· By Andrea B
Are you wearing plastic or easy breezy, comfy fabrics next to your skin?
Clothes are like a second skin – know which material they are made of. While shopping for clothes, most consumers like you and I consider criteria like color, style, fit and fall, along with the price of a garment.
Very few of us look at the fabric composition of a garment before buying it. Clothes are in fact, like our second skin and now that it is summertime, we want them to be as easy breezy as possible. At Scarlett Poppies, this is what we prefer all around the year and that’s why we primarily use cotton, linen and cellulosic based fabrics like viscose, modal and rayon. We only make exceptions when a specific fabric base is needed to hold a specific embroidery and should we come to use polyester in the future, it will have to be recycled polyester.
The care label inside each Scarlett brand dresses and other garments tells you about the composition of the garment, and as much as 65% of all clothes produced today are made from synthetic fibers such as acrylic, polyester, PU, spandex etc.
Polyester and acrylic are some of the cheapest fibers and often used in price driven mass productions of fast fashion; with a perceived shorter life time. It is easy to handle polyester garments, they don’t crease as such and you can normally just throw them into the washing machine, and then take them out and hang on a hanger to dry and wear again, without ironing.
However, what the manufacturer and the consumer save due to low-cost production, they pay for in other ways. Synthetics are affecting our skin, our water and our earth.
- Polyester is like plastic – and how it feels, behaves and smells, depends on the thickness of yarn, what kind of yarn has been used and what kind of weave and weight the fabric has.
- Many of the chemicals used in the production processes of synthetic fabrics are impossible to break down; the water is polluted and it goes out straight to the nature unless the fabric mills have invested in a modern recycling water plant.
- Each year almost 70 million barrels of oil are used in the manufacturing of polyester alone, and extraction of crude oil and gasses is one of the biggest environmental pollutants in our modern world.
- Recycled polyester is of course preferred over conventional polyester any time, but the challenge is in traceability and how lab testing can actually guarantee that 100% of the fibers are recycled. The reality is that fabric mills often mix recycled and conventional fibers, thinking their bluff won't be caught. But the good news is that there are also mills today that have all the right processes in places, backed up by certifications that are verified with consistency. As a brand, it is important to know your vertical supply chain, not only who is stitching the garment.
So what are the options to polyester?
Nature has provided us with a beautiful array of options that are made out of natural materials derived from plants, animals, or minerals that are spun into threads and yarns. These yarns are then woven or knit into fabrics. Natural fibers include cotton, linen, silk, jute, wool, cashmere, hemp, etc. But here we also relate to cellulosic fibers which are regenerated from wood pulp.
Materials like cotton and wool can be sustainable and are biodegradable over time as much as they can also be renewed.
It is true that committing to use only natural and organic materials seems like a difficult and unrealistic task in today’s time when the markets are flooded with synthetics. But a higher level of awareness will help you as a consumer to make the right strategic choices. And if ever in doubt, make it a point to reach out to the brand and ask questions before you buy an item, even if you are purchasing from wholesale resort wear distributors.
What should I keep in mind as a consumer?
- Buy natural fabric clothes whenever possible even if they are slightly more expensive. There is a massive price difference in natural fabrics as compared to oil-based fibers.
- Buy less, but better and know the brand that you are buying from and what they stand for. Prioritize quality over quantity.
- Take care of the clothes you already have and follow care advice carefully; this is essential to make clothes last longer.
- Try not to wash your clothes until needed, natural fibers feel really good with some fresh air, especially silk and wool.
A little bit of awareness and slight changes in our habits can make a significant shift in the market and the system as well as in our lives. Always remember, all the brands cater to the demands made by us - the consumers. Make sure what you demand and promote is clean, green and good fashion. Start saying no to plastics in our food, our skin and our bodies!