No Synthetic Fabrics

Saying no to synthetics

We want to be the highest standard in textiles and clothing which means not using materials, even in the smallest amounts, that are not eco-friendly and sustainable. Fossil fuels are a finite resource which makes fabrics like polyester and spandex (aka elastane & Lycra) not eco-friendly and not sustainable.

Even though GOTs certification allows for 5% of the article of clothing by weight to be materials that are not organic we have decided not to blend any synthetics into our clothing.

What’s wrong with synthetic fibers?

Polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic are all entirely synthetic fabrics; no organic materials are used to make them. They are favored by manufacturers as they are a cheap and fast alternative to natural fibers. Essentially, they are all forms of plastic derived from petroleum.

As if being plastic wasn’t bad enough:

  • The production of synthetic fibers is energy-intensive and uses large amounts of fossil fuels (each year more than 70 billion barrels of oil are used to make polyester); releasing toxins into the atmosphere that are dangerous for the health of humans and our ecosystem.
  • Synthetic, petroleum-based fabrics are strictly non-biodegradable, well they are technically biodegradable however that process takes some 200 years and possibly more.
  • Every time we wash a garment made of synthetic material, thousands of plastic fibers, known as microplastics, are released into the water. These microplastics are so small they pass through wastewater filtration systems and flow into our rivers and oceans (our clothes release half a million tons of these microplastics into the ocean annually). While the full extent and impact of these microplastics is not yet clear, it is clear that the problem is huge (microplastics have been found all around the world) and could have detrimental impacts to plant, animal, and human health. It is well known that microplastics are found in the marine life that we eat. We just can’t image that’s healthy.

Ok, so what about recycled polyester, its sustainable right?

Well, yes and no. Recycled polyester (rPET) requires 59% less energy to create than virgin polyester, does not require petroleum, and is suggested to emit 79% less CO2 compared to the new material. However, it’s still plastic and has all the same properties of virgin polyester such as releasing microplastics into the environment which gets into the air we breathe, the water we drink, the oceans which in turn gets into marine life and eventually onto our plates.

Almost all recycled polyester comes from PET bottles, 99% actually and once the bottles are downcycled into fabric it can’t be recycled. The technology for rPET textile-to-textile recycling is still in its infancy therefore clothing made from rPET meets the same fate, it’s just a matter of time. Recycled polyester clothing is either incinerated (which releases black smoke and toxic fumes), goes into landfills () or gets dumped in nature.

Plastic bottles are better put into circular system where they can be made into new bottles, a cycle that can be done multiple times.

Synthetic fibers such as elastane and polyester are not biodegradable or compostable. Well, ok they are technically biodegradable in that they will breakdown but that process could take hundreds of years so to us that’s essentially not biodegradable.

See our vision for the future and our brand here.

We will continue to monitor and research the matter and we will always keep our eyes out for natural and synthetic materials that have similar qualities to polyester. Our conclusion: not recycled or virgin polyester will be used.