Sustainability | Environmental

9 Most Eco-friendly Organic Fabrics For Sustainable Fashion (and How They’re Made Sustainably)

Feb 23, 2022 | Gbemi Fasasi

We are in an age where awareness of the importance of being sustainable is growing faster than ever. People are beginning to make environmentally conscious decisions with their lifestyles such as the clothes they buy, the food they consume and their form of transportation.

As a result, fashion businesses have had to adapt and supply more sustainable fashion to match the demand in the market.

Overconsumption of polyester, synthetic materials and polyester cotton fashion are the cause of unhealthy changes to marine life and oceans. Consumers’ awareness of these problems have urged sustainable fashion to rise.

A huge reason why businesses should focus on using natural fibres for clothes is that when clothes are washed in a washing machine they release microfibres. Microfibres are straps and threads of plastic under a few millimetres, worn off tires in roads, plastic straws and cosmetics. These microfibres go down the drains from the washing machines and end up in water treatment works, which remove 97-99% of plastics. The removed plastics are mixed with sewage sludge that is treated and used for our farmland because of the nutrients the sludge contains. However, this is not sustainable because the plastic in the sludge is reprocessed and put back into the environment. Even though the microfibres are stopped from entering our oceans they come back to our land. The only real solution is for businesses to begin using natural materials for their products.

I know some products such as rain jackets are hard to replicate in terms of quality with natural materials. But that’s not the issue. The issue comes when they’re washed excessively and rain jackets don’t get washed as often as dresses, tops, sweatshirts, bottoms and shorts. Some garments release more microfibres more quickly than others when washed, therefore businesses need to know what materials should be used for different products, taking into consideration the frequency that different products would be washed and determining whether synthetic or natural material will be used.

We have a misconception of the meaning of sustainability, nothing is fully sustainable. Even natural fibres, I will be revealing, are not 100% sustainable - but they’re much closer to 100% sustainability than any other materials. We still need to strive to make less of a negative environmental impact every day.

In this blog, I’m going to shed light on the various sustainable fabrics available that businesses need to be aware of to become more eco-friendly.

Organic Bamboo Fabrics 

How is it made?

The bamboo plant is planted in spring, then once harvested the bamboo is cut into strips and chips. Then the bamboo is smashed to make bamboo pulp. Water is then poured through a filter to create long fibres. Combined water and amine oxide are used to soften the fibres, before the fibres are spun into bamboo yarn and weaved into fabrics.


  • Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, therefore it’s easier for manufacturers to make fabrics from it.

  • Bamboo fabrics are much more sustainable than polyethene because bamboo replenishes fast, is renewable, absorbs large amounts of CO2 and produces more oxygen than other plants.

  • Biodegradable. 

Corn Starch Cellulose Woven Fabrics 

How is it made?

A natural process that separates proteins from soybeans takes place. The soybean protein then goes through a treatment that reduces its coarseness, with alkali being used to achieve this effect.

Then manufacturers extrude the resulting slurry in a spinneret. Once cool and dry the fibres are ready for production. Chemicals such as formaldehyde or polycarboxylic acid may be used to treat the fabric to increase durability. Then the soy fibres are spun into yarn and dried in the finished yarn without bleaching. The following strips are then woven into long strips of fabric


  • Has a soft elastic material that can be used for high-performance sportswear, socks and tights.

  • Highly breathable. 

  • Highly biodegradable. 

Rose Petal Fiber Woven Fabrics

How is it made?

Waste petals are broken down and spun into fibres.


  • Biodegradable.

  • Smooth and soft material. 

Orange Fiber Woven Fabrics

How is it made?

Oranges are peeled, then cellulose is extruded from the peel. The cellulose is then turned into yarn, either a stable fibre or continuous filament, and then is woven.


  • Biodegradable. 

  • Soft and silky material. 

  • Lightweight material. 

Milk Cellulose Woven Fabrics

Instead of throwing away sour or spoilt milk, you can wear it.

How is it made? 

Casein protein is extracted from milk. A collection of stale and waste milk is skimmed to remove fat. This is carried out in an acidic and dehydrated medium in order to remove H2O and make the milk more concentrated, which is done by boiling the milk at low temperature and pressure to create powdered milk. Then littering and dissolving of the powdered milk takes place to extracted casein - for every 35 litres of skimmed milk there is 1kg of casein. Once the casein protein is extracted it is then made into fibres. This is undergone by wet spinning where the powder of casein is dissolved in an alkaline solution of sodium hydroxide. The resultant solution is ripped till the right viscosity is attained, followed by filtration of the solution.

The solution is then extruded through a spinneret in a water bath consisting of sulphuric acid, followed by solidification of fibres by coagulation. Fibres are then hardened by immersing the filament fibres into formaldehyde. This is a drawing process wherein the fibres are stretched to impart strength. The fibres are then washed and dried and cut into stable lengths, then woven.


  • Soft and smooth fabric.

  • 100% natural and free from toxic chemicals. 

  • Perfect for a variety of clothing styles.

  • Milk fabrics can help with body temperature regulation.

  • Biodegradable. 

Lotus Woven Fabrics 

How is it made?

Fibres extracted from the stem are spun into yarn. Extracted fibres are placed in the skeins on a bamboo spinning frame, preparing them for warping. The threads are then taken from the warping posts and are coiled. Yarns for the weft are wound into bamboo bobbins and then woven.


  • Biodegradable. 

  • The whole process is handmade. 

  • Soft in material.

  • Lightweight.

  • Almost wrinkle-free.

  • No toxic chemicals.  

Eucalyptus Woven Fabrics

How is it made?

Eucalyptus wood pulp is dissolved in the non-toxic chemical amine oxide, reducing it down into a viscous cellulose solution. The solution is then extruded through fine holes to create fibres, and spun into fabrics.


  • Water consumption in the manufacturing process is less than for cotton.

  • Naturally a temperature regulator. 

  • Absorbs 50% more moisture than cotton.

  • Odour resistant. 

  • Biodegradeable. 

Banana Woven Fabrics

Bananas are one of the world’s most wasteful crops. Instead of burning banana stems, we can use them to make clothes.

How is it made?

The banana stems are cut into celery-shaped chunks, then they’re left to dry in the sun. These strands are fed into an extractor machine. They are left to dry till they’re like silk yarn and then woven.


  • Biodegradable. 

  • Absorbs dye better than cotton.

  • Requires less water and land use for production. 

  • Breathable. 

  • Naturally absorbent.

  • Sustainable alternative to cotton and silk. 


In conclusion, Fashion businesses must adapt, and become more eco-friendly and sustainable in their services, business operations and products to stay in business in this century. 

In this blog, I’ve highlighted the various fabrics fashion and apparel businesses can use to become sustainable. Head over to the Rural Handmade website to see how we solve problems for businesses, and book a call if you are interested in getting these sustainable fabrics - at low prices, because of our huge connections and partners. We believe handmade products are the most sustainable form of production. We have huge communities across the world creating handmade products in our supply chains, all promoting sustainability in all social forms, and we would love to welcome businesses to be a part of this positive social impact.

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