If you read the labels on the food you eat, why the hell wouldn’t you read the labels on the clothes you wear? Yes, this sounds catty but you need clothes *almost* as much as you need food. (Nudists excluded, you rock your birthday suit!) Yes, you can call me vain but I hardly think that freezing your butt off during the evil depths of a polar vortex looks fashionable (or healthy) on anyone.
Have I made my point?
That being said, I totally understand not being able to sort through all the listed materials detailed on the back tag of your favorite sweater. Seriously, when did daily living become such a freaking science project?
If you are an organic or eco-conscious shopper, it can be a nightmare to try and source sustainably made clothing. I don’t want to drag you down with even MORE information about natural products, I just want to give you a short cheat sheet that details several natural fibers that are almost always a safe bet.
Organic Cotton is finally becoming a mainstay at several larger clothing companies such as H&M and the Gap. I am not promoting those companies because of, well, other unfortunate business practices they promote but that does mean that organic cotton might be used in products you already regularly purchase. Watch out for organic cotton that is processed using conventional dyes or that is treated with formaldehyde. (Yes, you heard me. Go vomit in the nearest trash can and then scroll to continue.) If the cotton is fair trade- you probably stumbled upon a decent product.
Silk is inherently organic because it is made by silkworms! And don’t worry, the little buggers do it naturally.
Lyocell, which sounds chemical-esque, is actually a generic name for the Tencel brand. It is made from wood pulp which makes it both biodegradable and recyclable. Producing this fabric takes less emissions, energy and water than other conventional fabrics. It also doesn’t get bleached!
Soy isn’t just for the lactose intolerant! Soy fabric is made from the byproducts of soy oil processing. As with the cotton, make sure it is certified organic. It seems like a lot of manufacturers don’t see the importance of maintaining eco-friendly business practices from start to finish.
Cashmere is luxurious. Seriously, who hasn’t wanted to snuggle up with someone wearing a sweater softer than a teddy bear? The fabric comes from Kashmir goats that are native to the Himalayas. The price for products made with this fiber can be a little steep but it is long lasting. (Making it even more eco-friendly!)
Linen (like true linen) is made from flax which requires almost zero pest-controlling chemicals. If you can find linen in natural shades or that has been dyed with natural dyes then you are actually buying a pretty sustainable product. It also looks good a little wrinkly so you can conserve energy by putting away your iron.
Give me shout! I would love to hear more about eco-friendly products you love or companies that deserve a virtual pat on the back for excellent and sustainable production practices.