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Ecological textile fibers

Your guide in choosing ecological materials

How does this guide work?
Natural, artificial, synthetic (if you don't know them find out the differences here), in this guide you will find a list of ecological fibers and fabrics with a brief description. Choose the material you are interested in, then click on the corresponding button for more information. You can also choose to switch guides if you are interested in specific fibers:

What are ecological fibers and fabrics?

Ecological textile fibers are an integral part of sustainable fashion, it is unthinkable to talk about this topic without the help of these materials.

The environmental impact of textile production is devastating in Italy as in other European countries, although the most dramatic situation is experienced in developing countries exploited for low-cost labor.

Thanks to increasingly aware consumers, fashion converges towards a more ethical and sustainable production: the use of ecological fabrics and the diffusion of alternative materials to those of animal origin is the starting point.

Where to buy these materials?

We are not producers, but as an association we can point you to Italian suppliers. 

If you are here to buy low environmental impact fabrics or materials:

Samples of ecological fabrics

List of ecological textile fibers

Natural fibers

Natural textile fibers include those of animal origin and those of vegetable origin. In this guide we will not talk about standard cotton, but about organic cotton, just as we will not talk about traditional wool, but about organic one.

Natural fabrics are the oldest in the world and the most used in fashion together with synthetic ones. You will surely have some basic notions about them and you will think that there is not much more to learn, but reading our guides may surprise you.

Hemp

Hemp is an ecological natural fiber extracted from the homonymous plant.

Why is Hemp an ecological fabric?

Hemp is undoubtedly the most sustainable natural fabric on the market. The plant grows spontaneously and does not require special attention from man. Its cultivation allows a considerable saving of water and energy resources, and a minimal environmental impact also due to the scarce need to use pesticides and fertilizers.

The entire production chain of hemp from extraction, to spinning, up to the weaving of the fabric, requires a minimum use of chemical / toxic substances.

What is done with hemp?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear (often mixed with other fabrics)
  • Parts of shoes, bags, accessories
  Search for articles related to Hemp

Caucciù

Il caucciù is an ecological natural rubber extracted from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis).

Because the Caucciù is it an ecological material?

Given that it is not a textile fiber, but a rubber, we have inserted the Caucciù among the textile fibers as it is often used for the production of ecological shoes, especially in the soles (thanks to the ancient method of Vulcanization).

Being the Caucciù we consider a natural rubber and not of petroleum derivation to be an eco-sustainable fiber.

What do you do with the Caucciù?

  • Shoe soles
  Search for articles related to Caucciù

Organic cotton

Organic cotton is an ecological natural fiber extracted from the cotton plant.

Why is Organic Cotton an ecological fabric?

Together with polyester, cotton is the most used fiber in the world, but its intensive cultivation is considered among the most harmful in the world, both from a social and environmental point of view.

Thousands of farmers fall ill or die every year due to increasingly aggressive chemicals: pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers.

The aquifers are drained or polluted, with tremendous repercussions also for the world of animals and not just for man.

The cultivation of organic cotton is therefore necessary. Although it requires great attention from man, even if its yield in terms of material is decidedly lower, organic farming remains a form of ecological and socially ethical agriculture.

Organic certifications require sustainable production from both an environmental and social point of view, in some cases (depending on the certification) all stages of production, up to the finished product, must comply with strict production standards.

What do you do with organic cotton?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  Search for articles related to Organic Cotton

Recycled cotton

Recycled cotton is an ecological natural fiber extracted from cotton waste collected in the pre- or post-consumer stages.

Why is recycled cotton an ecological fabric?

Circular fashion is one of the biggest challenges for sustainable fashion brands. Tons of textile waste are in fact thrown into landfills every month and end up in incinerators.

But why burn such important resources? Despite being a complex and articulated discourse, textile recycling is definitely fundamental, and thanks to the development of nuove technologies, today it is possible to recycle a large part of our garments.

We therefore believe without any doubt that recycled cotton is one of the most sustainable materials on the market.

What do you do with recycled cotton?

  • Leatherwear
  • Rags
  • Thermal insulation and padding
  Search for articles related to Recycled Cotton

Organic wool

Organic wool is an ecological natural fiber taken from various wool animals, above all: sheep, but also camels, rabbits, llamas.

