As we all try to move into more eco-friendly existences one of the areas we should be looking at is fashion. We have begun to question the types of food we eat, cars we drive and even the types of light bulbs we use so why not the clothes we wear?
The whole process (growing, bleaching, dyeing) that goes into the making of clothes is not good for the Earth. For example, most of us wear clothes that are made out of cotton but we really should reconsider this as cotton crops are incredibly polluting and wasteful. To grow enough cotton for one t-shirt requires 257 gallons of water. Cotton crops also use 22.5% of the insecticides globally. Rayon is also a damaging material. Its production contributes to the depletion of the rain forests. Makes you think, doesn't it? We have to start making more informed and responsible decisions in regards to what we put on.
There are alternatives to the more harmful materials. Several materials are less harmful because they are renewable, don't leave as big an ecological footprint and don't use as many chemicals in their growth or production.
Hemp is probably the most eco-friendly textile to use in clothing. It grows very quickly and is a dense crop. Those two factors lead to less weeds growing and less need for insecticides or fertilizers. It also requires less processing as the fibres in hemp are longer and ideal for spinning.
Wool, produced by ecologically minded farmers, is also a great material. As long as they take care of the amount of manure produced by the animals, don't raise them on a factory farm, don't concern themselves with dyeing the wool, and don't harm the animal in the haste to shear them as quickly as possible wool can be a responsibly produced textile.
Organic cotton is better for the environment than the regular variety because it does not use the insecticides, pesticides or herbicides. Usually the more eco-friendly trend is continued with this type of cotton with the use of natural dyes to colour the cotton. It is encouraging that the number of organic cotton growers keeps rising.
Soy silk is a by-product of the making of tofu. Then it can be spun into a fabric and the fabric is very receptive to natural dyes and as a result you can create your own colours.
Finally, bamboo has become a textile used more and more in the making of linens and clothes. As bamboo is a very renewable grass it is classified as eco-friendly. As a plus it also has natural anti-bacterial properties and it breathes well. As the cherry on top it is also biodegradable.
As you can see there are plenty of ecologically responsible choices you can make. I agree that some of these choices are expensive, but even that will change as time goes on and the public forces producers to come out with eco-friendly clothes that are also wallet-friendly.