Understanding Materials: Natural vs. Synthetic
I must admit before I started this journey with Fjordlife buying clothes for myself involved one of two things; finding items that looked good and were inexpensive. The quality, durability, craftsmanship and certainly the environmental impact, fabric used, or process of how the item was made, never really crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I met with designers and manufacturers and discovered more about the production process that my eyes started to open.
Types of Materials
The materials in our clothing are created by weaving fibres together to produce a finished garment. The way a garment looks and how it functions is all determined by the fiber being used. Fibers can fall into one of two categories, natural or synthetic.
NATURAL FIBERS (WHICH CAN BE PLANT OR ANIMAL BASED) INCLUDE:
Cotton, Linen, Hemp, Jute (plant based)
Wool, Cashmere, Silk, Alpaca, Leather (animal based)
SYNTHETIC AND SEMI SYNTHETIC FIBERS INCLUDE:
Polyester, Nylon, Acrylic, PVC (synthetic)
Vicole, Modal, Lyocell, Bamboo (semi synthetic)
Natural fibers are renewable resources which can be replenished over a short period of time. Not only are they better for the environment but they tend to be more comfortable, breathable and are ideal for people with sensitive skin.
Synthetic fibers are made from crude oil and manufactured using an entirely chemical process. Semi-synthetic fibers may start as a natural, raw material source but are then treated using a chemical process. For example, lyocell are made using wood chips from trees. While the wood chips are sustainable, the fiber is produced using heavy chemicals which can then be deposited (often untreated) into local water systems.
Shopping with materials in mind
- Support brands that tell you who and where the clothing was made. It’s important to find companies that are open about their material choices and manufacturing techniques. More transparency will only lead to better choices being offered.
- Look at the tag. Get into the habit of knowing where your clothing is made and what it is made from. You will start to notice the difference in the look, feel and durability of certain materials and it will help you choose quality pieces in the future.
- Choose natural fibers over synthetic ones. Natural materials are not only better for the environment and less toxic for you but they also tend to be have better quality and durability.
If you have any questions regarding the materials used in any of the products we offer please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to provide you with more information!
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