The Best Fibers For Natural Clothing

Woman shopping for clothes

Let’s go back, back, back to the Garden of Eden and the loss of innocence.  Adam has just taken a bite of the apple and realizes that he is naked and needs to cover up.  He grabs the first thing available; the fig leaf and covers his privates.  It would then be fair to say that the first item of clothing ever worn was a fig leaf?

Certainly, we have a come a long way  since then and a great deal of time has elapsed.  We have seen the rise of jeans, the mini skirt, the stiletto heel and high couture.  But, things tend to come full circle.  Here we are in the new millennium and it seems like we’re back to the fig leaf.  Well, maybe not exactly, but in this age in which we are doing our best to make sure that everything we use is eco-friendly, there is a trend toward organic clothing, and one could hardly argue that the fig leaf is anything if not organic.  Maybe Adam was on to something.

So, say you want to go organic, and kudos to you for that, and you’re not sure what to look for.  You know burlap is a natural fiber, but you may not want to use this to make your ecological fashion statement. Here are some more common alternatives.

Natural Fibers

Bamboo is a grass, usually grown with minimal chemical use.  It is biodegradable, possesses antibacterial properties and is biodegradable.  Unfortunately, when the plant is turned into fabric, toxic chemicals may come into play.  The Federal Trade commission has demanded that bamboo based rayon is labelled if toxins were involved in the manufacture, so check the tags.

Organic cotton
The Big Daddy of natural fiber, organic cotton is grown without toxins and synthetic chemicals.  For a total absence of chemicals in your clothes, look on the label to make sure natural dyes or colored cottons have been used.

Industrial hemp
This stuff is renewable, uses little or no pesticides or fertilizer and is super easy to harvest.

Recycled polyester
Now you can look like Austin Powers and be environmental at the same time.  It’s actually made from soda bottles and cast off polyesters and is said to leave a carbon footprint 75% lower than regular polyester.

Silk/ Soy cashmere
After soybeans are made into food, the remaining soy protein fiber is used to make this fabric.  If you are committed to being very green, you may want to look on the label to make sure there was no genetic tampering involved in the engineering of the soy.

Renewable and fire resistant, organic wool is becoming increasingly accessible and requires no chemicals for growth.  Chlorine-free wool means that the animals used to make the material are organically treated so look for this on the label for an extra perk.

If you are now ready to go purchase something organic keep in mind,  there is still a long way to go in naturalizing clothing manufacture.  It still takes energy, land resources and water to produce.  So until we find a way to make clothing completely free of environmental impact, maybe the fig leaf will be the next big thing.


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