Natural fibers are back in style, and there’s a very good reason why. Not only do they breathe better than their synthetic counterparts, but they are also much more eco-friendly than the traditional stuff you’re used to seeing on the racks at your local department store. 

One of the biggest advantages of natural fibers is how gentle they are on your skin, making them perfect kids with sensitive skin, eczema, and/or sensory processing disorders. Here are eight reasons to make the switch to natural fiber clothing.

Natural Fiber Clothing

What is natural fiber clothing?

Natural fiber clothing is made from material produced by nature, not people. Some notable examples of natural fibers commonly used in clothing include cotton, hemp, jute, linen, and wool. Natural fiber clothing tends to be super comfortable because it provides insulation in cold weather and cools us down in warm weather. 

What are the types of natural fibers?

Natural fibers for clothes are fabrics made from sustainable plant or animal-based sources. These fibers are more environmentally friendly and ethical than synthetic fabrics. Common examples of plant-based natural fibers include cotton, silk, linen, hemp, rayon (modal), and lyocell. Animal-based natural fibers for clothes include wool (cashmere), alpaca fleece, camel hair, and spider silk. Note that fur and leather are absent from the animal-based natural fibers list because both pose risks to animal welfare, and thus are not considered sustainable.

While people have worn natural fiber clothes for centuries, they have become more popular in recent years due to rising awareness of issues with fashion industry waste and pollution generated by the production of synthetic fabrics like polyester. Natural fibers, like organic cotton, are also available with environmental and ethical certifications, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which ensure clothing has been held to the highest standards of sustainability and ethics throughout the entire production process.

Plant Based Natural Fibers

Is it better to wear natural fibers?

Natural fibers for clothes are much better to wear than synthetic fabrics like polyester. Key benefits of natural fibers include improved comfort, softness, and durability. This means they are wonderful for sensitive skin in all seasons and eco-friendly because of their extended useful life. Natural fibers also require less water to produce, are processed with fewer and less harmful chemicals, and are fully biodegradable. This combination means that using natural fibers for clothes reduces risks to both human and environmental health. Further, natural fibers for clothes are often used by fair trade or ethical manufacturers that ensure the safety and wellbeing of the fashion workers who make the garments. All in all, when you choose natural fibers over synthetic materials for your clothes, you'll feel great knowing that you'll enjoy more comfort while supporting the wellbeing of fashion industry workers and the health of our environment.

8 Reasons to switch to natural fiber clothing

Here are five reasons why you should make the switch from conventional fabric clothing to natural fiber clothes!

1. Natural fibers are breathable.

Clothing made from natural fibers is softer and more breathable than conventionally and synthetically produced material. Natural fibers are highly permeable. Permeable fabric allows excess heat (sweat) and odors to pass though, meaning that your clothes will feel great against your skin all day no matter what the weather. Natural fibers are especially wonderful for people who suffer from sensitive skin, allergies, and eczema.

2. Natural fibers are absorbent.

Ever see a polyester workout shirt marketed as "moisture wicking"? Well, the reality is that synthetic fabrics like polyester actually repel water, which makes you sweat and keeps moisture held against your skin. Natural fibers are far more absorbent than synthetic fabrics. What does that mean for you? Clothing made from natural fibers will help you stay drier and more comfortable.

3. Natural fibers are gentle on skin. 

Since natural fibers are breathable and naturally antimicrobial, they are the perfect choice for sensitive skin. Natural fibers are especially wonderful for people who suffer from sensory disorders, allergies, and eczema.

4. Natural fibers are durable.

Natural fibers are more durable and last longer than synthetic fibers. Be sure to take good care of your clothing to maximize its useful life. Machine wash cold and lay flat to dry to keep your clothing looking like new.

5. Natural fibers are sustainable.

Natural fibers have less environmental impact than synthetic fibers. Natural fibers, especially organic fibers, are made with fewer chemicals, require less water for processing, and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions. 

6. Natural fibers are biodegradable.

Natural fibers like cotton and wool break down faster than synthetic fibers like polyester. In a landfill, 100% cotton clothing decomposes in 1 to 5 weeks. In comparison, polyester clothing takes approximately 200 years to decompose and leeches harmful chemicals into the surrounding ecosystem. 

7. Natural fibers are more ethical. 

Many sustainable clothing brands using natural fibers are also dedicated to higher ethical and environmental standards. Look for clothing that is GOTS, Fair Trade, or B Corporation Certified.

8. Natural fibers are cost effective.

While many perceive clothing made from natural fibers to be expensive, there are lots of options available at comparable cost to clothes made from synthetic fabric. Given its durability, clothing made from natural fibers is cost effective on a "per wear" basis. 

 

References: 

Broadhead, R., Craeye, L., & Callewaert, C. (2021). The Future of Functional Clothing for an Improved Skin and Textile Microbiome Relationship. Microorganisms9(6), 1192. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9061192

https://www.panaprium.com/blogs/i/advantages-natural-fibers

 

 

 

September 24, 2022 — Karly Hiser

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