Whilst, there are many ways to be fashion and environmentally conscious at the same time, including upcycling old items or buying preloved clothing, there are also other options. One answer to protecting the earth whilst loving our wardrobes is to look at the fabrics that our clothes are made out of. Whilst we may not realise the harm that fabric consumption has on the earth, being aware of which materials are more earth conscious should become vital information.
One fabric that is sometimes presumed to be environmentally friendly is cotton, due to the fact that it is a naturally occurring fibre. Whilst this is the case, it also uses tens of thousands of gallons of water to make a singular item. On top of this, cotton farms use high amounts of pesticides and toxic chemicals that heavily pollute the earth.
Similar to cotton in that we may not realise that it is harmful towards the environment, is polyester. Polyester is a manmade fabric, meaning that it is able to be made in big batches which encourages the overproduction of fashion. The process that goes into making polyester heavily pollutes the earth due to the excess of chemical fibres used.
Nonetheless, many clothes and other items, such as bedding are made from cotton, polyester, or a mixture of the two otherwise known as polycotton. This reveals that what we wear can be heavily harmful to the environment because of the way that it is made. This leads to the questions of what fabrics are sustainable?
One certain fabric is Circulose. Circulose has recently been created with the sole purpose of being a fabric that is environmentally friendly. Made from discarded textiles that are either simply too out-of-date or too worn, the process to turn them into a fabric is powered by 100% renewable energy with no need for cotton fields, oil, or trees. The aim of this is to close the loop on fashion and make it so that there no longer needs to be the decision between sustainability or fashion consciousness, instead both options can come hand in hand. This is shown to work for, according to the Circulose website, “People that choose Circulose garments cut their waste, climate, water, microplastics and deforestation fashion footprint to almost half.”
Currently, Circulose works with companies such as Levi and H&M, to create more sustainable clothing that no longer harms the planet. Their aim is to create collaborations with more companies across the board.
Whilst, fabrics such as cotton and polyester will arguably always be in use, the creation of Circulose means that the fashion industry has taken one step forward to becoming an eco-friendly industry.