We know cotton, wool, linen, and silk as conventional natural fibers in our clothing. If the fabrics are processed in an ecological way, they are fine to use. Ideally, you pay attention to organic certification of the fabrics or the label right at the time of purchase. Mass production poses problems such as factory farming and pest control. Unfortunately, as the cotton industry is often negatively affected by poor working conditions and child labor, I advise caution when buying. In addition, the plant is very susceptible to pests, making the use of pesticides almost unavoidable. Linen, a fast-growing raw material, is also 99% non-organic. Silk, on the other hand, like animal wool is out of the question for vegans, as thousands of caterpillars have to die in classic silk production. if possible, try to ensure that the animals are kept appropriately when purchasing wool.
Lyocell, Tencel and Seacell – fair fashion works with natural fibers from fast-growing plants
As one of the fastest-growing crops, hemp has been an important raw material for the clothing industry for thousands of years and highly recommended.
Lyocell or Tencel is increasingly popular. The material is made of wood fibers, which are sourced from sustainable forest management. It consists of a mixture of European beech and spruce wood, as well as extremely fast renewable South African eucalyptus. The fibers are manufactured by the Austrian company Lenzing. Compared to Viscose, which also consists of wood fibers, Tencel uses biodegradable solvents. Thus, the fabric is much more environmentally friendly. Tencel also combines the properties of silk, linen, and cotton: it feels silky soft on the skin, airy light and temperature-regulating.
Seacell is extracted from an Icelandic fast-growing brown algae. Like Tencel, Seacell is obtained in the Lyocell process. The algae grows naturally and therefore does not require plant toxins. Since algae are known to be full of minerals, trace elements, and antioxidants, Seacell is even nourishing for the skin. This natural fiber is therefore perfect for underwear, loungewear, and duvet covers.
Cactus, apple, mango, or pineapple, what would you like your vegan leather to be from?
When you read this, you might think of fruit salad rather than leather, but the products are actually amazingly good! I have already reported on the benefits of Piñatex. Vegan leather such as Piñatex impresses with unbeatable sustainability, as it consists mainly of waste products. The company AnanasAnam has already worked with companies such as Boss and Paul Smith. Compared to leather, Piñatex is a bit softer and more flexible, but still durable. The texture is special, so you can recognize Piñatex immediately.
Another vegan leather alternative comes from Mexico and is called Desserto. That looks very promising, Amigos! Desserto produces vegan leather from cacti. Only the large mature leaves are cut off. The plants are therefore preserved and continue to grow.
From Italy, more precisely from Bolzano, there is leather made of apple skin from the company Frumat. This is used, for example, by the leather accessories company Nuuwai for their elegant and colorful bags. The cool sustainable sneaker brand Womsh also makes sneakers from apple skin in its vegan line. Apple skin is very adaptable and takes on color easily, which you can see well at Womsh, for example.
The company Bolt Threads from England, in turn, develops vegan leather from mushroom strains. These are insanely sustainable, as they can be bred within a few weeks. The resulting fabric is called Mylo and was used for example by fashion designer Stella McCartney for her Falabella bag.