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Know What You’re Wearing

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The Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Fabrics

What motivates us to make a clothing purchase? Is it because the style is on trend, or because of a great discounted price? While there are numerous factors based on this decision, an important lesson on becoming more eco-conscious with your wardrobe is to know what types of fabrics are used to make clothes.

There are two types of fabrics that clothes are made of: natural and synthetic.

Natural Fabrics

These fabrics are made from natural materials, including:

Cotton / Linen / Silk / Wool / Cashmere / Hemp / Jute
Natural fabrics have been used for clothing production for hundreds of years. These materials come from either animals (hair, fur, feathers), vegetables (cotton, plant-based), and fiberglass.

Synthetic Fabrics

Common synthetic fabrics include:

Nylon / Polyester / Rayon / Spandex / Acrylic / Acetate
Synthetic fabrics are made with added chemicals and solvents, which can be harmful to your body and to the environment. According to this study, women who work in acrylic textile factories have seven times risk of breast cancer than the normal population, and women working in nylon factories have double the risk of getting breast cancer. Yikes!

Which is more sustainable?

Natural fabrics are a greater clothing source, and in the long run, are better worth your investment. They may be more expensive than synthetic clothing but are able to hold up longer through numerous washes compared to chemically produced clothing. These days, synthetic fabrics are more difficult to avoid with newly produced fashion, but there are ways where you can find clothes that are made with natural fabrics.

While many new clothing companies have formed their mission around reducing the production of chemically-made clothing, another way of adding natural fabric clothing to your wardrobe is to buy second-hand clothes. Clothing made decades ago are known to have been made with stronger, natural fabric clothing.

So now that you’re eco-conscious of these fabrics, what’s your next move with your next clothing purchase?


 Sources: Empowered Sustenance

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