Layering may be your best bet against the biting cold this season, but how do you choose the right clothes that keep you warm, sartorially fulfilled and also happen to have a sustainable edge? The fabrics you wear make a difference, so we’ve put together a primer to help brace you against the cold while also keeping the environment in mind.Cruelty-free woollens
Warding off the chill is far from our only motivation when buying woollens, they also happen to be the epitome of warmth, wind resistance and durability. But the fabric is not without problems. Wool is a renewable resource that comes from the fleece of sheep that are sheared at least once a year. Unfortunately, these sheep are often subjected to cruel practices like “mulesing” and premature shearing that often remain largely unregulated.
From an environmental standpoint, the production of wool is a highly resource-intensive job that relies on vast areas of land for grazing sheep, a great deal of water to clean, and a considerable amount of chemicals to process the wool. So what’s the sustainable alternative? Enter, recycled wool.
500 litres of water and 11kg of CO2 are saved per kilo of recycled wool produced compared to virgin wool.
Recycled wool comes from pre-consumer sources like factory waste that helps extend the shelf life of wool that was already produced. Not only do reclaimed wool fibres reduces our reliance on wool from sheep, but also divert existing wool from landfills, saves a ton of water and avoids chemical use. When certified by the Global Recycle Standard (GRS), recycled wool also comes with a guarantee that it was tracked throughout the supply chain and also processed in an eco-friendly manner with minimal chemical use.
A controversial yet important fibre that helps keep you warm, polyester allows winter clothing to be lightweight, insulating and durable. But virgin polyester comes from non-renewable fossil fuels like petroleum, which comes at a high cost for the planet. Polyester is manufactured through an energy-intensive process that requires 125 MJ of energy per kilogram produced. That, combined with the greenhouse gases emitted (14.2 kg of CO2 per kilogram) make it a high-impact fibre. And the cumulative impact of both petroleum extraction and polyester production has a negative effect on our environment.
A life-cycle study found that manufacturing Recycled polyester (rPET) generates 79% fewer carbon emissions than virgin polyester.
And just like its reclaimed wool counterpart, recycled polyester that’s been certified by the Global Recycle Standard (GRS) gives you the assurance that the materials are actually recycled and processed more sustainably.
A fuzzy material that feels like a warm hug when you’re wearing it, fleece is a super soft winter fabric that’s traditionally made from synthetics like virgin polyester that have been minimally blended with natural fibres like cotton or wool. But, when you choose sustainable options like GOTS certified organic cotton fleece, you can rest assured knowing that your winter jacket was grown without the use of chemicals.
Furthermore, the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) provides you with the guarantee that every single cotton fibre used is certified organic and meets its minimum requirement of 70% natural organic fibres. Additionally, GOTS has a strict set of rules that are focused on the environmental, social and ethical impacts related to manufacturing.
Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2022-01-24