It is impossible to talk about sustainability without discussing fabrics. It is a complicated topic as there are many aspects to take in consideration from the whole production cycle, the durability until the end of life of a fabric. We researched and came up with the following simple rules. In the case of synthetic fibers, we only work with recycled and up-cycled alternatives to conventional synthetics and labels that use certification such as GRS for recycled content.
Polyester is one of the most popular of all the synthetics. It is derived from petroleum: basically it's a kind of plastic that won't degrade over time. The main issue regarding synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, is that they don’t breathe. Some find, when wearing it, that they can feel sweaty or have a feeling of humidity, which can be uncomfortable. Be aware that micro particles can escape into the environment from wear or in the water during washing.
Recycled polyester clothing can be made using recycled polyester made out of waste such as, for example, discarded bottles. The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are certifications for recycled content in a fabric or product. On top, GRS includes additional criteria for social and environmental processing requirements and chemical restrictions.
You can check for Oeko-Tex or Blue Sign certifications as well. These are both standards that regulate the use of harmful chemicals during the production process.
Stop micro waste by using a washing bag like the one from GUPPYFRIEND
Fishing nets, fabrics scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans from all over the world are rescued to be transformed into ECONYL® regenerated nylon. Great example of green labels using those fabrics are for swimwear Augustine, Clo Stories or Girlfriend Collective for activewear.
NILIT® is also another eco-friendly regenerated nylon processed from post-consumer sportswear waste.
Created by Fulgar, Q-NOVA® Regeneration System is the perfect example for a zero waste process. The regenerated nylon is produced from the company's main production cycle. These recycled nylon yarns are then mixed with the minimum amount of elastane to create, for example, fabrics for swimsuits, stockings, and socks.
If you buy a Swedish Stockings product, close the loop at the end of its lifetime by sending it directly to Swedish Stockings for a second lifetime.
Despite being recycled, those fabrics still emit microwaste pollution when washed. Stop micro waste by using a washing bag like the one from GUPPYFRIEND
The most commonly vegan friendly leather-like material is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU). They are derivatives from petroleum and can be manufactured into different kinds of materials. thegreenlabels also sells products made from upcycled PU, i.e. made from old PU materials to make something of higher quality.
There are also innovative materials that aim to replace animal leather. One example is corn waste leather (CWL) that uses corn leaves to turn into a fibre that can be manipulated to look like leather. This is a new side of sustainable fashion that has great scientific innovation happening! Other natural materials used to make vegan leather are pineapple, cactus, apple and mushrooms.
It is best to see which kind of vegan leather your product is and how that material should be taken care of. Most vegan leathers can be wiped with a damp cloth and a little bit of neutral soap.
Elastane is used in consumer apparel whenever stretchiness is desired. For instance, this fabric is present in almost every kind of form-fitting underwear. Think also of stretch in denim or certain parts of a garment that needs to stretch to fit a bigger part of the body such as the collar or the sleeves for tops & tee shirt.
Elastane is an entirely synthetic fabric; no organic materials are used to make this substance, and it does not exist anywhere in nature. By consequence it cannot decompose when land-filed.
Some alternatives are being developed to replace the Elastane and make a product completely biodegradable such as Kings of Indigo in their denim collection.