Eco Textiles: Who’s Making Them and Where

Many people don’t have a second thought about what their clothes are made of. But did you know that the textiles used in your clothing may have damaging effects on the environment and can even make you sick?  Not to mention the workers who are suffering from the ill effects of the many chemicals they are exposed to. Due to the labor-intensive process of production, processing, bleaching and dying, we need Eco-friendly alternatives that are much safer for people and the planet.

People today are paying closer attention to garment labels before purchasing. They want to know what it’s made of and from where. They actively choose to buy only from brands they know to follow the safest and most eco-friendly practices when it comes to the production and sourcing of their textiles.

We found 3 amazing companies who are supporting the production of eco textiles:

 

  • Ananas Anam

 

Piñatex™ is made from pineapple leaf fibers. Ananas Anam Founder, Carmen Hijosa, was frustrated by the heavy use of chemicals in the tanning process of leather and developed Piñatex™ as an alternative to it.

A breakthrough came when she realized that she could make a non-woven textile, a fabric bonded together without knitting or weaving, from the long fibers found in pineapple leaves.” – Ananas Anam

Piñatex™ begins in the Philippines with Filipino farmers extracting the fibers from the pineapple leaves. These fibers are then sent to Spain where they are transformed from fiber mesh into Piñatex™. Its finishing, research and continuing development are being undertaken in the UK and Spain.

 

  • Offset Warehouse

Offset Warehouse recognized the potential of bananas and now partners with an NGO in Nepal to ensure banana fabric production supports local artisan skills in India, Cambodia, Europe, and China and that workers are paid fairly in safe conditions. The fabric has a soft texture much like hemp and bamboo.

During my time in the fashion industry I discovered all of the awful atrocities that occur behind the scenes of manufacturing: from exploiting workers to dumping hazardous chemicals into our environment, I was totally shocked. I couldn’t believe that businesses would do anything they could for a bit of extra profit. I swore to solve the problem I was facing sourcing eco fabrics and Offset Warehouse was born.” – Charlie Ross, Founder & Director, Offset Warehouse

 

  • O Ecotextiles

    Seattle Based  O Ecotextiles was named one of BuildingGreen’s 2008 Top-10 Green Building Products. Hardy Organic Hemp, designed by Emily Todhunter,  is made of 100% long fiber hemp, sustainably harvested by independent farmers in Romania

O Ecotextiles wants to change the way textiles are made by proving that it’s possible to produce luxurious, sensuous fabrics in ways that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable.” – O Ecotextiles

O Ecotextiles works with people all around the world. It started with Romanian farmers who fielded hemp stalks to a Japanese mill owner who is committed to “green” processes and even developed new methods such as using ozone to bleach fabric. Their travels took them to a 100-year-old Italian mill that produces no wastewater, a Chilean mill that shifted to green processes entirely, and an Italian dye house that produces biodegradable, heavy-metal free textiles.   We at Purse for the People salute these innovators and the work they are doing to make our planet healthier.