“Fashion dictates fashion, it is high-profile and it talks to the next generation – our future. We cannot continue to pollute the earth, our seas, destroy wildlife habitats, use up our finite natural resources, and imagine there will be no consequences. The fashion industry needs an internal revolution to adopt a philosophy of respect and sustainability.”
Isobel Davies, Green Fashion Designer
Izzy Lane Ltd | izzylane.com
The use of eco-fibers in product design has become a global phenomenon. From car interiors and home decor products to baby clothes and geo-textiles, green fibers have found their way into our hearts and homes alike. Here’s a few interesting facts about green fibers, and to download our Guide to Green Fabrics Cheat Sheet™, click here.
Fiber shown in banner: bamboo rayon
Coir, one of the oldest fibers known to man, is a product of the coconut, which is one of the oldest known trees. The coconut tree (Cocos Nucifera L), a palm tree species, has many interesting myths about its appearance on earth as well as its great benefits. A typical tree will produce an average of 75 coconuts per year, and the fruit is always in various stages of maturity. Therefore, it delivers a year-round harvest.
Because of the lack of chemical processing involved, organic cotton has wonderful drape, hand, and textural qualities that enhance the look and feel of garments. These untreated fabrics have a matte luster with enhanced smoothness. The fabric retains its natural wax resulting in its smooth hand, which in traditional cotton fabrics is stripped away during processing. This untreated fabric has more weight, leading to elegant drape and excellent fall. Further, by eliminating the dyeing process and using naturally colored organic cotton, the cost is also considerably less, while it is a boon for people who suffer from allergies caused by dyes.
Abaca, technically referred to as Musa textilis of the family Musaceae, is known the world over by its more famous name, Manila hemp. A bast fiber, it is known as the strongest natural fiber and can be woven into a variety of airy textiles, interesting twines, and braids. Even though it is known in the trade as hemp, it is very different from true hemp. True hemp is a soft fiber (a product of Cannabis sativa) whereas abaca is a hard fiber. It is obtained from the abaca plant, which belongs to the banana and plantain family, and most of the time these plants are mistaken for the banana plant (Musa sapientum). In contrast, the leaves of the abaca plant are narrow, pointed and upright, and taper more so than those of the banana.
Rush, also known as fiber rush, is sourced from the different kinds of rushes, or weeds, that grow around swamps and wetlands. Soft rushes are found on almost all continents except Africa, and are used especially by the Japanese to make tatami, or floor mats. Rushes have hollow stems, making all items fabricated from it lightweight, including baskets and mats. Its natural color ranges from green to brown.
Cashmere fibers are taken from the undercoat of the Cashmere goat, scientifically known as Capra hircus langier. The goat has a double fleece, with the outer layer of coarse hair hiding the valuable soft undercoat. When the goat moults during spring, which coincides in the Northern Hemisphere between the months of March to May, shepherds get down to the arduous task of collecting the fiber and separating it from the coarse upper hair in a process called dehairing. It is important to note how cashmere goats are raised, paying particular attention to their feeding and grazing methods, to determine if in fact one is purchasing organic cashmere as opposed to traditional cashmere. For reasons of environmental concern, holistic fiber production methods will also need to apply.