Versatility: soft, slightly glossy
Fiber source: natural, silk, rayon or cotton fabrics may be used
Biodegradable: yes or no depending on what materials are used, when untreated with chemicals, wool is 100% biodegradable in a span of 1-5 years based on the techniques adopted to convert it into fiber, silk starts to show signs of biodegradation after about 4 years, non-organic cotton cannot simply biodegrade due to the large number of dyes or finishing chemicals applied
Destruction: high if silk is used, silk processing and transportation cause high pollution, as most silk comes from China and India, cleaning silk requires harsh, intensive treatments and chemicals, which pollute ground water, for silk to be produced locally, in the USA for example, the non-native Mulberry tree for silkworms was introduced to American soil, which quickly disrupted native habitats, the tree is a highly invasive species and upset natural ecosystems, similar occurrences in Latin America and South Asia, Mulberry trees overtake native flora due to their extreme consumption of water, leaving less water to sustain native flora, if cotton is not organic lots of pesticides used, often GMO seeds, up to 16% of the world’s pesticides are used in cotton farming every year, chemicals degrade soil and pollute water and poison cotton pickers
- Unsustainable if made from silk, wool or non-organic cotton
Kills: silkworms if silk is used, silk is a fiber that silkworms weave to make their cocoons, silk producers boil silkworms alive while inside their cocoons, silkworms do have a physical response to pain
Harms: silkworms if silk is used
Indirectly kills or harms: wildlife and ecosystems, if non-organic cotton is used, production requires pesticides, which undoubtably harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
Faille is typically…
- Not Vegan
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May involve worker exploitation, laborer issues, human rights concerns
For every 5 garments produced, the equivalent of 3 end up in a landfill or incinerated each year!
The reason for such wastefulness is due to society’s ever growing desire to acquire. Fast fashion (creating low-priced items at high volumes) is problematic for a number of reasons and promotes the attitude that clothing is nearly disposable.
But another component of such a quick turnaround on clothing is because it’s just not lasting long enough. Snags, stains, warping and shrinkage render items unusable and unacceptable for the donation pile. Avoid such problems by buying better quality, more durable, long lasting materials. Timeless wardrobe favorites that last for years and years are more sustainable and reduce the need for replacements. It’s worth the extra cost if you only have to buy it once!
Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles burns or goes to landfills…
We must keep minimalism in mind and buy less, borrow and buy second hand. Thrift shops offer many inexpensive, unique finds that have already proven to stand the test of time!
faille is unsustainable if made from silk, wool or non-organic cotton.
Animal materials are a natural fiber and biodegradable unless heavily treated with chemicals. However, they are not at all eco-friendly or sustainable due to the overwhelming strain on natural resources; the water needed, food needed and land usage that must happen for such abundant amounts of animals to live.
Animal agriculture is not good for the environment, human health and of course, the animals themselves. Thus, animal derived, non-vegan materials are not only cruel and inhumane but environmentally unsustainable.
That’s not to say that all vegan materials are sustainable. There are many vegan yet unsustainable fabrics, materials and textiles. Most of us don’t realize that washing one synthetic garment releases about 2,000 plastic microfibers which then enter the ocean and food chain…or that 30% of rayon and viscose used in fashion comes from endangered and ancient forests. So because a fabric is vegan it does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable, eco-friendly and so on.
Natural fibers like cotton are actually really harmful IF they are not organic. How? Cotton seeds are often GMOs that require pesticides, which are extremely toxic! In fact, up to 16% of the world’s pesticides go to non-organic, GMO cotton farming every year. The chemicals degrade soil and pollute water as well as poison cotton pickers.
Wow! …So it’s time to start using sustainable fabrics, materials and textiles.
Vegan and sustainable fashion near you is easier than ever with this: Vegan Clothing Brands Per Country List
faille is typically not vegan.
Cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, ducks and foxes are common animals that are exploited for their skins, hair or feathers. In fact, BILLIONS of them die every single year simply in the name of fashion.
Before buying a pair of shoes, a sweater, a purse, check to see the materials. Common and unfortunately popular animal-derived materials include leather, suede, fur, feathers, mohair and wool -which often come from places like India and China where there can be NO animal welfare laws or enforcement. If the item does come from a more developed area of the world, such as the United States or Europe, that animal was likely a victim of factory farming. In such overcrowded farms there is confinement, disease and animals sometimes live their entire lives indoors, never seeing the light of day.
Material from animals may involve slaughtering like leather and fur production, for instance. In regards to wool or feathers, animals struggle while workers hold them down and beat them in order to shear their coat or rip feathers from skin. This leaves them bloody and wounded in pain.
Dressing and decorating vegan is easier than ever with this: Vegan Fabrics, Materials and Textiles List
faille is a material that may or may not have labor issues.
Did you know that the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? Whether agriculture involves crops or animals, the labor behind each and every product made from cotton, leather, wool, etc. cannot go unrecognized.
Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, sweatshops and child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence. Unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives simply by being mindful to buy items that are certified fair trade.
Sew Guide: Fabric glossary
PETA: What’s wrong with silk?
Textile School: Textile fabric types
Global Commodities: Environmental impact of silk
The Spruce: Types of fabric A to Z: What are you wearing?
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future
Grandview Research: Synthetic Leather Market Worth $40.9 Billion By 2027 | CAGR: 4.4%