Organic Cotton: Vegan Fabrics

September 07, 2019

Organic Cotton: Vegan Fabrics


It is "the fabric of our lives," right? Your t-shirt is made of it. Your jeans are made of it. Your canvas sneakers, backpack, and anorak jacket are made of it. 

Cotton is beloved for its breathability and comfort. If you are looking for versatile materials that can be used to create a wide variety of garments and accessories, it's usually one of the most popular options.

Among other sustainable vegan substrates, only linen can compete as far as history and longevity go.
 Organic crops are produced and certified to organic agricultural standards.

Organic farming protects soil health, the ecosystem, animals, and people by using natural processes rather than manufactured products that make things easier or save time (I'm looking at you, Roundup!).
 

Organic farmers do not use harmful toxic chemicals or genetically modified seeds. Instead, they use practices that have been around since the beginning of the history of agriculture as well as new, innovative technologies that do not hurt the environment or our food supply.
 

Without this type of farming, it would be challenging to live a sustainable vegan lifestyle in our time.


REDUCES ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT

Organic cotton limits damage to the soil has less impact on the air, and uses 71 percent less water and 62 percent less energy.

In comparison, the standard version uses about 16 percent of the world's insecticides and 7 percent of pesticides and is a much less sustainable fashion material.


PROMOTES SAFE WORK & BETTER LIVELIHOODS


Growing organic is also much safer for farmers and their families.

Conventional farmers are regularly exposed to harmful chemicals that leach into the soil and water in the process of pesticide application.

This is not a problem for organic farmers. They are not exposed to toxic substances in the field or through their food supply. 

In organic farming, farmers rely on natural methods to regenerate the nutrients in their soils, often employing the process of crop rotation. Farmers who rotate crops will typically grow multiple plants, thereby diversifying their income and making it more immune to profit fluctuations. Rotating organic cotton and hemp, for example, keeps the soil full of nutrients for each new sowing season.

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MODEL FOR THE FUTURE

By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population may face water shortages, but organic cotton gets 80 percent of its hydration from rain, according to aboutorganiccotton.com.

The use of rain to hydrate plants is all the more critical for this thirsty crop.

According to a Worldwatch report, it takes 2,700 liters of H2O to make a cotton t-shirt. 

The absence of chemicals in organic farming also means that it does not contribute to the degradation of the water supply.

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IMPACTS OUR FOOD SYSTEM


Cottonseed oil is used in a variety of food products such as cookies, chips and vegetable oil, and is also fed to livestock.

If this seed oil is made from non-organic seeds, it is carrying with it all the pesticides and chemicals that are employed in the farming of the conventional crop. Is cotton vegan? 

Of course. But we certainly don't want to eat it. Nevertheless, this byproduct makes its way into our diets.

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FAIR PRICE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Organic seeds are more expensive than regular seeds.

Farming organically can be back-breaking work. Sustainable organic farmers need to weed by hand since they do not rely on pesticides to kill plant-choking weeds. 

When you buy organic, you are investing in water conservation, cleaner air, better soil, and farmer livelihoods.


 

The price for organic cotton is, therefore, sometimes, but not always, higher. However, with demand on the rise, more choices will become available.

Soon we will have more biodegradable options for our fashion materials.

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YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE


Caring for the world and the people we share it with is a life choice.

Choosing organic anything is part of this choice.

In 2015, 26 million metric tons of cotton were produced globally, much of it for the apparel industry.

Less than 1 percent of this production was organic.

But if more of us choose organic vegan fabrics over conventional fabrics, maybe one day, we will have the purchasing power necessary to influence brands, manufacturers, and even farmers.

Let's change this number for more sustainable fashion industry.

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OTHER VEGAN FABRICS

Of course, there are other options for those who would love to fill their closets with sustainable vegan fabrics to wear. We've already discussed linen. Read on for more alternatives.

CUPRO

Cupro, whose long name is "cuprammonium rayon," is just becoming common on clothing labels, but it's been around for more than a century.

It is made out of cotton regenerated cellulose fiber. It's a sustainable, eco-friendly textile that has been made from another eco-friendly textile that was recycled and regenerated.

With its good genes, Cupro is blessed with many of our favorite properties of organic cotton, particularly absorbency and breathability.

