The Sustainable Wardrobe: synthetic fabric selection.
Having a sustainable wardrobe is no easy feat.
Today we will look into the synthetic fabrics, understand how they are made and how they impact the quality of our clothes as well as the environment.
Episode 3: Synthetic Fabric Selection.
SYNTHETIC FABRIC SELECTION
- Doesn't need much ironing
- Doesn't absorb moisture making it hot when worn in warm temperatures.
- Most polyester has poor quality and is mainly used for fast fashion, made to last you only a few wears.
- Dries quickly
- Dirt resistant
- Doesn’t absorb moisture well, so it might be very hot to wear in the heat.
- Warm fabric
- Absorbs and releases moisture quickly, which allows the fabric to "breathe"
- Retains its shape
- Resists shrinkage and wrinkles
- Resistant to moths, oil and chemicals, sunlight degradation
- Do not wear well and have a tendency to peel.
All synthetic fabrics are made out of fossil fuel which is a carbon-intensive non-renewable resource. As we all know, the production of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, which is the leading cause of climate change. For example, each year more than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make the world’s polyester fibre, which is now the most commonly used fibre in our clothing.
- The chemical process involved in synthetic fabrics production includes harmful chemicals, including those that cause cancer, and if transmitted to water and air untreated, it can cause significant environmental damage.
- Synthetics are not suited to natural dyes and lowest impact chemical dyes, meaning that the process of colouring the fibres creates significant water pollution.
- Every time a synthetic fabric is being washed, it releases tiny plastic bits - called microfibers. They flow down our drains, through water treatment plants, and out into our rivers, lakes and oceans by the billions. They act like little sponges, attracting and absorbing other toxic chemicals around them, like motor oil and pesticides. Eventually they climb their way up the food chain, until they reach human bellies at mealtime.
- Any type of synthetic fabrics, blended ones included, is not biodegradable. They will stay up to 200 years in a landfill releasing their toxic chemicals, slowly killing our planet.
- Synthetic fabrics can be recycled and also be manufactured from recycled plastics. There is a dual benefit here: we reduce plastic waste and at the same time decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.
Find more information:
How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply. (Via The Guardian)
Recycling nylon is good for the planet – so why don't more companies do it? (Via The Guardian)
The Buried Story of Male Hysteria. (Via The Atlantic)
Fig Leaves Are Out. What to Wear to Be Kind to the Planet? (Via The New York Times)
Demand Rainforest-Free Fabrics: https://www.ran.org/fashion_laggards
Stop Microfiber Plastic Pollution: http://action.storyofstuff.org/sign/stop_microfiber_plastic_pollution/
Stop H&M and Zara from air and water pollution at viscose factories in Asia: https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/fashion-victims