With the massive resources needed to create, wash, and transport clothes, the fashion industry has one of the highest carbon footprints. The campaign for ecologically sustainable fashion gained traction not too long ago.
Instead of churning out several pieces at a frantic pace, the garment sector instituted reforms, sourcing environmentally-friendly raw materials and streamlining manufacturing practices. Consumers soon followed suit by holding on to their clothes longer, upcycling, and resorting to wardrobe swaps.
If you’re interested in green fashion practices such as wardrobe swaps, keep reading. In this article, you’ll discover what it is and which materials to avoid and choose.
Why Green Fashion Is Gaining Ground
‘Green fashion’ refers to the practice of wearing clothes that are made from eco-friendly materials and sustainable processes. Specifically, it pushes for the use of organic clothes made from renewable and organic raw materials without toxic chemicals. It’s also meant to reduce microplastic pollution from your clothes through recycling and wardrobe swapping.
How Does Wardrobe Swapping Work?
Wardrobe swapping aims to keep clothes away from landfills. Organizers will set a meeting place to exchange valuable pieces no longer in use for apparel that they intend to wear. This helps preserve the environment by reducing the resources needed to make new clothes and putting wearable pieces to good use instead of throwing them away.
Eco-Friendly Fabrics To Switch To
Apart from recycling, donating, and repurposing your wardrobe, choosing organic raw materials over synthetic fabrics is one of the many ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
The wardrobe fabrics mentioned below are highly damaging to the environment and consumers because of the high amounts of chemicals used to create them. Plus, they’re non-biodegradable.
Unsure of what wardrobe pieces to swap for? Start with the fabric. The list below will help you identify which piece to swap:
- Polyester To Linen
Polyester is often used in clothes because it’s easy to dye, making it versatile. Unfortunately, it’s a type of plastic called Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET).
Switch your polyester-laden clothes for linen, a natural fiber. This organic material comes from the flax plant, and is devoid of chemicals. Best of all, linen is one of the most durable fabrics while staying cool and lightweight.
- Rayon To Organic Cotton
Rayon is also a common fabric material used in the fashion industry, likely because it can be created to mimic wool, silk, or cotton. And while this fiber is made from wood pulp, many chemicals are used to process and treat it for various applications—among them ammonia, sulfuric acid, and acetone.
While less versatile, you’re better off using organic cotton, which is breathable and has moisture-wicking properties. Unlike regular cotton, organic cotton is grown without chemicals and fertilizers, making it a better and safer choice.
- Acrylic To Organic Wool
Acrylic is another synthetic fiber made from acrylonitrile polymers that, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, may cause serious health risks, including cancer.
Ditch acrylic and use organic wool instead, as they closely resemble one another. Organic wool is an animal-sourced fabric, with sheep as the leading producer. Wool is highly resistant to fire and is known for its insulating abilities.
- Nylon To Pina
Some clothes still contain nylon, which you need to avoid because of the multiple chemicals necessary to treat it, including chloroform, pentene, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, to name a few. Switch to plant-based fabric pina instead.
Pina fiber is derived from pineapple leaves and is often combined with softer fabrics like silk. It takes patience to make pina, as each strand has to be manually scraped and knotted by hand. While labor-intensive, the weaving of pina embodies sustainable fashion practices in its minimized carbon footprint.
- Acetate To Bamboo
Like rayon, acetate fabric is also derived from wood pulp. However, it’s classified as a semi-synthetic fabric because of the massive amounts of chemicals needed before it can be used.
Why not swap your acetate-made clothing for garments made from bamboo? This plant is soft, cool, and lightweight yet has hypoallergenic properties.
Other Fabrics To Opt For
Besides the abovementioned organic materials, be on the lookout for clothes made from the following:
Soy fabric: Soy fabric is a plant fiber made from vegans’ staple diet, soybeans. Leftover hulls from food manufacturers are used to create the fabric, which helps minimize waste. This type of fabric shares its properties with cashmere, a variety of wool fabric from goats.
Hemp: The plant source for cannabidiol (CBD) products can also be used to make plant-based clothing. Hemp fiber is one of the most durable and pest-resilient fabrics out there. Apart from making wearable garments, hemp can be used for making ropes, shoes, paper, and so many more products.
Green fashion demands consumers choose clothes that limit their carbon footprint, protect workers, and prevent damage to the environment and their health. Transitioning to this mindset allows one to promote sustainability by choosing eco-friendly practices from the factories to the runway.
Additionally, it encourages fashion enthusiasts to become more mindful of their wardrobe collections without sacrificing their style.