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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Why you should go eco-friendly, opt clothes in natural fibres

Some of the most commonly used synthetic fibres include nylon, polyester. Created using various chemicals, these are resilient, elastic. While these are qualities desired by fast fashion brands, they have disastrous implications on one’s health.

fashion-and-trends Updated: Feb 19, 2019 09:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Plastic can also be recycled to make clothes and embellishments (left), a dress made of hemp. (File Photo)
Plastic can also be recycled to make clothes and embellishments (left), a dress made of hemp. (File Photo)
         

Fashion is similar to art as it reflects the uniqueness of a person’s preferences. Often we do not pay attention to the finer details of what goes into making the clothes we wear, whether it has been created with materials that are harmful to our health and the environment. Most fabrics used earler were made from fibres that were derived from natural sources like cotton, wool, silk and jute. These fibres, used in their natural and pure form, are all eco-friendly and non-toxic. However with the need to cater to a growing number of consumers and cost effectiveness, these natural fibres are now blended with other synthetic materials.

A decade ago, the United Nations decided to dedicate a year to natural fibres and put the spotlight on sustainable products and processes. However, fast-fashion has rolled ahead and brands have very little incentive to think about the long-term impact that their garments have on us and the environment.

The transformation of fossil fuels into wearable polyester itself releases a multitude of toxins into the air. A man-made fibre is created through the process of chemical synthesis. Synthetic and semi-synthetic fibres, the latter being blends of synthetic and natural fibres, have also been adopted by several designers and retailers to create apparel that are wrinkle-free, easy to wash and easy to store besides being ‘fashionable’. These properties are achieved by using a lot of chemicals that are toxic and have a detrimental effect on health, besides creating an ecological imbalance.

Some of the most commonly used synthetic fibres include nylon, polyester, spandex, elastene, viscose, liva and acrylic. Created using various chemicals, synthetic fibres are thermoplastic, resilient and also elastic. While these are qualities greatly desired by ‘fast fashion’ brands, they have disastrous implications on one’s health.

Even when it comes to ‘natural’ fabrics, brands have introduced man-made natural fibres such as tencel and liva, which are made by treating cellulose found in wood pulp with harsh chemicals. Fabrics and clothes made with these are now being passed off as ‘eco-friendly’ and natural.

However there is a difference between natural fabric and regenerated natural fibre. While brands might only want to focus on the finished product, consumers have to be aware of the impact their shopping habits have on their own health, and that of the environment. This effort pays off not only in the long term, in the form of environmental impact, but also due to the sheer comfort of wearing breathable materials. As a bonus, consumers can rest assured that their clothes are not leaking toxins into their bodies for hours everyday.

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First Published: Feb 19, 2019 09:47 IST