I find that people overlook how prominent fabric is in our everyday lives (at least I have in the past!). Fabric is the cornerstone in so many everyday items such as, clothes, bed sheets, curtains, towels, rugs, pillows – and the list goes on. Here at Ninel Studio we put a great emphasis on the types of fabrics we use – after much research on this topic we have decided on 100% Linen. This is an area that has evolved from the very early stages of planning and will continue to evolve as we think about where and how fabrics are sourced and how we can contribute to an environmentally friendly society.
Today, I’ll go over the very basics of fabrics and what the usage of them means from an environmental standpoint.
Types of Fabrics
There are two main types of fabrics:
Natural fabrics include cotton, wool, linen and silk. Synthetic fabrics are man-made and include rayon, polyester, spandex, nylon.
Pros and Cons
As with anything in life there are pros and cons to natural and synthetic fabrics. I have listed just a few points for each but do invite you to do some research and learn more about this long-lived debate.
- Made from natural ingredients like plants or animal hairs
- They are breathable
- They are renewable and biodegradable
- If natural fibers are not properly cared for (take a cotton t-shirt, for example) they can break down over time
- Natural fibers usually carry a higher price tag (for good reason!)
- They are usually very affordable
- They are more durable than natural fibers
- Chemicals are used in the manufacturing process
- They do not hold dye very well which means that they are sprayed with very harmful chemicals to hold the dyes
What difference does it all make?
From an environmental stand point natural fabrics are more sustainable than synthetic fibers. For example, synthetic fibers require the use of chemicals during the manufacturing process. This, as you can imagine, causes health and environmental problems to the people working in these manufacturing plants and the land on and around them.
Over the last couple of years I have become more aware and conscious of the food I eat (where it comes from, how it is made) and while I have made a lot of improvements on my diet there are still improvements to be made. I have also made significant changes in the products I use on my skin – body wash, lotion, shampoo and conditioner. So it was only natural that I would begin to think about my biggest organ, my skin! It was not until a few months ago that I really started to pay more attention to the fabrics of the clothes in my closet and other household items and how they could possibly affect my long term health. Did you know that the textile industry is the second largest in the world (the oil industry is by far the largest), therefore, the buying decisions we make today will have long lasting effects in humanity and our environment.
I know that this is not an easy change to make; however, I am committed to at the very least be aware of what I am purchasing and will find ways to incorporate changes in my buying habits going forward.
I hope you found this post useful and informational. In an upcoming post I’ll share some detailed information on the different types of fabrics that are available. Stay tuned!
Have you thought of the fabrics in your home and in your closet? Can you think of any other pros and cons to natural and synthetic fibers?