Markit-in-a-Minute: Eco-Friendly Fabrics

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While organic cotton is the preferred crop for many manufacturers but bamboo, soy, hemp and corn are growing in leaps and bounds as the eco-friendly movement grows. Here’s a basic explanation of each.

Bamboo

  • Bamboo pulp can be converted into fibers to create fabric that’s extra-soft and very durable.
  • It feels like a cross between cashmere and silk. Its natural properties make it antimicrobial, UV resistant and more breathable than cotton.
  • Bamboo requires no pesticides to grow, and is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The bamboo used for fabric is commonly known as Moso and can reach a mature height of 75 feet in just 45 to 60 days.
Here are some examples of apparel made with at least 50% bamboo:

Long Sleeve Bamboo T-shirt

Ladies' long sleeve bamboo t-shirt. 67% bamboo lyocell / 29% cotton / 4% spandex jersey. StretchFlex (TM) technology provides comfort and freedom of movement. Naturally anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and breathable with moisture wicking properties. Contrast color stitching at bottom hem and cuffs. Sleek, comfortable and good looking in a natural fabrication with advanced performance features.
Bamboo Shirt

Eco-Friendly Bamboo Robe

Bamboo robe made from 70% bamboo/30% cotton material. A choice that is certain to make a lasting impression, our bamboo/cotton loop robe is environmentally sensitive as well as exceptionally plush. 48" long. Unisex.

Bamboo Robe

Other Eco-Friendly Fabrics:

Corn

Fabric from corn is created when dextrose pulled from corn is fermented to produce lactic acid, which is converted to fabric once the water is removed. Corn-based fabric has excellent moisture-wicking properties, UV resistance and low odor retention. It’s also stain resistant, experiences minimal shrinkage and pilling, and is biodegradable and compostable.

Poly Lactide Acid (PLA)

PLA is made from corn and 100% biodegradable. Only environmentally-friendly enzymes are used throughout the production of the fibers. A natural characteristic of PLA is its elasticity, which means it will keep its shape even after repeat washings. It is said PLA actually becomes softer and cleaner after 15 to 20 washings. PLA also doesn’t take in moisture, but rather spreads it quickly through the fabric so it can evaporate more easily.

Hemp

Three times stronger than cotton and easy to grow, hemp doesn’t require fertilizer or pesticides. It’s also antimicrobial, UV resistant and breathable. It’s not as soft as cotton, but in a blend it can add durability to a garment.

Organic Cotton

The difference between organic cotton and standard cotton is that organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical additives. It’s also grown in soil that has been chemical free for at least three years. Organic cotton is also processed on different gins than regular cotton to avoid contamination. Several levels of organic cotton exist, and each presents low impact to the environment.

Organic wool

In order for wool to be considered organic it must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production. Federal requirements require that livestock feed and forage that is certified organic be used, the use of synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited, the use of synthetic pesticides is prohibited and livestock health must be encouraged though good cultural management practices.

Soy

Soy is made from the byproducts of soybean crops. Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, and more mildew-resistant than cotton. This fabric has a soft, smooth hand and contains natural antibacterial agents. It has the same moisture-absorption properties as cotton, but with better moisture transmission, for drier, more comfortable garments.

See More Eco-Friendly Products HERE

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