eco friendly materials for clothing

Are you looking for Eco Friendly Materials For Clothing? Read through for where to buy eco friendly fabric. The article contains eco friendly fabric suppliers. You will also find natural clothing materials in the post.

While studying textiles at Parsons in New York City, one of our founders, Cara Bartlett, gained in-depth expertise on a variety of fabrics used to make clothing. Fast-forward seven years and we have built on that knowledge to develop VETTA’s sustainable and ethical capsule collections.

To us, a simple way that we can all make the world just a little bit greener is by taking five seconds to look at garment labels before we buy something new. But what constitutes a “sustainable” fabric versus one that is toxic to the earth?

We’ve created a one-stop-shop guide that covers some of the most environmentally-sound fabrics on the market and ranked them on a scale from one to ten. For contrast’s sake, we also threw in some less-than-great materials at the end of the list. 

Check out our favorite eco-friendly fabrics and shop each via our suggested brands!

natural clothing materials

Eco Friendly Materials For Clothing

A Simple Guide To Eco-Friendly Fabrics And Where To Shop Them

Organic Cotton – VETTA Sustainability Score: 9/10

Why we love it:

  • Made from natural fibers
  • No pesticides or chemicals used
  • Biodegradable
  • Wicks away sweat
  • Breathable 
  • Soft

Drawbacks:

  • Requires a lot of water
  • Can be pricey

Where to shop it: VETTAPeople TreeAmour Vert

Lenzing Tencel – VETTA Sustainability Score: 9/10

Why we love it:

  • Natural fibers
  • Made from sustainably harvested wood raw materials
  • Requires less waster than cotton
  • Sustainable 
  • Biodegradable
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Soft
  • Machine washable

Drawbacks:

  • Chemical processing is required to turn fiber into fabric, which is toxic. However, harm is mitigated by the use of closed loop processing with Lenzing Tencel, which recycles the chemicals rather than releasing them into the environment. 

Where to shop it: VETTA

Hemp – VETTA Sustainability Score: 9/10

Why we love it:

  • Natural fiber
  • No chemical processing required
  • Requires less water than cotton (medium amount)
  • Requires little to no pesticides
  • Biodegradable
  • Machine washable

Drawbacks:

  • Must be imported since it’s not legal to grow in the U.S. 
  • Can be more expensive

Where to shop it: Groceries ApparelShift To NatureWallis Evera

Linen  – VETTA Sustainability Score: 8/10

Why we love it:

  • Natural fibers
  • No pesticides or chemicals required 
  • Biodegradable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

Drawbacks:

  • Uses a lot of water
  • Wrinkles easily
  • May need to hand wash

Where to shop it: In God We TrustHackwith Design House

Silk – VETTA Sustainability Score: 8/10

Why we love it:

  • Natural fibers
  • Requires less water than cotton
  • Biodegradable
  • Luxurious and smooth feel

Drawbacks:

  • Can be expensive
  • Requires dry cleaning
  • Silk worms are killed, unless it’s vegan silk

Where to shop it: EverlaneCuyana 

Rayon/Viscose – VETTA Sustainability Score: it depends – 6/10 to 8/10 (see below)

Why we love it:

  • Natural origins
  • Biodegradable
  • Affordable
  • Uses much less water than cotton

Cons:

  • It is processed with chemicals, so if toxic chemicals are released into the environment, we rate this a 5/10. If the fabric mill processes and disposes of the chemicals properly, we rate this a 7/10.
  • Since this fabric comes from wood pulp, is best if the wood is sourced sustainably (such as Lenzing Viscose, which ensures certain sustainable requirements are met). If it’s Lenzing Viscose, and the fabric mill disposes of the chemicals properly, we rate this an 8/10.
  • If brands are careful about the source and processing of the viscose, it can be a good eco-friendly fabric to use. 
  • It can shrink easily in the wash, so often must be dry cleaned.

