Clothing and accessories made from natural materials, that is, fibres derived from plants and animals, have been worn by humans for soooo many years. However, in the twentieth century, they were somewhat overtaken by synthetic, man-made materials from nylon to polyester. These materials are cheap to produce, durable, and suitable for large-scale factory production of garments. Think about your fast fashion brands. They will potentially retail 100% polyester clothing.
However, this was of working is also very harmful to the environment, both in terms of the chemicals that are produced during the production process, and the long-term effects of the items themselves. Being durable and long-lasting means that synthetic clothes and accessories don’t break down, and once discarded choke our waterways and fill up landfill.
Given these concerns, it is not surprising that we’ve seen something of a resurgence in natural materials in recent years. Natural materials for clothing and accessories include organic cotton, linen, hemp, cashmere, silk, wool, bamboo, jute, leather, mohair amongst others. There are a number of advantages of selecting clothes made of natural fabrics as compared to synthetic fabrics, not just for the planet, but also for you as the consumer.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of choosing clothing and accessories made of natural materials.
Better Quality and Comfort
Clothes made from natural materials generally offer a better level of quality than synthetic ones, as well as being more comfortable. Although they are typically more expensive, natural materials like cotton, linen, silk and wool are comfortable to wear, breathable and less likely to irritate the skin. On the other hand, polyester, acrylic, nylon and other synthetic materials trap the heat and cause a lot of discomfort especially in hot and humid conditions.
They can cause rashes and other irritations, especially for people with sensitive materials.
Clothes made from natural materials are breathable, meaning they allow your skin to breathe and do not trap moisture like some synthetic materials. Natural materials allow ventilation through the clothes and dries out dampness.
The natural materials are made of relatively hollow fibres which let air and moisture easily pass through the material, while helping to minimise odours. Garments made from natural materials such as cotton and silk are super comfortable to wear even in extreme heat.
Clothing brands such as Celtic & Co. are now producing sustainable clothes and accessories made from natural materials. Natural fabrics such as cotton, silk or wool are directly sourced from nature. Not only are these materials biodegradable, but they can be regrown time and again, unlike synthetics sourced from fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources.
Natural garments also use sustainable production processes, as opposed to man-made fabrics which are chemically processed.
Natural materials are versatile and can easily adapt to suit any climate. Clothes made from natural ingredients are perfect for any season. For example, sheep wool can be used during biting cold winters as well as hot sunny weather.
Wool has the ability to trap and release air which makes it an effective insulator while being breathable. Clothes made from hemp fabrics are also very adaptable and can be used for all seasons. Hemp fabric protects your skin from harmful sun rays and prevents sunburn, tanning and skin damage while also acting as insulation to keep you warm and cosy during winter.
Organic and natural fabrics are less toxic than synthetic fabrics such as polyester and acrylic. These fabrics can be harmful to your skin while also invite diseases. Polyester fabrics are made from esters of terpthalic acid and dihydric alcohol, while acrylic materials are made of polycrylonitriles, which have been linked to breast cancer.
Additionally, because synthetic materials trap moisture, they are more likely to harbour bacteria or fungus. Natural materials such as cashmere, silk, wool and cotton are more breathable, and are free from toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and could be damaging to your health.
Materials like cotton, linen and silk are naturally hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for people with sensitive skin, asthma, and young children. The natural fibres of these materials are free from the chemicals and synthetic elements that can cause skin problems and other allergies. Furthermore, the breathable and anti-bacterial nature of natural materials also helps to reduce the risk of irritation or allergic reactions.
Generally speaking, clothing and accessories made from natural materials last longer than clothes made from synthetic materials. Quality cotton, wool, silk and linen garments can last for years while maintaining the same shape and appearance, as long as they are properly cared for. Natural fabrics are a better investment which will look great even after frequent washing.
There are many benefits of buying garments made from natural materials, from being more sustainable and non-toxic, to comfort, breathability and hypoallergenic attributes. You may spend a little more on an item made of organic cotton or sustainable wool, but this investment will more than pay off in the long term.