Top 10 Vegan Fibers - Part I
We, human beings, as a species are at a point in time where we are rapidly progressing in technology by gradually fixing our decadence from the past century. 20th century witnessed the dawn of a New Age through the discovery of many revolutionary new chemicals and materials which greatly enhanced human lives, but at the cost of ecological disaster. To put the blame on no one, even we didn’t realise the big picture - The impact it would have on our surroundings. As we are taking strong initiatives to transition to a greener future in every sector of human progress, the clothing industry is no different. Its time we adopt not just a band-aid fix, but rather a grassroot solution.
Here in this article, our Team at TVAAG would like to look into the fibers that go into the Fast Fashion clothing today and how the Plant Fibers can be in fact the best alternative we have to combat this ever growing pollution by the Fashion Industry
Why do we need Vegan Fabrics?
While its important to note that Animal Fibers like Silk, Alpaca etc. are natural, they strictly go against our ethos of Love to Animals. The most obvious benefit of Plant Fibers is that they are Vegan and hence, they are eco-friendly. They are naturally breathable and moisture-wicking, without the need to develop similar costly technologies in the lab - The miracle of Mother Nature! If properly extracted, they can naturally maintain insulation and protect the wearer from electrostatic shocks. Plus, they don’t emit pungent odours due to sweat stagnation. Infact, they smell much better. But in most Plant Fiber clothing, the perks of using such fibers are ruined by infusing them with Synthetic Dyes - Although, this is an important topic, it shall be discussed in another article.
Here, TVAAG has looked into the most desirable Natural Fabrics and why they must be important to the rapidly growing Yoga and Fitness niche. The point of this write-up is to educate our fans with an overview of these fibers rather than go into deepers details. For the sake of convenience, this article has been broken down into two parts
1. GOTS-Certified Cotton
As opposed to traditional Cotton, which are laced with toxic pesticides and insecticides, GOTS Cotton is grown without harmful chemicals and doesn’t destroy ecosystems. In fact, it’s known to improve soil quality and often uses less water
Since the cotton fibers are much shorter than other natural fibers, the spinning process is different than spinning wool, a medium length fiber, or linen, and extra-long fiber. They are extremely comfortable to wear, hence being called ‘Mother of all Natural Fabrics’. They absorb water well and “breathes”. Cotton resists static electricity build-up and can withstand heat, detergents, and bleach
Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass. The Bamboo used to produce fabrics (not the same as Panda food!) is easily replenished and requires no pesticides to grow.
Bamboo Fabrics have many obvious benefits as being an extremely resilient and durable fibre. At the same time it can feel phenomenally soft and pleasant to the touch. When compared in studies to polyester, it has been found to be stronger, have better moisture wicking properties and better moisture absorption than the more commonplace Synthetic Fibers
Hemp is a naturally occurring strain of cannabis which is used exclusively for industrial use. Hemp was one of the very first plants to be used as a fiber, with hemp clothes being carbon-dated all the way back to 8000BC!
Hemp fiber is one of the strongest and most durable of all natural textile fibers. Clothes made from hemp will outlast their competition by many years. Not only is hemp strong, but it also holds its shape, stretching less than any other natural fiber. This prevents hemp garments from stretching out or becoming distorted with use. Hemp may be known for its durability, but its comfort and style are second to none. The more hemp is used, the softer it gets. Hemp doesn't wear out, it wears in. Hemp is also naturally resistant to mold and ultraviolet light. Due to the porous nature of the fiber, hemp is more water absorbent, and will dye and retain its color better than any fabric including cotton
Perhaps, the ‘Coolest of the Plant Fibers’, both literally and metaphorically, Linen is derived from Flax and have an exceptional property to cool off faster than any other Fabric. Linen would be the fabric of choice to be worn in hot weather conditions, since it holds way less moisture than Cotton.
Also like cotton, flax fibre is a cellulose polymer, but its structure is more crystalline, making it stronger, crisper and stiffer to handle, and more easily wrinkled. They are one of the strongest vegetable fibers known to man
Seaweed is a renewable, cellulosic fiber taken from the ocean. When blended with other fibers, it can be used to manufacture woven fabrics. Traditionally used in Chinese medicine to protect the skin, seaweed boasts anti-inflammatory qualities and is said harness deep-sea minerals – even in fabric form
Seaweed fabrics are UV-protectant. Meanwhile, antimicrobial fibers can also be produced by incorporating organic substances with antimicrobial effects - without losing the natural benefits of seaweed. They are also breathable and physically stimulating to wear
(To be continued...)