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The fast fashion industry is highly polluting, ranking as the second-largest water polluter and contributing to 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Your fashion choices have a significant impact.

Understanding the sourcing and production of materials is crucial in the complex supply chain of the fashion industry. The fabric used for clothing significantly affects its environmental and social impact, but you can make a difference by learning about different fabrics.

You have the opportunity to make a positive change by learning about the best sustainable fabrics for different seasons and occasions so that you can arrive at better shopping decisions.

How To Choose the Best Sustainable Fabrics

The Best Sustainable Fabrics for Different Seasons and Occasions

Eco-friendly fabrics are produced without pollution or waste as garment workers source and process them using environmentally friendly methods. Additionally, the farming practices for these fabrics avoid harmful pesticides and herbicides while sustainable production utilizes alternatives to chemical-intensive bleaching and dyeing.

It's crucial to think about energy consumption. Forward-thinking companies, like Baleaf, use closed-loop systems to recycle most of their production materials. Consider the impact of transporting raw textile materials as clothes that travel extensively before reaching local stores have a larger carbon footprint than locally manufactured fabrics.

Eco-friendly fabrics can be synthetic, but many eco-conscious consumers prefer biodegradable options like recycled cotton, linen, or hemp. Choosing quality, long-lasting clothing is important for sustainability, enabling recycling, composting, or reusing when needed. Currently, only a small fraction of clothes get recycled while the majority end up in landfills or are incinerated.

RELATED: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Fabrics for Your Activewear

The Best Sustainable Fabrics for Activewear

When selecting fabrics with lower environmental impact, the label plays a crucial role, offering guidance for responsible choices that can positively affect people, the planet, and animals.

Right at the heart of Baleaf is the desire to save Mother Earth. Baleaf Sustainable is revolutionizing eco-friendly fashion with versatile activewear pieces made from sustainable fabrics to downsize our wardrobes and promote more environment-friendly choices.

RELATED: Baleaf Sports Launches Sustainable Line, a New Series of Eco-Friendly Activewear

Recycled Nylon

Nylon shares similarities with polyester as a synthetic, durable, water-resistant fabric made from fossil fuels, but it consumes more energy during production and generates higher carbon emissions proportionally.

Recycled nylon comes from plastic waste, including carpet flooring, fabric scraps, and abandoned fishing nets.

It is frequently mixed with spandex or elastane. Producing recycled nylon can conserve energy and water, save oil, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to virgin nylon production.

Recycled Polyester

Polyester, a commonly used fabric, poses a serious environmental concern due to its non-biodegradable nature, emphasizing the importance of proper disposal for polyester garments.

The eco-friendlier option is recycled polyester, often referred to as rPET, which maintains the positive attributes of virgin polyester, such as durability and moisture resistance. Manufacturing rPET emits 79 percent less carbon, and it reduces the demand for crude oil to produce plastic for fiber manufacturing.

Polyester recycling has two methods: mechanical, which shreds and melts the fabric but may require a mix of virgin polyester for durability, and chemical, breaking down and reforming the plastic molecules to maintain the fiber's quality at a higher cost.


Modal fabric, made from beech tree pulp, is commonly used for clothing and household items. It's a type of rayon, known for its durability and flexibility, often blended with cotton and spandex, but it's pricier than cotton and viscose.

Modal is widely seen as an eco-friendly option compared to cotton due to its minimal water usage in production. It's considered semi-synthetic because it involves chemical treatment but is more durable than regular rayon and has a soft, cotton-like feel.


Lyocell is a light fabric crafted from wood pulp, usually eucalyptus, known for being absorbent and moisture resistant. It's eco-friendly as it's produced without harmful chemicals. Lenzing, an Austrian company, makes the popular Tencel brand.

The Best Sustainable Fabrics for Different Seasons

The Best Sustainable Fabrics for Different Seasons and Occasions

As seasons change so does our clothing. Let's take a look at some of the fabrics we can wear when the temperature rises or goes down.

Recycled Cotton

Cotton's versatility and comfort make it a popular choice for various garments, especially for summer, but for a more sustainable option, opt for recycled cotton over conventional varieties.

Recycled cotton undergoes a process where cotton waste is sorted, shredded, and respun into yarn, often requiring blending with other fibers for added strength. 

Using recycled cotton conserves significant electricity and water, with just half the fibers in one t-shirt saving up to 2,700 liters of water compared to virgin fibers.


Hemp has a long history of use for various products over thousands of years. Due to marijuana's prohibition in the 20th century, its use declined. Nonetheless, hemp remains an environmentally friendly option, requiring minimal water, and is naturally pest-resistant with a higher yield compared to cotton. Additionally, it's a soft, breathable, and durable fabric that becomes even more comfortable over time, making it perfect for warm weather.


Linen, one of the oldest fabrics, dates back 30,000 years, and it can be grown without fertilizers in marginal land.

Linen, a strong and breathable fabric with natural resistance to moths and moisture absorption without bacteria retention, is a versatile choice for clothing, upholstery, towels, and bedding. It's popular for summer wear due to its heat-regulating properties.

Soya Fabric

Soya fabric, known as "vegetable cashmere," is an eco-friendly, cruelty-free alternative made from soya bean by-products.

It's soft like silk, durable like cotton, and warm like cashmere, perfect for winter wear, and it's easy to maintain. Soya fabric is also eco-friendly, biodegradable, and waste-minimizing.

Coconut Fabric

Coconut-based clothes are not just a novelty. Coconut fiber clothes are soft and warm, suitable for winter, and their biodegradability benefits the environment and wildlife, sparing trees and requiring minimal land, water, and energy.

Pineapple Leather

The leather industry is inhumane but known for its durability and style.

Pineapple leather, also called Piñatex, is a sustainable alternative that keeps you dry and stylish, though it does use a petroleum-based resin. Consider swapping your leather jacket for a Piñatex coat lined with soft hemp.

#wemovetogether for More Sustainable Fashion Choices

Choosing sustainable fabrics is a great first step in making your wardrobe more eco-friendly. Before buying, check labels to understand how the fabrics are sourced, handled, and transported.

Baleaf's Sustainable Line makes it easy for you to simplify and downsize your closet with more versatile and eco-friendly pieces.

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