Why is organic wool an ecological fabric?

Normally wool is not an ecological fabric, on the contrary it is a fiber that causes various damages to the environment and to the animal world, but we must distinguish between common wool and organic wool.

Organic wool is a fabric with a low environmental impact so its certification ensures the standards of organic farms: respect for animal rights, organic food, animals grazing and not locked up in intensive farms, minimal use of toxic substances in the production chain.

What do you do with organic wool?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  Search for articles related to Organic Wool

Yak wool

Yak wool is an ecological natural fiber taken from the Tibetan ox: the yak.

Why is Yak Wool an ecological fabric?

Yak wool has a decidedly reduced production as the breeding of these animals on a world scale is very minimal.

This wool is collected thanks to the combing of the yak (Tibetan ox) and the animal is considered sacred in Tibet. This is why it does not suffer any violence or cruel wool extraction practices.

What do you do with Yak Wool?

  • Jackets and coats
  • Home textiles (blankets, etc)
  Look for items related to Yak Wool

Linen

Linen is an ecological natural fiber extracted from the homonymous plant.

Why is Linen an ecological fabric?

In addition to being the oldest fiber in the world, together with Hemp it holds the primacy of the most sustainable fabric. The flax plant does not need large quantities of water, nor an excessive use of chemicals commonly used in agriculture.

Fabric processing also has a decidedly reduced environmental footprint compared to competing fabrics.

What do you do with Linen?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  • Parts of shoes, bags, accessories
  Search for articles related to Lino

Jute

Jute is an ecological natural fiber extracted from Malvaceae plants.

Why is Jute an ecological fabric?

An ancient textile fiber and an infinite number of uses have made this material indispensable since its discovery. The extraction of jute can take place from over 1500 types of Malvaceous plants, and these plants grow spontaneously without much work on the part of man.

Together with Hemp and Linen it is one of the most eco-sustainable fabrics on the market, also thanks to the mechanical spinning process, which in itself excludes the use of chemical substances.

What is done with Jute?

  • Bags
  • Fashion accessories
  • Shoes
  Search for articles related to Juta

Kapok

Il kapok is an ecological natural fiber extracted from plants called Ceiba pentandra.

Because the Kapok is it an ecological fabric?

Il kapok it has a high yield per hectare of cultivated land, as the plant grows up to 70 meters in height. Furthermore, the cultivation of these plants does not require the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

The extraction of the fiber is mechanical, but unfortunately very complex as you have to "open the fruit" to extract the raw material, which is why it is a rare fiber to find.

Il kapok, although little used, it is still one of the most eco-sustainable materials on the market.

What do you do with the Kapok?

  • Padding for jackets, coats, duvets and pillows
  Search for articles related to Kapok

Ramia

La ramia (or ramie) is an ecological natural fiber extracted from horticultural plants.

Why the Ramia is it an ecological fabric?

The fiber of Ramia it is eco-sustainable as horticultural plants grow naturally without any particular help from man. The extraction of textile fibers is mostly mechanical and does not require toxic chemicals.

What do you do with the Ramia?

  • Leatherwear
  Search for articles related to Ramia

Organic silk

La ramia is an ecological natural fiber extracted from silkworms.

Why is organic silk an ecological fabric?

Unlike traditional silk, organic silk does not involve the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human health.

From an ethical point of view, although it is not a vegan fabric, it does not imply the death of silkworms. The extraction takes place in fact in order to follow the natural life cycle of the worms.

What is made with organic silk?

  • Leatherwear
  Look for articles related to Organic Silk

Tirolwool

La TirolWool is an ecological natural fiber derived from Tyrolean wool.

Why TirolWool is it an ecological fabric?

Eco-sustainable farms are equivalent to respect for animal rights, but also to a low environmental footprint. Tyrolean sheep live most of their lives in the wild at high altitudes, descending into the valley only for summer shearing.

This wool, being very raw, has always been discarded. Today, thanks to the innovative washing system called Oxy-Was, a soft and resistant ecological wool is obtained.

What do you do with the TirolWool?

