To help us embrace whatever surprises the weather has in store every day, we have made a list of the fabrics and yarns that are perfect, transitional choices no matter what it looks like through the window. These are the qualities to cosy up in now with the perks of easy-wearing into spring and for seasons to come. We think it’s important to emphasise choosing timeless, wardrobe staples in reliable fabrics that fit your style ready to be re-worn season after season.
First up, wool, with its many beneficial properties, is the go-to natural yarn for warmth. Merino wool, in particular, is considered a premium option, being extra soft, breathable, resistant to creasing and odour resistant. Alongside these properties, merino is an intelligent thermoregulating yarn, which keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather.
As most brands include wool in their collections, it is good to do some research. ARMEDANGELS, for example, use only organic wool from farms where livestock are treated humanely and are mulesing-free - a practice involving the removal of a piece of skin from the sheep. There is also the option to choose recycled wool. The May Sweater Bold Stripe from Kings of Indigo is made from post-consumer recycled wool. This process involves sorting the pre-loved fibres by colour before being spun into yarn.
Spun from the fleece of the alpaca, this natural, light-weight fibre is extra soft, warm and one of the greenest yarns. Alpacas themselves have a low impact on the environment as they have padded hooves that are gentle on the ground. Even when they graze, they don’t disrupt the root of the grass and the plants are left to regrow. Additionally, this yarn is inherently resistant to odours and stains. It needs less washing, making it kinder to the environment from start to finish. Within their collections, Alpaca Loca produce beautiful, long scarves in alpaca blend that are ideal to cosily wrap up in on colder days.
Recycled PET fabric is produced by cleaning and melting down plastic before spinning it into a yarn. It can be produced from a number of sources, one being plastic bottles. While it’s not the perfect solution to the plastic issue, it has benefits like reducing the need for virgin fossil fuel resources. One brand giving the plastic bottle a new life is the Dutch brand Maium. They have cleverly designed waterproof raincoats using this fabric with 66 bottles going into each Raincoat Original.
Alternatively, when a cold snap hits we need to reach for something warm and functional. Traditional duck and goose down fillings have dominated the market, but recent years have seen progress on the availability and quality of sustainable or vegan padded options. While both sustainable and vegan options are not always mutually exclusive and can be difficult to find, Embassy of Bricks and Logs is one of the brands making this combination possible. For styles like the Lyndon Puffer Jacket, an innovative, replacement filling is used instead of down. This lightweight alternative is made from recycled plastic bottles, diverting them from landfill.
Whether an outerwear style or a dress, it is important to remember when products made from recycled PET are washed, they can shed microplastics. Using a guppy bag in the washing machine will mitigate some of these particles from entering into the waterways. Check out our post on “What’s wrong with Fast Fashion?” for more information.
Lastly on our list but definitely one of the easiest-to-wear natural fibre favourites is organic cotton. While it may not be the warmest, it certainly is an excellent all-year-round choice. A much-loved cardigan in this yarn can be the perfect option to layer up on colder days or worn over dresses on a summer evening. Checking for certificates from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) can ensure the fabric meets the approved standards. It’s worth looking out for organic cotton in blends with wools so you get the warmth, while it also offers breathability over synthetic yarns options. Zoe Jacket paired with the Elda Pants by Rita Row are constructed from 100% organic cotton and make for a strong statement outfit. The use of corduroy, a thicker material, in these pieces provides for the ultimate stylish comfort look.
If you’re in search of a sustainable blend of fabrics for your wardrobe, ARMEDANGELS offer a multitude of fabric blend combinations ranging from cotton-wool for everyday use such as with the Hinaa Knit Sweater to unique blends like alpaca-wool with Anaa Sweater. Both of these sweaters use wool to provide warmth. While hinaa knit sweater allows for daily wear, anaa sweater trades cotton for alpaca that keeps you extra warm which makes for a perfect casual look on a crisp autumn day. Contrastingly, Cotys Sweater from Thinking Mu's zero-waste initiative collection, called TRASH collection, consists of an interestingly unique blend of recycled PET and Alpaca.