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Which fabrics are the most sustainable?

When shopping for sustainable fashion, there are a few points to be considered

  • Manufacture – Garments are made by people who are treated fairly and paid a fair wage

  • Sustainable – Garments are made from sustainably grown or recycled material using a low impact process

  • Quality – Garments that are well made and will last and be loved for years

  • Recycle – Garments can be reused, recycled or upcycled and essentially stay out of the landfill

Here are some of the best sustainable fabrics to look out for!


Linen is a natural fibre.

It has been used for thousands of years and comes from the flax plant. Linen keeps its shape well and is a very strong fabric that allows your body to breathe.


Cotton is a natural fibre but it does take a lot of water to produce – a simple T-shirt and pair of jeans can take 20,000 litres of water to make! If you wish to shop for cotton but keep it sustainable then look out for Fairtrade labels and conscious cotton labels


Did you know there are more pairs of jeans on the planet than there are people?! Denim is made from cotton so that’s a lot of water spent on making these jeans. You could look out for jeans that promote circularity like using a percentage of recycled fibres. Try and avoid rips and tears when buying denim, they won't last as long.

Peace Silk

This is a relatively new process for sourcing silk. Did you know silk is made by the silkworm? Silk is made as they make their cocoons which, when collected, are boiled and spun into thread, killing the silkworm in the process! It takes around 5,000 silkworms to make a silk kimono. Peace silk allows the silkworm to develop into moths, and their empty cocoons are then collected.

Wool & Cashmere

These are both natural fibres grown naturally by sheep, goats and alpacas etc creating a lovely warm and soft, high-quality garment. Two things to consider when keeping it sustainable – How are the wool growing animals treated? Lots of farmers treat their stock with kindness, look out for wool from these. High emissions are sadly associated with cultivating wool (in comparison to plant-based materials)

Econyl (recycled nylon)

Nylon is made from oil and is a plastic fibre; however, it is one that’s very difficult to avoid. This is where recycled nylon come in. It’s made from recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets and other easy to recycle items.

It’s the sustainable answer for rain and swimwear!


Hemp has been grown and spun into fibre for thousands of years. It grows fast, can be grown in the UK and has so many uses, a truly sustainable fibre.

Everyone will have their own ideas of sustainable fashion and there will be things missed from the above but at Farthings Cambridge and Trumpington we believe if we just become aware of where our clothing comes from at its source we can start to make better choices.


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