Sustainable Fabric Blog

The most sustainable fabrics

As conscious consumers we naturally question which fabrics are the most sustainable (if you pardon the pun). With the likes of Tencel and Organic Cotton becoming increasingly common, I think it’s easy to assume that they must be the better choice. But are they?

Our Trusted Partner, Green Story, took it upon themselves to investigate. “There are a lot of factors and circumstances that make one fabric greener or better than the other, but we decided (tongue firmly in cheek) the best way was to have an old-fashioned tournament.” We have been sharing the Fabric Face-off competition on our Instagram Stories over the last two weeks, where you have been casting your votes! The competition continues until the final result will be announced on March 5th via Green Story’s Instagram live.

If you’re interested in the scoring or finding out more, check out Green Story’s blog for a detailed breakdown.


Linen or Tencel – which is more sustainable?

Did you know that Linen production needs less energy than Tencel and does not use chemicals in its yarn production stage? However, the trouble is that Linen comes from many sources and its impacts therefore vary. In contrast, Tencel is produced from sustainably harvested trees and has closed-loop production processes.

Tencel is also extremely strong, durable and versatile. If you’ve never touched it, it’s actually very soft and can thus replicate cotton. Unfortunately, Linen is wrinkle-prone and stiff.

All this leaves Tencel as a clear winner – but would you have guessed?


Mi Apparel | Armedangels JILAA T-Shirt


rPET or Bamboo – which is more sustainable?

Let’s start by clarifying what rPET actually is… If PET is the most common type of plastic resin, rPET is recycled plastic, or rather recycled polyester fabric. Whilst this means that fossil fuel extraction for virgin plastics is completely avoided, it is nonetheless plastic. This means that every time rPET or any synthetic material is washed, hundreds of thousands of microplastics are released into the water system and nature.

We all know Bamboo as a plant, and it’s a quick grower and fertiliser free one at that. This leaves us with a natural-based and biodegradable material, that happens to also be strong, durable, and great for moisture absorption. So although rPET is a great option for dealing with our plastic waste, Bamboo is this round’s champion. Bit easier that time?

Check out our members utilising these great materials…

Zola Amour | Bamboo Shirt


Women's White Bamboo Shirt
White shirt made from Bamboo

From Belo | Black Nilza Tote Bag

Womens Black Tote Recycled Seatbelts
Bag made from rPET (Crafted from repurposed seatbelts)

Cork or Recycled Wool – which is more sustainable?

Apart from being ubiquitous with our favourite wines, Cork actually makes a great leather alternative. But did you know it’s the bark of Cork oak trees? After boiling, it can either be made into tissue-thin strips for fabric or into a spongy shock-absorbent material – ideal for shoes, apparel or accessories.

As the name suggests, recycled wool gives a second life to the material which would otherwise go to landfill. Quite simply, it comes without the eco-impacts from sheep, nor the chemicals and water needed for dyeing. Happy days!

So who would you vote for? Both fabrics get top scores on low CO2 emissions. Cork is overall low impact, but Green Story established that recycled wool should win for its versatility.

You can find this winning material at our member…

Mi Apparel | CUS TIMURrw Coat

Ladies Coat made from Recycled Wool

The competition continues…

How did you do with your guesses? Hopefully you discovered some unexpected but useful facts – or if you’re eager to learn more head to Green Story. Keep your eyes peeled as the competition closes this week!



Amelie Jannoe - Roberta Style Lee & Ethical Brand Directory Content Development Assistant

Amelie Jannoe is the content development coordinator for Roberta Style Lee & Ethical Brand Directory. You can find out more about the team here.

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