Sustainable fabric suppliers should be the norm, not the exception.
If you are anything like me, you absolutely love clothes. They are such a great form of expression, a token of love as they get passed down from generation to generation, and they act as an ode to my creativity whenever I embark on my fun natural dyeing adventures.
However, nothing breaks my heart more than knowing that the creation of clothing is one of the biggest polluters in the world.
This is why when you go through my closet (and most likely gasp at the number of clothes I’ve accumulated over the years), you will, however, notice one core thing – I do my best effort to only shop from sustainable fabric suppliers… and there is a reason for that!
Fast fashion may look nice on you, but it’s harsh to the planet
The ugly truth is that most clothes are not made by sustainable fabric suppliers. Instead, the textile industry favours fast fashion and synthetic fibres, which are one of the leading causes of microplastic pollution. All of these microplastics then end up harming our ecosystems.
And not to mention the thousands of incredibly damaging chemicals that are released into the air, our oceans and the soil by textile mills. These toxins are dangerous not only to our environment but also our people, which is why there has been a major shift in textile-related conversations.
Simply put, sustainable fabric suppliers are coming to the rescue of our people, planet and animals!
What does it mean to be a sustainable fabric supplier?
When it comes to shopping for any of your apparel needs, it’s important that you are sourcing these items from sustainable fabric suppliers. When you do that, it means that you are supporting brands that are not only looking to reduce their impact on our ecosystems but also being mindful of how the people who make the garments are being treated.
It is the most beautiful and effective way of taking care of Nature, people and Land.
The best part is that while there are still major changes to be made to the textile industry, there is a community of retailers who are committed to sustainable fashion, as well as more eco-conscious consumers that are changing the fashion world one garment at a time.
Examples of sustainable fashion
If you know anything about sustainable fashion, you’ll understand that there is no ‘official’ definition of conscious, ethical, slow or sustainable fashion. A lot of organisations have their own unique way of defining each term.
In essence, pursuing sustainability in your production as a business owner, or in your closet as a conscious consumer, means looking for sustainable fabrics as much as possible. Some examples of sustainable fabrics are:
There are other types of sustainable fabrics such as linen, hemp, wool that are derived from natural fibres. When you choose natural fibres vs synthetic, the fabric and clothes tend to last longer in your wardrobe and don’t release microplastics into our waterways. Yay!
List of sustainable fabric suppliers around the world
My first recommendation is that, wherever you are in the world, you try to link up to your closest Fibershed Affiliate. They’ll most likely be able to help you source local and potentially regenerative fabrics from producers that work on a soil-to-soil model.
Alternatively, here are other great options:
Sustainable fabric suppliers in the USA
1- Huston Textiles
Your go-to sustainable fabric destination as described by them “from field to finished goods”. Huston Textiles is a family owned business on a mission to empower and engage resilient bio-regional supply hubs. Their mill creates custom fabrics from traceable natural sustainable fibres.
2- Isee Fabric
Isee Fabric has a wide selection of knit, woven and swim fabrics as well as sewing patterns. This female-owned small business focuses on providing organic fabrics that are custom dyed in the USA. A fabulous example of creating sustainable fabric options, locally.
3- A Thrifty Notion
If you’re a thrifter for your closet, you’ll want to meet a Thrifty Notion. This site is your online source for sustainable, vintage and deadstock fabric. Plus they offer a wide range of events, classes and materials to encourage you to give a second life to your garments.
Sustainable fabric suppliers in Europe / UK
Lebenskleidung is based in Germany and offers organic fabrics, patterns and deadstock. They have a strict value chain commitment involving six steps that assure their fabrics are made sustainably from start to finish. Their textiles are GOTS certified as well, making it your next sustainable textile supplier if you’re in Europe!
Manteco is an italian premium textile supplier with sustainability and circular economy at its core. What I love about them is that you can find anything from luxurious wool, tencel, cotton, and more in their curated fabric collections and they have a unique framework for creating wool colors with no dyes! I also love that they offer a lot of recycled natural fabric options.
3- Offset Warehouse
Offset Warehouse sources hand-picked eco fabrics and haberdashery, ideal for creating products that not only look good but do the planet good.
Sustainable fabric suppliers in India / Asia
If you are in India, and wondering where to buy sustainable fabrics, then you will be happy to know about this absolute gem. Jcrafteco aims to support the local community farmers by providing them with stable work and toxic-free farmlands to work in. They’re also the lead supplier of ethical bamboo, cotton, wool, and so much more!
2- Herbal Fab
Herbal Fab is a GOTS-certified organic fabric manufacturers company that ethically produces several stunning sustainable fabrics, including Linen, Hemp, Lenzing Tencel, Modal, Peace Silk, Bemberg, EcoVero, LivaEco, 100% Recycled content fabrics, and Lenzing Luxe.
3- Well Fabric
Well Fabric is a sustainable fabric store with the most beautiful story as they openly commit to the challenge of sourcing new and innovative fabrics that have a sustainable story. How wholesome?
How to choose an ethical and sustainable fashion supplier?
As conscious designers, we have a responsibility to make amends for all of the harm that we have done to our people, planet and animals. Staying committed to sustainability means having the necessary tools needed to make an informed decision.
And so, if you are looking to make ethical, long-term decisions towards a greener tomorrow, here are two VERY important things you need to look out for when deciding on a sustainable fashion supplier:
Look for their certifications
Sustainable manufacturers will always ensure that there is some form of certification somewhere on their garments. This way, you are guaranteed that they adhere to higher sustainability and ethical procedures. This isn’t just with their fabric choices but in their labour standards too!
When speaking to a potential ethical supplier, make sure to ask about the growth opportunities for their employees. Are there opportunities for them to take courses? Upskill themselves? Gain greater skills to further their contribution towards sustainable fashion?
At the end of the day, sustainable sourcing is easy when you partner with the right people that align with your values, ethos and sustainable belief.
By relying on sustainable fabric suppliers, you are not only contributing to a greener today but a brighter tomorrow too.
If you are looking to take your love for sustainable fashion a little deeper, I encourage you to join my eco and sustainable fabric dyeing classes for small businesses – they are deeply enriching and encouraging.
Or, if you’d like to explore natural dyeing services for your brand, get in touch I’d love to help you out!