Organic plant fabric fibers

 

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It's a great sign that we as producers and consumers are being more aware of the environmental impacts we have when we purchase our clothes, shoes, and accessories.  Recently there's a renewed wave of fabric fibers that are being developed from plants other than cotton, hemp, and bamboo that can be very beneficial to our ecosystem.

1.  FLAX/LINEN

Flax/Linen fabric

Flax/Linen fabric

 

This stalky and fibrous plant can be grown with far less water and fewer pesticides than cotton and produced at a lower price.  While cotton is cultivated on 12.6 million US acres, flax is at just 2 million acres in North America.  It's fiber can be transformed into materials that look and feel similar to cotton.  

One version of flax fabric, is Crailar flax.  This Vancouver B.C. based plant is focusing on developing 100% BioPreferred products to dramatically reduce chemical and water usage in fabric weaving and manufacturing.

2.  JUTE

shoes made from jute

shoes made from jute

Jute comes from C. olitorius, it's a shrub with yellow flowers that grows in Asia.  It's mainly been used as cotton replacement, and uses less water for processing.  They have a silky luster, however not particularly strong and tend to deteriorate when exposed to excess moisture.  It's been used to weave twine, carpets, curtains, and coarse cloth.

3.  AGAVE FIBERS

agave fabrics

agave fabrics

These plants are stemless perennials with fleshy leaves.  The leaves contain fibers that are removed and spun into fibers for weaving.  They are very drought tolerant.  

4.  TAPA CLOTH

Tapa cloth

Tapa cloth

This cloth is obtained from the bark of mulberry trees, extracted and pounded into rough substitutes for cloth in Polynesia and parts of Eastern Asia.  Strips of bark are peeled from the trunk and outer coating are pounded with mallet.  The finished product varies according to thickness from muslin to leather like material.  

Written by Amy Leu for

www.taas.nyc

Technology Advanced Apparel Service