Innovative Eco Fabrics That Are On The Rise

Fabric is one of those materials that seem impossible to live without; we wear it, sleep on it, sit on it, decorate with it, and some of us even dress our pets in it. Despite its enormous presence in our lives, many people rarely wonder about the effect this product is having on the planet. However, it’s clear that the textile industry needs some sustainable alternatives. Fortunately, there are a growing number of environmentally-friendly fabrics being developed, which will hopefully be adopted by the textile and fashion industries.

CRAiLAR is an eco-friendly alternative to cotton that is just as soft and durable, but created using flax, which needs far fewer pesticides to grow.

Its production process requires 99% less water than that of cotton. Enzymes are used in a natural process to remove the stiff lignin from the flax, resulting in a fabric that is breathable and comfortable. Flax farming is low-intensity, and minimal chemicals and water are needed for the plant to flourish. 

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has classified CRAiLAR Flax Fiber as a 100% BioPreferred product.The fabric is light, cotton-soft, and eco-friendly. What’s not to love?

Milk fabric is breathable and is soft and smooth on the skin. The fibre is created by drying fermented milk, which is then combined with natural ingredients to make yarn. Qmilch is a brand of milk fabric that feels similar to silk.

According to the brand’s creator, Anke Domaske, the production process uses only two litres of water to make one kilogram, compared to 20,000 litres for cotton. Milk fabric is significantly more expensive than cotton, but since it’s being used as a luxury fabric, it stands in a class of its own.

For a completely sustainable fabric that you can grow at home, look no further than Kombucha, named for the effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea used to make it. The material is completely sustainable and can be used like leather. The simple process requires only green tea, sugar, yeast, and the kombucha microbe, and creates a resilient and transparent material that takes to dyes more effectively than cotton.

Unfortunately, rain is this superhero’s kryptonite, so it wouldn’t be wise to make a kombucha raincoat, for fear of being left wearing a layer of what might as well be damp seaweed. The material is biodegradable and utterly waste-free, making this grow-your-own fabric a unique choice to add some green to your wardrobe.

With so many beautiful and sustainable fabric options, it may be easier than you think to let cotton and polyester take a backseat. Why not test the greener waters and try out a gorgeous sustainable fabric the next time you decide to get new curtains, or spend a weekend making a unique and vibrant blouse? Your wardrobe or home will gain some amazing new pieces, and the environment will thank you as well!

by Petranella Daviel