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10 weirdest eco friendly fabrics used by the green fashion industry

stinging nettles fabric

Sustainability and eco-consciousness are the buzzwords of today, as everyone is trying their best to live a greener life. This is why every diligence is shifting to environmentally friendly processes and makes sustainable products. Fashion industry is no step back in that case as the designers make an effort to go green in every possible way. The very familiar eco-friendly fabrics that they use to make their trendy green clothes are organic cotton, hemp, bamboo etc. But now there are fabrics made of chicken feathers, used fishing nets, milk, cigarette butts and many other such weird materials. We have incorporated below, 10 such fashion fabrics which are more eco-friendly and more sustainable.

1. Chicken feather fabric

chicken feather fabric

Around five million tonnes of chicken feather gather in the waste stream every year. But scientists from U.S., Australia and Canada have found out a way in which these waste feathers could be transformed into fabrics resembling wool, linen or cotton. The keratin in chicken feathers can be transformed to sustainable fibres with a little aid of nano-particles. The fabric so produced will be light weight and bouncy. This invention of cloth material from farming cast offs would help limit the usage of synthetic fibres like polyester.

2. Barkcloth


UNESCO recognised the fabric known as barkcloth which is now the Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. “Barkcloth” as the name suggests is a fabric that is made out of the bark of the Mutaba (Ficus natalensis) trees in Uganda, Africa. Only the bark of the tree is stripped and then poked with a sharp tool. It is then cooked to form fibres. Barkcloth resembles leather in its durability but do not require a chemical-intensive tanning like leather.

3. Seacell


The healthy textile fiber called seacell comprises of natural cellulose-based Lyocell and the health promoting seaweed. The clothes made of seacell guarantees to enhance the overall health of the wearer as the skin absorbs nutrients from the seaweed contained in the fabric that is rich in minerals and vitamins.

4. Soy fabric

soy fabric

The cloth made from the by-products of tofu, soy oil and soymilk is soft, light and warm. The manufacturing process involves the extrusion of the proteins of the by products into fibre. It is then spun and used like other fibres. No chemical treatment is required for growing soybeans, which is used to make tofu, soy milk and soy oil. It is a renewable resource that produces a soft fabric which is also a natural antibacterial.

5. Banana fabric

Banana fabric

The fabric made from banana fiber was once widely used in making garments. It is again becoming popular in fashion industry and is being used by many designers for creating trendy clothes. The raw material to make this lustrous fabric comes from the stem which is left behind in the garden after harvesting banana. This shoot is processed to pliable fiber. The fabric so obtained after this laborious handlooming is shiny and lightweight that is suitable for making sarees and kimonos.

6. S.Cafe’s fabric

S.Cafe fabric

Taiwan based eco-fashion company, Singtex, has manufactured a yarn out of coffee grounds that might have ended up in landfills. The so called S.Cafe yarn can be knitted and woven in different styles to make various clothes. This fabric protects from UV, odour and moisture.

7. Cigarette butts fabric

Cigarette stubs fabric

Cigarette is proven to be cancerous but the cigarette stubs can be used to make a textile fabric. Alexandra Guerreromade of chile sterilized the discarded cigarette butts which were then shredded into wool like fabric. She then mixed it with wool and then spun into yarn, which can be then knit into a variety of garments.

8. Reused fish-net fabric

fishing net nylon

Manufacturing of nylon requires enough petroleum and the process contributes to green house gases as well. The fish nets are also made up of this material and the abandoned ones are thrown away into waste streams. This nylon can be re-used to create fashion clothing as done by Eco-Panda. The U.S. based company holding the exclusive rights to recycled nylon has debut the fashion stores with its eco-swimwear collection that implies the use of recycled nylon from fishnets.

9. Filo de latte

milk fabric

‘Filo de Latte’, which means thread of milk, is a textile fabric that resembles silk and is made from milk yarn. The basic process of manufacturing this yarn involves curdling of milk to separate the proteins, which are then concentrated into a thick and viscous solvent. It is then hardened to make out milk fibers. The milk fabric can be dyed in various colours and is luxuriously silky.

10. Stinging nettles

stinging nettles fabric

Stinging nettles were used to make eco-friendly fabric until cotton took over the textile industry. Stinging nettle weeds are fast growing plants and require absolutely no pesticides for its growth. The long fibers of nettles do not make use of the itch causing leaves but only the stems. The sustainable fabric thus developed does not prickle your skin.

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Author, Chartered Consultant, Personal Branding Expert & Global Trainer at DrPrem.com
Author of several life improving guide books – Dr Prem is an award winning strategic global leader, successful chartered consultant, personal branding expert and global trainer.  Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries to work with above 150 international organisations and to speak in global conferences. Dr Prem has published several guide books and numerous niche websites which have millions of reader across the globe.
Dr Prem Jagyasi
Dr Prem Jagyasi

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