Where to shop it:  Reformation

(Non-Organic) Cotton – VETTA Sustainability Score: 7/10

Pros:

  • Natural fibers
  • No chemical processing
  • Biodegradable
  • Machine washable
  • Wicks away sweat
  • Breathable
  • Soft

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of water
  • Requires a lot of pesticides, which contain chemicals that can be harmful to people and the planet

Polyester – VETTA Sustainability Score: 1/10

Pros:

  • Requires less water
  • Easy to care for
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Produced from toxic chemicals that are extremely harmful to humans and the environment
  • Sourced from non-renewable resources (oil)
  • High energy consumption during production
  • Produces carbon dioxide
  • Non-biodegradable

Note: recycled polyester would have a higher score

Nylon – VETTA Sustainability Score: 1/10

Pros:

  • Requires less water 
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Sourced from non-renewable resources (oil)
  • Processed with chemicals that are harmful to the environment and humans
  • Non-biodegradable
  • Typically requires acid dying
  • Creates nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas)

The Details

If you want to understand the reasons for each rating more in-depth, we’ve provided some details below. It can get a little complicated, but essentially you want to understand what you are taking from the earth and what you are adding to the earth. There are five main things that go into whether or not fabric is sustainable:

1 – The source of the fiber (natural or man-made/synthetic).

2 – The resources required to create the fiber (water, pesticides, land, energy, carbon dioxide, fossil fuels, etc.) and whether they are renewable.

3 – The process of turning the fiber into yarn (does it use harmful chemicals? how are they disposed of? does it use large amounts of energy?)

4 – The longevity of the fabric (does it last)?

5 – The end-life of the fabric (is it biodegradable)?

Generally, natural fabrics like organic cotton and linen (made from plants) and Tencel (made from sustainable wood pulp) are more sustainable than man-made fabrics like Polyester and Nylon (which are petroleum-based and take hundreds of years to biodegrade). It gets a little tricky because there are always exceptions, but if you understand that little trick it should help. 

We hope this post serves as a helpful guide for the next time you’re internally deliberating over a new piece. When a garment is made using eco-friendly fabrics, that’s a definite pro for the piece in our books!

eco friendly fabric suppliers

BEST SITES LIKE ALIEXPRESS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING

AliExpress is a massively popular Chinese online retail service owned by Alibaba Group. It was launched in 2010 and hasn’t stopped its journey to becoming the ‘biggest online marketplace of the world‘ ever-since. AliExpress stands toe-to-toe even with Amazon in terms of buyers worldwide. It offers wholesale goods at direct-to-consumer prices from Chinese sellers.

https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-2797082318274772&output=html&h=280&slotname=8682476046&adk=2151885909&adf=1400744799&pi=t.ma~as.8682476046&w=680&fwrn=4&fwrnh=100&lmt=1617765102&rafmt=1&psa=1&format=680×280&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.connectivasystems.com%2Fsites-like-aliexpress%2F&flash=0&fwr=0&fwrattr=true&rpe=1&resp_fmts=3&wgl=1&uach=WyJtYWNPUyIsIjEwXzExXzYiLCJ4ODYiLCIiLCI4OS4wLjQzODkuODIiLFtdXQ..&dt=1617800509297&bpp=9&bdt=M&idt=2949&shv=r20210401&cbv=r20190131&ptt=9&saldr=aa&abxe=1&cookie=ID%3Dfbf25cff5af56077-22bc52b02da70078%3AT%3D1616431030%3ART%3D1616431030%3AS%3DALNI_Mb714XGqz8XKyuqH0xDoE0SJYa3vQ&prev_fmts=0x0&prev_slotnames=5321815537&nras=1&correlator=7426765551034&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=1325826077.1616431272&ga_sid=1617800512&ga_hid=842373693&ga_fc=0&u_tz=60&u_his=1&u_java=0&u_h=800&u_w=1280&u_ah=732&u_aw=1280&u_cd=24&u_nplug=3&u_nmime=4&adx=103&ady=2326&biw=1265&bih=721&scr_x=0&scr_y=4614&eid=44740079%2C44739387&oid=3&pvsid=1590649705544998&pem=761&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&rx=0&eae=0&fc=1920&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1280%2C0%2C1280%2C800%2C1280%2C721&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7CeE%7C&abl=CS&pfx=0&fu=8320&bc=31&ifi=4&uci=a!4&fsb=1&xpc=mLiSqag15E&p=https%3A//www.connectivasystems.com&dtd=M

It also works as a great dropshipping model for a lot of e-commerce entrepreneurs. Along with a lot of good sides, AliExpress has some cons as well. The biggest problem is the shipping time of AliExpress orders, which is pretty long considering the goods come from China. Also, some orders can be very expensive after shipping charges and taxes.

So, it is a good thing to have some AliExpress alternatives whenever you don’t like its services. That’s why we are telling you about 21 best sites like AliExpress. Some of these websites offer cheaper prices and faster shipping on certain products. And, you can also use them to maintain a nice profit margin for your dropshipping business.

