What are the most sustainable fabrics?

When you're shopping for clothes, it can be pretty intimidating to try and decipher what all the different labels mean.

What's sustainable, and what's not? We wanted to put together a handy material guide for the fabrics which are the best for the environment, and in turn, better for you. So next time you go shopping, hopefully you'll be armed with a few more facts to make it easier. 

The most sustainable fabrics

Hemp

You know we love hemp! Hemp can be grown anywhere around the world, requires very little water and naturally fertilises the soil it grows in. 

It's also one of the strongest fibres in the world and naturally gets softer with each wash. It's a natural fibre, so if you buy a piece of clothing with 100% hemp, it biodegrades very easily. 

Hemp on its own feels a bit like linen, but when mixed with organic cotton it becomes silky soft and quite pliable. 

Organic cotton

The whole supply chain of organic cotton has a lower environmental impact, from how it's grown to how it's processed and dyed.

 It also biodegrades easily and can be a great source of cash for small farmers. When buying organic cotton, make sure it's GOTS certified to rest easy that it's actually organic. 

Linen

Linen is a natural fibre derived from the flax plant. It doesn't need much water to grow, doesn't use pesticides and can even grow in poor soil.

It also breathes very well and is highly absorbent without breeding bacteria.

Bamboo

Bamboo can be a sustainable fibre depending on how it's processed. Bamboo rayon is highly chemically treated and the toxic waste it produces goes directly into the environment, so it's best to steer clear of this type of bamboo. 

Look for bamboo lyocell if shopping for bamboo fabric, and make sure there are certifications on the website you're shopping from. 

Recycled synthetics

Recycled polyester, cotton or nylon are all good options for recycled clothing. They save plastic and clothes from going to landfill and take less energy to produce than virgin fabrics

Recycled polyester, for example, is usually made from plastic bottles instead of crude oil, which is what virgin polyester is made from. 

Recycled polyester and nylon still shed microplastics, though. So make sure to get a laundry bag that catches these tiny pieces of plastic so they don't pollute the ocean!

Have you tried any of these sustainable fabrics? Which one is your favourite?