  • Clothing (especially padding)
  Search for articles related to TirolWool

Artificial fibers

Artificial textile fibers are made in the laboratory thanks to processes very similar to synthetic fibers, but they differ from these for the use of raw material of natural origin, which replaces that of synthetic origin used in synthetic fibers.

Most of the artificial fabrics can only be classified as Viscose, but each of them has an identification mark and uses a very different natural raw material, or production processes.

Others are classified as bioplastics, or as bio-based materials.

The natural raw material and the use of different chemical substances and production processes make these materials unique, each with its own peculiar characteristics.

Bamboo

Bamboo (or bamboo) is an ecological artificial fiber of natural origin extracted from the bamboo plant of the same name.

Why is Bamboo an ecological fabric?

The attribute of ecological fabric is mainly due to the amazing properties of the bamboo plant rather than to the sustainability of the fabric itself. The bamboo plant does not require particular attention from farmers, it grows spontaneously avoiding the waste of water resources; it does not need dangerous chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.).

What do you do with Bamboo?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  • Technical clothing
  Search for articles related to Bamboo

Bemberg

Il bemberg is an ecological artificial fiber of natural origin extracted from pre-consumer cotton waste.

Because the Bemberg is it an ecological fabric?

Bemberg it is made using cotton linter, that is very short fibers that wrap the cotton seed after the ginning process. Linter is usually considered pre-consumer waste.

Furthermore, the producer of the same name uses a closed-cycle system designed to reduce the environmental impact of its production.

What do you do with the Bemberg?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  • Technical clothing
  Search for articles related to Bemberg

FLWRDWN

FLWRDWN is a bio-based artificial textile filling. It is made using a combination of wildflowers mixed with Tencel.

Why is the FLWRDWN an ecological fabric?

Wildflowers are grown without the use of pesticides and irrigation is completely natural, preventing pollution while reducing water consumption. The flowers are then combined with a completely compostable biopolymer and a patented cellulosic airgel that enhance their thermo-heating properties, creating an innovative mix.

What do you do with FLWRDWN?

  • Thermal padding
  Search for articles related to FLWRDWN

Lyocell

Il lyocell is an ecological artificial fiber of natural origin extracted from the cellulose of eucalyptus trees.

Why Lyocell is it an ecological fabric?

Lyocell enters by right among the eco-sustainable fabrics, but pay attention to the label! To be defined as such, it must have the Tencel brand.

A guarantee on the use of eucalyptus trees grown in a sustainable way (FSC certification) and an innovative Closed Cycle processing process: the water resources are recovered and reused, the same applies to the chemicals used (Oeko-Tex certified), moreover, production is supported by energies from sources rinnovabile.

What do you do with Lyocell?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  • Technical clothing
  Search for articles related to Lyocell

Modal

Il modal is an ecological artificial fiber of natural origin extracted from the pulp of beech trees.

Why Modal is it an ecological fabric?

Modal can only be called eco-friendly when it has the Tencel brand (as seen for Lyocell), otherwise it is far from sustainable.

The Beech trees used for pulp extraction are FSC certified, and the entire manufacturing process is a Closed Cycle. Closed-cycle processes allow the recycling of water resources and chemicals used for fiber processing, allowing for significant savings in resources and a reduced environmental footprint.

What do you do with Modal?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  • Swimwear
  Search for articles related to Modal

Orange fiber

Orange Fiber is an ecological artificial fiber of natural origin derived from citrus fruit waste.

Why Orange Fiber is it an ecological fabric?

Orange Fiber follows the trend of recycling of waste from the food industry by creating a luxurious ecological fabric similar to silk. Recovering oranges otherwise destined for pulping is the goal of Orange Fiber, which combines recycling with a production free of toxic substances harmful to the environment.

What do you do with Orange Fiber?

  • Leatherwear
  Search for articles related to Orange Fiber

Viscose

Viscose is an ecological artificial fiber of natural origin made with various vegetable raw materials.

Why is viscose an ecological fabric?

Usually it is not an ecological fabric, in fact the classic viscose fiber is made with the use of highly toxic substances for humans and the environment (see caustic soda). In recent years, especially thanks to the growing demand for Sustainable Fashion, its production is changing rapidly.

Nuovi manufacturing processes with low environmental impact also make viscose an ecological fabric, but clearly it must have the right certifications.