1. LIGHTINTHEBOX

LightInTheBox is the perfect AliExpress alternative as it is also a Chinese e-Store. It sells hot and trending products across the globe. Their products range from phone and electronics to fashion, jewelry, shoes, bags, and many other items. You can find almost anything here at a very cheap price.

The delivery time of LightInTheBox is also similar to AliExpress as their warehouses are located only in China. But, you may get a faster shipping time due to having fewer orders to ship. You can pay for your orders with PayPal, Western Union, or your credit card.

2. WISH

Wish is a widely popular online marketplace where you can buy almost anything. From clothing to footwear, electronics, healthcare items, and many more things, you can get them all for an incredibly cheap price. They are also known to offer great deals and coupons to their new customers.

Their shipping time is also faster than AliExpress as their products come from sellers located in small countries. Wish also provides an advanced rating system that is very helpful for both the consumers as well as sellers. It helps promote good ones.

3. OVERSTOCK

Overstock is a US-based online marketplace. It makes profit by selling wholesale products at a highly cheap price tag. A major portion of their stock is comprised of overstock from the major retailers or their seconds. You can find some really amusing deals here. The shipping time will also be lower as compared to the Chinese marketplaces. You can get your items within a week.

The product range of Overstock is incredible. You can find everything such as clothing, decor, kitchen appliances, and many more items. You can even find furniture and other big home items. So, you can use to fill your house with great stuff at a reduced price.

4. DEALEXTREME (DX)

DealeXtreme, more popularly known as DX, is an amazing online marketplace. The website works in a very similar manner as ‘Wish’ and sells cheap products coming directly from sellers. It has partnered with many small businesses and sells its products to a wide base of audience.

The shipping time is a problem with DX also because their warehouses are located in China. Apart from this, you can get some really worthy deals on DX. You should always keep an eye on their clearance sales for the best prices.

5. GEARBEST

Gearbest is the perfect AliExpress alternative if you are looking to shop for the latest gadgets or electronic devices. It works with over 5000 Chinese brands and top suppliers to deliver the best products. It has products from top Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, and many others. But, it isn’t just an electronic store.

You can also find a massive range of other products as well. The prices available on GearBest are reduced, and you can even reduce them with the available coupons. They also have warehouses in multiple countries. So, you can get faster shipping from the local warehouse.

6. BANGGOOD

BangGood is another Chinese e-commerce platform that provides worldwide shipping of cheap goods. You can find almost anything on this website, from clothing to electronics, and even home items. The prices available are marked down from their original prices. You can also get amazing deals during special clearance sales.

BangGood provides a free $20 coupon to every new user. The shipping time for BangGood orders is faster than AliExpress for certain products. However, the regular shipping time is similar.

7. CHINABRANDS

ChinaBrands is a widely popular Chinese e-Store where you can buy products at wholesale prices. You can find almost anything on this website at a highly affordable price. Their shipping prices are also low but you will get a long shipping time. It is the perfect website for buyers who want the lowest prices but can wait for their orders for at least a month.

Most of the ChinaBrands sellers run their factories from China, and their warehouses are located there only. This is the reason for the considerably long shipping time.

8. BONANZA

Bonanza is a unique American online marketplace where you can find a great range of products. They have over 20 million items from more than 50,000 sellers. It is a growing e-commerce store where even you can sell your items. It is a preferred platform by more than 20,000 entrepreneurial sellers. You can find some really amazing handcrafted items and collectibles here.

For people looking to shop regular items, this store may disappoint you a little. The prices of some items may be a little higher than some Chinese stores. But, the quality provided will be worth it.

21 ALIEXPRESS ALTERNATIVE STORES

Here are 21 AliExpress Alternatives that you can use to shop online.

  1. LightInTheBox
  2. Wish
  3. Overstock
  4. DealXtreme (DX)
  5. GearBest
  6. BangGood
  7. ChinaBrands
  8. Bonanza
  9. DHGate
  10. TinyDeal
  11. Target
  12. MiniInTheBox
  13. GeekBuying
  14. Jet
  15. TomTop
  16. Target
  17. MadeInChina
  18. American Greenwood
  19. Walmart
  20. eBay
  21. Amazon

FINAL TAKE

AliExpress is amazing but it is always good to have options when you are shopping. So, these are the 21 best sites like AliExpress. If you ever feel like you should look somewhere else, these are some stores that you should visit. You can also use these for your dropshipping business if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Make sure you have a solid plan before beginning.

Leave a Comment