Heal Sustainability Trending

Can UR health be linked to UR fashion sense?

Harssh Chheda

Founder & CEO - Corporate Collars™

3 min read

Sustainability has become a global trend and an integral part of the fashion industry that explores techniques such as zero waste, upcycling and non-toxic dyeing to name a few. Recyclable fabrics have steadily gained popularity in the recent past. The manoeuvre towards the use of more natural, chemical-free, toxic-free, organic and ethically made fabric is becoming more widespread.

Numerous fabrics are made from PET plastics – fibre made from recycled plastic bottles and cellulose fibres. Synthetic fibres like econyl are also recycled from fishing nets and other unwanted textiles. These fabrics bring greater durability in the products.

Rashmika Mandanna - URLife Wellness Platform

Sustainable fabrics form a niche market which is in a stage of infancy. A systematic shift towards sustainable fashion is gaining traction as the awareness increases. The sustainable fabrics in vogue comprise of organic cotton, hemp and soy. Organic cotton is grown without the detrimental use of fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic chemicals that cause bio magnification in crop lands.

The fabrics produced from soy fibres are not as durable as compared to cotton and hemp, but are soft and elastic. The prime benefits of using such fabrics are that they are anti-bacterial, UV resistant and moisture absorbent. An added benefit is the availability of natural coloured and dyed fabrics. The cotton plant can be grown in varieties of colours such as red, yellow, orange and mauve. Moreover, flowers, fruits and seeds such as marigold, barberry, eucalyptus, lilac, pomegranate, coffee grinds, oregano, walnuts and many more are used as non-toxic natural dyes.

Though the fabric made from bamboo (bamboo viscose) is one of the trendiest sustainable fabrics in the world of fashion, the chemicals used to create this fabric are very toxic. Some of these chemicals are sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, caustic soda, carbon disulfide and zinc sulfate. All of these chemicals are hazardous to human health and pollute the air and the water systems that are nearby.

In contrast, the jute fabric is very environment-friendly. This is because it is 100% recyclable and bio-degradable! Jute is considered to be more environment-friendly than cotton. The jute plants need less maintenance, less water and require a lesser amount of fertilization and pesticides too. Also, when jute is burnt, no toxic gases are generated. For these reasons it’s definitely considered to be a sustainable asset.

Sustainability has become a global trend and an integral part of the fashion industry!

Recycled Fabric - URLife Wellness Platform

Aspects of the Textile Industry

The four domains of the textile industry that have greatest environmental and ecological impact on the plant are:

  • The choice of fabrics you opt for
  • The processing plants that are responsible for dyeing and finishing the fabrics
  • The transportation of the products
  • The directions on fabric care that are given to customers

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To achieve true impact, sourcing departments should map their supply chain and research ways to reduce the environmental damage caused by their most strategically important fabric mills. Consumer awareness is key and must be available for consumption in the public domain.

Our waning resources and an exploited environment call for more mindful manufacturing and purchase decisions in the fashion industry as our health and wellbeing depend on it. One kilo of cotton takes more than 20,000 litres of water, equivalent to a single t-shirt and pair of jeans.

Up to nearly 8,000 distinct chemicals are utilized to transform raw materials into garments or clothes, including a range of colouring and completing procedures. There is a pressing need to change the way clothes are made, as the fashion industry has a multiplier effect on the depleting environment and its dwindling resources.