Where Cupro shines is in its luster (no really, it shines!), wrinkle resistance, and ability to absorb dyes for deep color.

Cupro is just a lovely fabric to wear - it resembles silk and is often used to replace silk in high-end garments.

 There is only one Japanese manufacturer in the entire world making and selling Cupro (mostly in the shape of high-end dresses and shirts).

Cupro is one of those vegan materials able to replace silk in the long run sustainably. Its environmental impact is low, as it is a byproduct of the cellulose, it's made from.

SOY

Did you know the byproducts from your tofu could have been reused to create a soy silk blouse? It's true - soy is another plant that is used to make synthetic silk substitutes.

In addition to being fashion-forward, soy-silk garments are biodegradable when you no longer require them.

One downside, however, is the fact that formaldehyde is often used in its processing, but it still deserves mention in a roundup of vegan fabrics.

LYOCELL

Lyocell is another option. Lyocell is made of wood pulp; this material is biodegradable in just eight days and can be recycled to create other products.

It's the ultimate in sustainable materials. It is also elegant to wear. With a fluid, silk-like drape, lyocell is a vegan alternative to silk, which is not a vegan fabric.  

It makes gorgeous blouses and dresses that skim the body and is an excellent option for people who love to dress up.

You may also have heard of Tencel, which is a brand of lyocell manufactured by the Austrian company Lenzing AG.  

Tencel is often found blended with linen to make a substrate that combines linen's rustic character with Tencel's luxurious drape.

It's the best of both worlds. Who knew wood pulp could be turned into a stylish dress?

BAMBOO

Bamboo, which regenerates from its roots and can be grown with less watering than other crops, has long been an environmental darling.

Many people love bamboo rayon for its silky-soft feel (the plant is also used to make a sort of rough linen that is much less popular), and bamboo has long been claimed to have antibacterial properties.

However, it's not clear how much of this is retained after processing. 
Unfortunately, for now, bamboo fibers undergo processing using chemicals that are not reusable.

While this is a stumbling block, bamboo is still a vegan fabric and needs to be included in this list.

PINEAPPLE LEATHER

Yes, you read that right. You can now buy a leather jacket made from pineapples. This is a relative newcomer to the textile scene, but even chain retailers like H&M are carrying clothing made from pineapple leather, which is branded under the name Pinatex.

HEMP

With the loosening of regulations in the cannabis industry in the United States, hemp has had a resurgence in popularity for materials.

Hemp is unique as a fabric because it has such durable fibers in the material.

Not only is it functional, but it makes a sustainable fashion statement as well. You can read more about organic hemp as a vegan fabric in our blog..

As you can see, there is a wide variety of vegan fabrics for you to fall in love with. In fact, there are far more vegan fabrics out there than non-vegan fabrics.

Are there any on this list that piques your interest? Did we leave any out? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

 

Sara Phillipps
A vegan freelance web designer and blog writer based out of Austin, Texas USA.


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Sizing Guide

In this guide you can see the detailed sizing charts to all our products

Unisex Tshirts

S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Width, in 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33
Length, in 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Sleeve length, in 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11

 

S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Width, cm 47 52.1 57.2 62.2 67.3 72.4 77.5 82.6
Length, cm 72.4 74.9 77.5 80 82.6 85.1 87.6 90.2
Sleeve length, cm 18.4 19.7 20.9 22.2 23.5 24.8 26 27.3

 

Women's Tees:

S M L XL 2XL
Width, in 17 18 19 20 22
Length, in 26 26 27 28 28
Sleeve length, in 7 8 8 8 8

 

 

S M L XL 2XL
Width, cm 41.2 43.8 46.3 50.2 54
Length, cm 64.4 66 67.6 69.2 70.8
Sleeve length, cm 17.3 17.9 18.5 19.1 19.7

 

Hoodies:

  

S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Sleeve length, in 25 25 25 25 25 25 27 27
Length, in 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Width, in 20 23 24 26 28 30 33 34

 

S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Sleeve length, cm 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 67.9 67.9
Length, cm 68.5 71.1 73.6 76.2 78.7 81.2 83.8 86.3
Width, cm 50.8 55.9 60.9 66 71.1 76.2 81.3 86.3