Hemp is a cellulose fiber first used by the Chinese over 5,000 years ago that has only recently gained new popularity in North America. The great Renaissance painters first painted on hemp – canvas actually comes from the word “cannabis”.
Hemp has played a very important role in American history as well. In the early 1600’s hemp was considered such a vital resource that laws were passed ordering farmers to grow it. Before 1850, all ships were rigged with hemp because of its high resistance to rot and mildew.
Hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly grown fibers in the world, requiring no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers and little water in fields in Northern China. Hemp is considered a high-yield crop and produces more fiber per square foot that either cotton or flax. Hemp’s cultivation cycle can be as short as hundred days.
Hemp can increase strength, durability, and absorbency in fabrics, making ideal for garments meant to last.
Cotton’s exact age is unknown. Scientists have found pieces of cotton cloth in caves in Mexico that are at least 7,000 years old. It is one of the most popular fabrics in the world but it has traditionally been grown with use of pesticides and water. Cotton is now being grown in certified organic fields and in many cases it is processed in a manner to reduce environmental damage. Organic cotton still requires a great deal of water to grow. Due to the limited production and high expense of organic cotton fiber, it is often blended with conventional cotton.
Cotton is a popular textile due to its natural wicking properties and absorption of dye color. Cotton is a moderate strength cellulose fibre.
TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers have gained a commendable reputation for their environmentally responsible closed loop production process, which transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibers with high resource efficiency and low environmental impact. This solvent-spinning process recycles process water and reuses the solvent at a recovery rate of more than 99%. Consumers can have the assurance that their fashion choices are not contributing to an adverse impact on the environment.
TENCEL™ Lyocell fiber's unique physical properties lead to their great strength, efficient moisture absorption and gentleness to skin.
Polyester fibers are re-used to make fabrics. Polyethylene terephthalate (or simply PET) is the most common polyester used for fiber purposes. This is the polymer used for making soft drink bottles. Recycled PET saves raw materials, as well as reducing energy needs.
Recycled PET is both strong and soft.
Bamboo holds the title of the Guinness World Records fastest growing plant with shoots growing as much as 35 inches in a 24-hour period. When bamboo shoots emerge from the ground in the spring they reach full size in just a few months.
Bamboo has a natural ability to breath and wick moisture away due to its porous nature and, since it is a cellulose fiber, it can biodegrade in normal soil conditions.
Cupro is technically from cotton, but is a different output from the traditional cotton ginning process, giving the resulting fabric a different hand than typical cotton. The fiber itself is derived from cotton linter, which is the very fine, soft material that sticks to the cottonseeds and is left behind after the cotton has been ginned. Usually, these fibers are discarded, however, they are now recycled for the production of this surprisingly beautiful textile. Like TENCEL™ it is a cellulose fiber, two fibers that are also often used in lieu of silk.
The hand of the fabric is much more luxurious than one would expect from the cotton plant - it drapes beautifully and feels similar to rayon or silk. Fabrics that contain Cupro are breathable and help regulate body temperature. Additionally, there is no need to take this textile to the cleaners - it can be washed and dried in the machine (unlike silk!), is anti-static, and resists stretching out at high temperatures.
Although it is touted as one of the most recent offerings in eco-fibers, Henry Ford was photographed in the first known soy fiber suit in 1940. Since that time, soy has mostly disappeared until consumers began demanding more eco-friendly products. It is a natural by-product of normal food production and is a renewable resource. The fiber is made from the hulls of soy beans used in food production. Soy is naturally biodegradable.
Soy has been dubbed “vegetable cashmere” due to its luxurious, soft hand. It is also durable and easy care. Soy has natural wicking properties and is generally combined with other cellulose fibers due to its rarity in the current marketplace. The fiber is so "new", it is still being explored for its technical properties and benefits - including claims that soy's natural amino acids have a positive health effect on the wearer's skin.
Recycled Cotton is cotton that is recycled from post-industrial, post-consumer, or repurposed sources. This cotton is essentially saved from the landfill.