5 Sustainable Fabrics & Where to Find Them

If you read “What’s in my tee?” and watched the trailers, you would’ve seen the devastating effects of unregulated fabric production and dye dumping. If you are in Tampa on April 18th, Fashion Revolution, Beyond the Label and the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability have partnered to show trailers and have a fireside chat with local experts. More details are available here.


The Beyond the Label (BtL) team consulted Groceries Apparel and put together a BtL Grocery List for Designers of the top FAB 5 FABRICS. In How to Shop for Shi(f)t, launching April 18th on Amazon, we dive into each fabric and explain key things to look for, because not all fabrics are created equally.



Certified Organic Cotton

Recycled Cotton



Recycled Plastic


Questions often arise about recycled plastic fabric. If you create outerwear garments that needs to be durable and waterproof, or if you make bathing suits, we recommend you use a recycled plastic before a virgin petroleum-based polyester, nylon, or any kind of synthetic that supports the oil industry. Eclat works with start-up businesses, offers low minimums, and specializes in transparent circular knitting production. Production is based in Taiwan with a showroom in Los Angeles. If you can avoid using polyester altogether, then look for natural fabrics that mimic polyester. Remember no blends. Polyester microfibers are being found on the outside and inside of fish and in locations as far away as Antarctica.


For certified organic cotton, check out MetaWear. Founder Marci Zaroff Schnell is queen when it comes to certified, low-water organic cotton. Eagle Fabric in Los Angeles offers multiple variations of organic cotton, including terry cloth.


BtL also recommends Recover Textile. For those with allergies to virgin cotton, this recycled cotton waste oftentimes has a lot of the dyes, detergents, and finishing agents washed out of it in the fiber-making process.


Not all viscose is created equal. Look for Lenzing certified natural fibers. Lenzing’s Tencel™ denim, made from eucalyptus, is an amazing non-water-sucking-cotton replacement. Lenzing can direct you to manufacturers that work at all levels of fabric production, from H&M to Prada. Another tree-based Lenzing certified fabric, used by SITA Couture, is Modal from beechwood trees.


Hemp is going to change the entire US textile industry over the next five years—just watch! As it becomes legal and businesses bring fabric production back to the US, hemp usage will rise. Jungmaven does hemp best. Jungmaven offers distressed hemp tees that don’t involve bleach or heavy chemicals.

Written by Taryn Hipwell


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