Natural Fibres & Textiles: What Are My Clothes Made Of?
Original content posted here.
When it comes to living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, what you put in your body, is as significant as what you put on your body. When buying a new piece of clothing, I know you may of you may be thinking “who made my clothes?”, but have you ever asked yourself “what are my clothes made of?”. The fabrics and textiles used to make your clothes, are not only harmful to the environment around you but can also have negative impacts on your health and skin. We are surrounded by fabrics all the time, however, most of us never really give a second thought as to how those textiles came about or the consequences of their productions.
Natural fibres are substances produced by plants, such as cotton, bamboo and flax (linen) and animals, such as camel hair, alpaca wool, and cashmere, that can be spun into filaments or thread. According to the UN, natural fibres provide a several human and environmental health benefits as well as economic benefits to those who are directly involved in the production and manufacturing. Natural fibres are also better quality and more sustainable textiles than synthetic materials.
Over the years, natural fibres have started to become displaced by synthetic, man-made materials such as non-organic cotton, polyester, acrylic and nylon. These materials are much cheaper and easier to manufacture in bulk, and easily create uniform colours, lengths and strengths of materials that can be adjusted according to specific requirements. The production of synthetic materials, however, is a strong contributor to health issues, carbon emissions and waste.
Some of the devastating health impacts of the toxic chemicals used in fast fashion production was shown in the documentary The True Costs (a must watch for any ethical fashion lover and activist), including the death of a US cotton farmer as a result of a brain tumour, and the serious birth defects in children of Indian cotton farmers. These chemicals are also passed along to the people wearing these clothes, as human skin is the largest organ on the body, chemicals can easily be absorbed and are able to make their way into our bloodstream. Polyester, for example, is essentially a plastic – a petroleum-based product that’s the result of a long, toxic manufacturing process. Plastics themselves have been found to cause hormonal disruption and are strongly linked to the formation of breast cancer cells.
Natural fibres in clothing, on the other hand, allow fabrics to breathe, reducing the risk of skin rashes and allergic reactions, and also insulate the wearer against hot and cold temperatures. Textiles such as linen, silk and cotton are naturally hypoallergenic. They also have unique anti-bacterial qualities, therefore making them ideal for sensitive or allergy prone skin. The softness and hypoallergenic qualities are also almost guaranteed to be kinder to newborn and baby’s skin. Natural fibres are also less toxic, absorbent and comfortable - perfect for busy women and mums!
Pure Pod has many of its garments made with organic and natural textiles, which have been made ethically and with either Certified Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or FLOCERT certifications. Pure Pod is dedicated to slow living and fashion, so when you purchase from us, you know that you’re purchasing a garment for life, that has not only positive health impacts on the environment, the farmers and the makers, but also you, as a Pure Pod ethical fashion lover and wearer.