Meet our Materials
For a brand to be sustainable, the choice of material is of crucial importance. After all, over 70% of the emissions come from the raw material production stage. At Alternative, we work with the most sustainable fabrics that are good for you and the planet. It’s fashion that feels good, inside and out.
Let’s take a tour of our fabrics.
Organic cotton is one of our most loved fabrics. It is grown without pesticides from seeds that have not been genetically modified and uses 90% less water than conventional cotton. Instead, farmers who grow organic cotton use natural methods to control pests and weeds, such as crop rotation, intercropping, and the use of beneficial insects.
- Organic cotton fabric uses less energy, less water and releases fewer greenhouse gases leading to a much lesser impact on the environment.
- Organic cotton garments are safer for us since they don’t contain the myriad of chemicals often found in conventional cotton garments.
- Organic cotton is a very strong and durable material, so your clothes will last longer.
- If you have bought fabrics in the past which have irritated your skin, organic cotton will be a better choice for you as it is hypoallergenic (meaning it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction) in nature.
Hemp fabric is made using fibres from the stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant. It grows well in regions with mild climates and high humidity and does not require any pesticides. Historically, hemp was used for ropes and sails on maritime vessels and is known as one of the most durable and strong natural fibres.
- Hemp is considered to be a carbon negative raw material, which means that it absorbs more carbon than it produces.
- Hemp fabric is not susceptible to shrinkage, and it is highly resistant to pilling.
- Hemp is a lightweight fabric, is highly breathable, and has high moisture wicking properties making it ideal for hot climates.
- Hemp fabric softens with each washing, and its fibres don't degrade even after dozens of washings.
Corn husk fabric is made from the fibres found in corn husks. Corn husks are the outer layer of the corn cob that are typically discarded as waste after the corn kernels have been removed. Corn husk fabric is a man made fabric made by fermenting plant sugar, but without any use of petrochemicals. Once the fibres are extracted from the husks, they are then spun into yarn that can be further woven or knit into fabric.
- Corn fabric is a perfect replacement for synthetic fabrics - it has the appearance, feel and benefits of natural fabrics and since it is made from corn waste, it doesn’t require the high resource and chemical consumption of synthetic fabrics.
- It has a natural, earthy look and feel, and is known for being durable and breathable.
- It provides good moisture management, is comfortable to wear, and has great drapability.
Ahimsa silk, also known as peace silk or Eri silk, refers to silk made without harming or killing silkworms. Commonly, silk cocoons are boiled with the worm inside, thus killing the silk worm. With Eri silk, the cocoons are open ended enabling the moth to emerge out without any harm and hence, it’s called ahimsa silk.
- Ahimsa silk’s intrinsic properties allows it to be cool in summer and warm in winters, making it a great all-weather fabric.
- It has one of the lowest carbon footprint for a fabric and is mostly produced in local community ecosystem in the north east region of India.
- The fabric has a cotton, matte-like finish, with a silky touch, and is durable and easy to maintain.
- Ahimsa silk is gentle on the skin, is hypoallergenic and does not cause irritation or itching. Plus, the more it is worn, the softer it gets.
While aloe vera is known for its medicinal properties and use in skin care products, did you know that aloe vera can be worn as clothing too? Recent innovations in the textile industry has led to the development of aloe vera fabric that is calm and soothing to the skin. The fabric is infused with aloe vera capsules that open to release the gel only when the fabric is touched or rubbed. Essentially, every time an infused garment is put on, aloe is applied to the skin.
- Like the plant, aloe vera fabric is very nourishing for the human skin.
- Aloe vera fabric is extremely breathable, allowing easy evaporation of sweat and repelling moisture and cold from outside.
- This fabric keeps you cool in summers and warm in winters.
- It has excellent antibacterial and anti-allergenic properties.
Eucalyptus silk fabric is a type of fabric made from fibres derived from the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees. The fabric is known for its smooth, silky texture just like actual silk–earning it the name “eucalyptus silk.” Eucalyptus trees are cut rather than uprooted, meaning that there is no need to continuously plant new trees. They also grow quickly, don’t need irrigation or pesticides, and can grow in relatively poor, dry, and rocky soil.
- Eucalyptus fabric is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
- It is soft, breathable and lightweight.
- The clothing created with is comfortable to wear especially, in super-hot climates.
- It is best for those who suffer from skin sensitivities as it is a powerful antimicrobial.
Since the time of India’s swadeshi movement, Khadi has been an integral part of our cultural heritage. Khadi, also known as khaddar, is made from cotton and is traditionally spun using a charkha. The yarn is then woven into cloth using a handloom, resulting in a textured fabric with a unique appearance.
- Khadi fabric is comfortable and skin-friendly as it does not irritate or stick to the skin.
- Khadi fabric is known for its durability, breathability, and versatility.
- Khadi is popular for its ability to keep the wearer cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather.
- Khadi fabric is made using natural fibres and is produced using traditional, sustainable methods that require minimal energy or machinery.
One person’s waste is another person’s treasure. That’s how orange fibre is made from its discarded peels - cellulose is extracted from the peels and then spun into yarn. The fabric looks and feels like silk - soft to touch and with a sheen in it’s appearance. To top it all, the material still contains essential oils and vitamin C that are present in the citrus fruit peel.
- Orange peel fabric is a great sustainable alternative to traditional textiles as it uses the waste material that would otherwise be discarded, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
- Orange fabric is soft, lightweight yet strong and can be draped easily.
- Because of the essential oils and vitamin C present, orange fabric is like a nourishing, wearable body cream.
- Orange fabric is 100% biodegradable.
Knows as the ‘vegetable cashmere’ because of its soft and luxurious texture, soya fabric is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics out there. The process involves extracting protein from soya bean hulls, thereby taking a waste product and turning it into a fine fabric with minimal processing. Fun fact: Henry Ford of Ford Motors fame is credited with inventing soy fabric, and he was known to wear soy garments as part of his efforts to popularize soybean production in the United States.
- Soy fabric is soft, lightweight and strong.
- It has excellent drape, is wrinkle-resistant and does not shrink.
- This eco-friendly fabric has excellent absorption qualities allowing perspiration to evaporate and making it cool and comfortable to wear during hot weather.
- Soy textiles are also anti-bacterial.
Lotus silk is produced using the fibres from lotus stem. The process of making lotus silk is extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming. It involves hand-harvesting the lotus plant's stem, separating the fibres from the plant's outer layers, and then hand-spinning the fibres into thread. The resulting thread is then woven or knitted into fabric.
- Lotus silk is known for its softness, lightness, and lustrous sheen.
- It is also highly breathable and moisture-wicking, making it a popular choice for clothing in hot and humid climates.
- The production of lotus silk is considered to be environmentally sustainable, as it does not require the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
- Lotus silk is wrinkle resistant.
Yes we drink milk but did you know you can wear milk as a fabric? Milk fabric is made from waste milk, by skimming it and then extracting the casein proteins found in milk and making it suitable for being spun into a yarn.
- Milk fabric has a high sheen and is very smooth in texture.
- It has excellent moisture wicking properties and is very breathable.
- Milk fabric is biodegradable.