One of my longterm goals has been to transition away from plastic clothes and switch to 100% natural fiber clothing. I love the idea of being able to lose my shirt in the woods and know it’ll become soil in a relatively short period of time. I love the idea of being able to compost my clothes once they are too worn out. I really love the idea of dying in my clothes in nature and to not be littering in the process.
Some of you might be wondering what I talk about when I say “plastic clothes.” Well, nylon and polyester, which make up a huge portion of many of our closets, are plastic and that means they are made of fossil fuels. The creation of plastic clothes pollutes our planet, but it doesn’t stop there. Every time I wear these plastic clothes micro-fibers shed off. I’m littering with every step I take on Earth! And when I’m done with the clothes they are eventually going to the landfill, whether I give them to a friend or donate them to a thrift shop. They’ll all end up littering the planet in one way or another.
That’s why I want to switch to natural fiber clothing. That doesn’t solve all the problems though. Cotton can be one of the most destructive fibers on Earth because of how humans are choosing to grow it and process it. The water and the pesticide usage is unfathomable. And much of the natural fiber clothes are treated and processed with toxic chemicals. That’s why I don’t want to switch over to just any natural fibers, especially cotton that isn’t organic.
The material I’m most excited about is hemp. It’s an amazing fiber and I’d love to wear all hemp clothes. But it’s been tough to make the switch. The market isn’t huge, many of the companies are just greenwashing and a lot of what is available is extremely expensive. There’s also the privileged reality that I live an active life and really like my plastic active wear from companies with ethical practices like Patagonia.
So far, I have not accomplished my dream of switching to all natural fibers but I have at least switched out all my t-shirts and the company I found for this is ONNO. I looked deeply into the company and am really impressed. They are one of the most sustainable t-shirt producers I could find that were reasonably priced. $29 is still kind of a lot for a shirt, but not when you only wear about 5 t-shirts and don’t need a massive wardrobe. All of my clothes fit onto one little shelf, so although my clothes are not cheap like much of what fast-fashion produces, I still spend far less than most people on clothes. ONNO shirts are a fraction of the cost of many of the other hemp/ organic cotton blends or bamboo shirts I’ve found out there. And this money is primarily going to a good place I believe. They sent me some shirts about a year ago and I’ve really enjoyed them.
I am still pursuing my dream of all natural clothes and one day would even like to grow my own clothes from seed, process the plant for fibers and hand make my own clothes. For now though, I am still wearing my quality made Patagonia pants, shorts, vest and jacket that I bought years ago. I know I litter every time I wear or wash these but they’d be littering the planet somewhere. That’s the problem with plastic, once it’s made, it’s pretty much here for good. I will be writing more in the future that goes deeper into my ethics with clothing.
Health and happiness to you all,
Want some tips for ethical fashion? Here are some resources:
Read my updated Journey To Natural Fiber Clothing that shares my journey of breaking free from industrial clothing and transitioning to homemade, natural fabric, naturally dyed clothing.