Exploring Eco Textiles

Within the first project I explored the commercial  viability of a sustainable, locally produced, environmentally friendly, biodegradable set of lingerie. As part of my contextual research I explored the production, travel, use and disposal of various materials within textiles. I think what I found most disappointing was that some materials which are said to be more eco friendly may well be at one point during their life cycle but were destructive within the other points. For example, depending upon the way in which it is used, Bamboo fabrics can be environmentally harmful; within the growth of the fibre, the production of the fabric and in the laundering. This is not to say of course that bamboo is bad, in fact it is a fibre that has many valuable characteristics, but it also has some rather serious downsides, as did a number of the fibres i researched, some more detrimental and other more individual to the way I would like to engage with the world.

The harmful chemical and dyes, deforestation, use and mineral depletion of arable land, the fibres that “escape” in the domestic laundering process to be eaten digested and then passed by sea creatures (or consumed by humans, if those sea creature are eaten), the ethical treatment of either plants or animals, the disposal of fibres that either are man made or so chemically altered that they can no longer biodegrade into the environment without causing harm. These were just a few of the surface issues that I discovered when looking into this topic, I hope to spend my masters, and the coming years, becoming more knowledgeable about not only the issues but the solutions and alternatives to the harmful materials and methods which have been adopted. This masters is my first step, and my final major project will definitely be materiality focused as this is an area that I am fascinated by and would like to make difference within.

If you would like more information on any of the areas I have mentioned below are a few of the places I explored, I was particularly fascinated with Michael F. Ashby‘s Materials in relation to the environment and I find Lucy Siegle‘s books of the environmental impact of fashion and her articles on sustainability a really captivating read. So below are some other places to look at in a very condensed list:


  1. Eco-Fashion Is Becoming More Mainstream. (2013). http://visual.ly. [online] Available at: http://visual.ly/eco-fashion-becoming-more-mainstream [Accessed 15 Nov. 2015]. 
  2. Heinz, A. (n.d.). FAST FASHION INFOGRAPHIC. Moral Fibres. [online] Available at: http://moralfibres.co.uk/fast-fashion-infographic/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2015].
  3. How to Buy Eco-Friendly Lingerie. (2011). The Lingerie Addict. [online] Available at: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2011/04/my-underwear-is-green-how-to-buy-eco.html [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].


  1. Ashby, M. (2012). Materials and the environment: Eco Informed Material Choice. 2nd ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier.
  2. Baugh, G. (2011). The fashion designer’s textile directory. London: Thames & Hudson.
  3. Knight, G. (2013). Plastic pollution. 2nd ed. Chicago, Ill.: Heinemann Library.
  4. Mahall, K. (2003).Quality assessment of textiles. Berlin: Springer.
  5. Miller, D. (2010). Stuff. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  6. Minney, S., Watson, E., Siegel, L. and Firth, L. (2011). Naked fashion. Oxford, UK: New Internationalist.
  7. Pearse, G. (2012). Greenwash. Collingwood, Vic.: Black Inc.
  8. Peijnenburg, W. and Damborský, J. (1996).Biodegradability prediction. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  9. Schumaker, J. (2001). The age of insanity. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.
  10. Siegle, L. (2011). To die for. London: Fourth Estate. 


  1. Cotton – Environmental Disaster & Lethal Pesticides. (2007). [Documentary] USA: Environmental Justice Foundation. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlSQevNPBd4
  2. Organic Cotton. (2010). [Documentary] Walmart. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMKicBPVef4
  3. Pros & Cons of Common Fabrics | Fibres & Fabrics Part 1. (2015). [film] My Green Closet; Verena Erin. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QmTnHNb8ro

Journals and PDFs

  1. A Guide To Making The Most Of Your Clothes. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] London: Lewisham. Available at: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/textile-recycling/Documents/Love%20your%20clothes.pdf [Accessed 29 Nov. 2015].
  2. Fiber Selection: Understanding the impact of different fibers is the first step in designing environmentally responsible apparel. (2012). 1st ed. [ebook] Natural Resources Defense Council, p.3. Available at: http://www.nrdc.org/international/cleanbydesign/files/CBD-Fiber-Selection-FS.pdf [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].
  3. Kohli, S. (2013). Otago Management Graduate Review. 11th ed. [ebook] p.Offshore Outsourcing and Ethics: An Example of Apparel Manufacturing Industry of Bangladesh. Available at: http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/mgmt/research/omgr/kohli2.pdf [Accessed 3 Jan. 2016].


  1. co.uk, (2014). BBC – GCSE Bitesize: Materials. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/design/resistantmaterials/materialsmaterialsrev1.shtml [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].
  2. co.uk, (2014). BBC – GCSE Bitesize: Types of fibre. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/design/textiles/fibresrev1.shtml [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].
  3. Fiber Selection: Understanding the impact of different fibers is the first step in designing environmentally responsible apparel. (2012). 1st ed. [ebook] Natural Resources Defense Council, p.3. Available at: http://www.nrdc.org/international/cleanbydesign/files/CBD-Fiber-Selection-FS.pdf [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].
  4. INVISTA, (2015). BIO-BASED Technology by LYCRA® Brand. [online] Connect.lycra.com. Available at: http://connect.lycra.com/Technologies%20and%20Innovations/Fiber%20Technologies/BIO%20BASED [Accessed 8 Dec. 2015].
  5. com, (2015). kumi kookoon : makers of fine silk products. [online] Available at: https://www.kumikookoon.com/silk-facts.php [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].
  6. org.au, (2015). What is sustainability?. [online] Available at: http://www.landlearnnsw.org.au/sustainability/what-is-sustainability [Accessed 26 Oct. 2015].
  7. TreeHugger, (2008). New Silk Production Technique Does Not Require Killing Worms. [online] Available at: http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/new-silk-production-technique-does-not-require-killing-worms.html [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].
  8. com, (2015). Ecotextile News – the environmental magazine for the global textile industry supply chain. [online] Available at: https://www.ecotextile.com/ [Accessed 9 Nov. 2015].
  9. com, (2015). Ecotextile Labels. [online] Available at: http://www.ecotextilelabels.com/ [Accessed 9 Nov. 2015].
  10. Planet-textiles.com, (2015). Planet Textiles 2016: The Sustainable Textile Summit. [online] Available at: http://www.planet-textiles.com/ [Accessed 21 Dec. 2015].

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