What is Natural Fabric Anyway? Life lessons on fabric choices
January 29, 20194 min read
One of the first things we learnt in our fashion school labs (Yes, we wore lab coats & studied in ‘textile labs’!) was how to tell the difference between a fabric that is derived from nature and one that is man made. To make it really simple and fast forward a few lab tests & goggle selfies I will cut to the chase. Fabrics are either made from Plants (Natural ie Cotton, Linen, Ramie, Wool), Made from plastics (Man made ie Nylon, Polyester), or are a blend of both of these two.
Why is Natural Fabric so amazing?
We are obviously a HUGE fan of Natural fabrics here at La Luna Rose and use only Natural fabrics for our island store collection, not only because they come from plants and therefore when they end up back in the landfill many moons from now, they will integrate right back into earth like they never existed….but also because of the amazing properties that natural fabrics contain.
Fabrics derived from plants have natural cooling abilities to wick water (sweat) away from the body. They are also incredibly strong fibres when dry and they have a nicer drape to the finished fabric as they are, well, in their natural state and not a machine made yarn! Last but not least, the natural fibres allow fabric to breath properly and therefore making it much cooler to wear.
Want to try a test (Although I’m sure you are well aware of this already…) Sit outside on a warm-hot day in a Cotton T-Shirt. After an hour see how you feel. Now try doing that with a top made from Man-made fibres (Probably something you wear to the gym is at least 50% Nylon or Polyester) See? Sweat much?! You can try it sitting in your bathers as opposed to cotton underwear a woolen coat vs a Polyester blend coat…. The list goes on & you get the drift….
Along with their many amazing properties, one of the downside of natural fabrics is are that they can crease easily…. And hence your iron-ing game needs some extra work. When natural fibres are wet they can loose their undeniable strength and lastly, natural fabrics when dyed will loose their colour bit by bit over the years… Nothing too drastic though right?!
So then, what’s the deal with blended and man made fabrics then?
While Natural fabrics are amazing and all that we had for many many years, during the industrial revolution some genius’ got their hands dirty and started to experiment in making new fibres to create a yarn that included some of the properties that natural fibres were missing. These guru’s started to create fabrics from man-made materials such as plastic to create the ‘ultimate fabric’ which in theory was pretty epic and cutting edge at the time. These fabrics such as Nylon, Polyester, Polarfleece, Lycra all provided new ways in which fabric could be created and the different purposes it could be used for. Ie Swimming!
However, there are trade-offs and fabric production is no different. Ever get to the gym and wonder why you’re sweating bullets even though there is AC pumping? Yah, that’s because your tights, Sports Bra’s etc are most likely made from a derivative of plastic…. So yah, you’re kinda wrapping your body in plastic! It’s not to say that this fabric is all bad, more and more legends like Salt Gypsy use a new man-made fabric called Econyl which is made from recycled Plastic bottles found in our oceans…. Using up our current waste made in other industries and recycling it into special pieces of clothing for you to wear & cherish for years to come.
Fast forward 90 years and we are at the peak (I hope…. although I’m not entirely convinced) of fast fashion where these man-made fabrics are getting tossed around like nobody's business. All the major retailers produce 100,000’s of 1000’s of items every day using man made fabrics to keep up with our demand to consume more and more fashion items each and every month. Therefore the production of these ‘genius’ fabrics has far surpassed anything that the planet can deal with… We are in the peak of a plastic crisis not only through plastic bottles but through fashion as well.
Take a moment to read this:
‘EVERY Single piece of plastic that has ever been produced still exists today’…. This includes ‘plastic based’ fabrics too.
Feeling clued up on fabrics? Just a little? Here’s a quick few facts to take home with you & share with your pals:
FACT 1: Natural Fabrics breathe, Man-made fabrics do not so if you’re ever wondering why you always sweat when you wear a certain T-Shirt…check the fabric content & opt to buy 100% Cotton next time.
FACT 2: There are 3 types of Fabrics in the world. Natural, Man-Made & A blend of these 2
FACT 3: Think before you buy. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists. Food containers, Man-Made clothing, Kids toys… everything.
So now that’s fabrics sorted, we’ll be up again soon writing what all the fuss about Organic Dye is…. Watch this space pal & thanks for coming along this journey with us. x
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