Examining Cheap Chic Fabrics

Examining Cheap Chic Fabrics

Cambria Bold
Sep 13, 2011

Cotton may be advertised as "the fabric of our lives," but maybe that's only because Plastic and Cellulose Fibers - the Fabric of Our Lives! didn't have the same ring. The truth is, unsurprisingly, that natural fibers like cotton, linen, and wool make up a significantly smaller part of the textile market than their manmade counterparts. So what are we really bringing into our home and putting next to our skin? What processes go into making these synthetic textiles? The Etsy Blog has a good article on this:

According to Elizabeth Cline who wrote this article for The Etsy Blog, the huge variety of manmade textiles can essentially be broken down into two categories: plastic and cellulose. Unlike natural fibers, these synthetic fibers can only be manufactured with the help of some very caustic chemicals, and of course, they're not biodegradable. But fortunately, progress is being made. As Cline writes:

Recycled polyester or PET fabrics, now being used by Nike and in a few collections in H&M, actually have a lower environmental profile than organic cotton and, unlike cotton, can be recycled to near-virgin or virgin-like quality. There are also new cellulosic fibers that are quite green. Lyocell and 
Tencel, two trademarked rayon fibers, are made from beech and 
eucalyptus trees grown on certified sustainable tree farms, and all of the chemical agents used are recycled in what's known as a close-loop
 system. Best of all, they are durable fabrics that feel

Ultimately, though, Cline says our relationship to textiles has more to do with our disposable attitude rather than what the fabric is made of:

...I and most consumers value synthetics less, and when I see polyester on a label, I'm less inclined to keep that item of clothing in my closet past a few years... A shirt can be made of a wonderful high-thread-count organic cotton or a high-performance polyester, but if it's living in a landfill instead of a closet, does it even matter?

Read More: What's Behind Cheap Chic Fabric at The Etsy Blog

(Image: Textile Chemicals)

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