Keep it natural: alternatives to cotton

 

Think of a natural fibre and you’ll likely think of cotton: it is one of the world’s most-used fibres, with cotton production taking over about 2.5% of the world’s global farmable land.

 

Making cotton fibre, however, can be a resource-intensive process. We’ve taken a look at a few of the natural alternatives, and highlighted our picks from the brands making sustainable, chic pieces with these fabrics. 

 

 

Tencel

Tencel is a sustainable fabric made from carefully farmed eucalyptus trees. The chemicals used to produce the fibres are nontoxic, and are recycled with a recovery rate of 99.5%. 

Often blended with other natural fibres, Tencel (or lyocell, as it’s also called) has a distinctive soft feel and is super absorbent. Also – handily – it doesn’t tend to wrinkle.

London-based designer Umran Aysan uses the fabric in her collections as part of her dedication to producing ethical, artisanal fashion. We love this Tencel box dress, with a monochrome, abstract print that is perfect for your next winter getaway!

 

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Bamboo

Once used in corsets, the modern-day use of bamboo fibres in clothing has seen it adapted into an altogether comfier and more forgiving fabric. Bamboo production requires much less water than cotton, and in some countries helps prevent deforestation and soil erosion.

Sweaty Betty has deployed bamboo as its fabric of choice for its high-end workout wear: the body-temperate regulating properties of bamboo fabric make it ideal for gym gear. This Pirouette stretch-bamboo top naturally draws away heat and moisture while you’re working out.

 

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Linen

Linen is an ancient textile, made from the fibres of the flax plant. Linen has a distinctive look and feel and is naturally cool to the touch, making it perfect for holiday wear. Another plus: it ages beautifully, with linen clothes softening and improving with wear.

Oshadi is an ethically produced brand which sources its organic linen from local, highly skilled workers within the artisan community in Erode, India. The label is working to revive and sustain India’s textile heritage of hand weaving and natural dyeing.

Pieces for AW16 include this candy-pink side-split top, ideal for bringing a flash of colour into your winter wardrobe layered over a crisp white shirt.

 

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So when shopping next, look out for tencel, bamboo and linen — check the label, keep it natural. 

 

Olivia Gagan