What do you do with viscose?

  • Leatherwear
  • Underwear
  • Technical clothing
  • Swimwear
  Search for articles related to Viscosa

WEGANOOL

WEGANOOL is a 100% vegetable ecological fabric composed of calotropis fibers mixed with organic cotton.

Why WEGANOOL is it an ecological fabric?

WEGANOOL was created to replace wool and cashmere, which have a truly impressive environmental and social impact. It promotes itself as "vegan cashmere", as it has similar technical characteristics, despite being of 100% vegetable origin.

Calotropis plants grow spontaneously, they do not need irrigation nor pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.

What do you do with WEGANOOL?

  • Leatherwear
  Search for articles related to WEGANOOL

Synthetic fibers

Synthetic textile fibers include all those fabrics made exclusively with materials derived from petroleum products.

All synthetic fabrics in this category can be classified as ecological, because they derive from the recycling of existing resources otherwise destined for incinerators (plastic, fishing nets, carpets, industrial waste, etc.).

Clearly there are many variations of synthetic fabrics, but here you will find only fibers that we believe are eco-sustainable.

NewLife

NewLife is an ecological synthetic fiber made in Italy thanks to the separate collection of plastic, especially plastic bottles.

Why NewLife is it an ecological fabric?

Pointing to the recycling of existing resources, especially if we talk about the much hated plastic, is certainly a great way to develop sustainable fashion more quickly. We know how difficult it is to dispose of plastic, and we can only consider it as a resource to be exploited.

NewLife is an ecological fabric that replaces the classic and polluting Nylon, and is available in over 10 variants according to needs.

What do you do with NewLife?

  • Leatherwear
  • Swimwear
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Fashion accessories
  Search for articles related to NewLife

Econyl

Econyl is an ecological synthetic fiber made thanks to the use of discarded fishing nets, industrial plastic waste, discarded domestic carpets and other plastic waste.

Why Econyl is it an ecological fabric?

The use of recycled raw materials is a step forward for the global textile industry and for circular fashion. Millions of plastic objects have been dumped into the sea, and the plastics industry has no intention of stopping.

Reuse plastic in a clean way, with low environmental impact manufacturing processes and with the possibility of recycling nuovamente is something good and necessary.

What do you do with Econyl?

  • Leatherwear
  • Swimwear
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Fashion accessories
  Search for articles related to Econyl

Recycled polyester

Recycled polyester (or rPET) is a synthetic fiber derived from the recycling of plastic materials, such as pre- or post-consumer waste.

Why is recycled polyester an ecological fabric?

While releasing microplastics with each wash, the amount of plastic present on land and sea needs to be disposed of in some way. One way to do this is to implement a circular economy plan, precisely by recycling this plastic and giving it nuogoes life.

The ideal would be to stop producing virgin polyester and continue with recycled polyester while stocks last, even if this seems to be pure utopia given the huge business behind the plastics industry.

What do you do with recycled polyester?

  • Leatherwear
  • Swimwear
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Fashion accessories
  Look for items related to recycled polyester

Recycled polyethylene

Recycled polyethylene is a synthetic fiber derived from the recycling of the homonymous material (PE).

Why is recycled polyethylene an ecological fabric?

While releasing microplastics with each wash, the amount of plastic present on land and sea needs to be disposed of. One way to do this is to implement a circular economy plan, precisely by recycling this very common type of plastic giving it a nuogoes life.

As with polyester, the ideal would be to stop producing virgin polyethylene and continue with recycled polyethylene while stocks last.

What do you do with recycled polyethylene?

  • Leatherwear
  • Swimwear
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Fashion accessories
  Look for items related to recycled polyethylene

Vegan (vegetable) leather

Vegan leather (also called vegetable leather, or imitation leather) is an artificial material made in the laboratory by man.

Unlike leather of animal origin, vegetable leather is created by exploiting resources of vegetable origin, which are combined - through chemical processes - with substances of synthetic origin such as polyurethane.

Some of these have a high quantity of (natural) vegetable raw material, while others use a greater quantity of synthetic raw material.

By reading the descriptions that follow, you will find out everything there is to know about vegan skin.

Do you want to know where to buy ecological fabrics and materials? Get our supplier list!

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