Top 5 clothing materials to curb your carbon footprint



Consuming in fast fashion is - for many of us - unavoidable. It’s hard to deny the ever enticing sales at brands like Zara and H&M. Brands like these have become a staple for people in the Western world, and consequently we have (somewhat) unknowingly contributed to the greatest threat to our living environment - climate change. Many of you are probably wondering - how does buying a shirt in North America affect rising sea levels in South-East Asia - well, it does.

In America alone, textile waste contributes to about 5% of landfill waste - doesn’t seem like much right? Actually, that’s about 25 billion pounds of waste, 70 pounds per person/ year. On top of that only 15% of that waste is recycled, leaving around 21 billion pounds of textile waste left (85%) in landfills. So how do we fix the problem? A multitude of ways, but since most of us aren’t CEO’s of production companies or country presidents, our biggest contribution is being able to make conscious decisions in what we do in our day to day lives. Here’s a solid list of sustainable materials you can look for when making your next purchase, and the brands that are making it accessible.

Key points: 5 materials & brands working with sustainability

  • Bamboo/ Hemp (Influence for Impact)
  • Organic Cotton: no pesticides or chemicals (Influence for Impact) 
  • (PU) Vegan Leather (Matt & Nat)
  • Recycled Bottles (Influence for Impact, Boii, Adidas)
  • Peace Silk (Stella McCartney)


Often used in conjunction with one another, Bamboo and Hemp prove to be extremely sustainable as they are one of the few crops that do not negatively affect the land after production. They are 100% recyclable and use less water than conventional materials such as cotton.

Organic Cotton

Now popularized, the use of organic cotton is the preferred method for upincoming sustainable retailers as its the most common material used and proven to be less harmful on the environment due to farmers not using chemicals and pesticides. However this version of cotton is better, it still uses a significant amount of water - making it the least sustainable of the pack.

(PU) Vegan Leather

It’s PVC vs. PU for vegan leather. PU is less harmful on the environment - lab created leather made of part recycled materials. Popular vegan leather brand Matt and Nat are the emerging leaders in this space.

Recycled Bottles

This is probably one of the most impactful ways you can help in curbing the amount of waste on our land and ocean. By using recycled plastic bottles, we find new purpose for the biggest contributor to ocean pollution. boii (Canadian designer jackets) and adidas with the launch of their plastic shoe in collaboration with Parley, are doing a lot on this regard.

Peace Silk

Newer inventive way of creating silk that is both cruelty free and biodegradable. High Fashion designer brand Stella McCartney most noted for pushing this endeavour.

 + Words: Marcus Muñoz

Marcus is a Canadian public relations professional with an extensive background in sustainability through fashion, food, and media. He publicly advocates and writes on developing sustainable practices in the way we produce, consume, and waste food. Marcus also spends his professional writing career interviewing many of the world's top influencers in both the entertainment and political sector.