6 Sustainable Fabrics Every Fashion Startup Should Consider

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, sustainability is no longer just a trend—it's a necessity.

As consumers become more eco-conscious, fashion designers will benefit from designing garments made from sustainable fabrics that have one or more of the following properties.

Sustainable Fabric Characteristics

  • Low impact growing methods
  • Easy to recycle
  • Low impact processing methods whether that be through mechanical methods or closed-loop chemical processing.
  • Biodegradable natural fibers

Additional sustainable product development can be achieved by creating garments that are durable, achieve a second use or second life, and/or are easily recycled or upcycled.

Here are six sustainable fabrics that should be at the forefront of your next collection.

I've also included a marketing message that can help inspire you on how to talk about the benefits that your garment design choices.

Be bold about communicating the intentional decisions you have made in your apparel collection.

Sustainable fabrics can often run at premium prices which will be reflected in your consumer pricing. Do not shy away from these fabrics because of the cost, simply be transparent and clear in your communications on WHY these sustainable fabrics matter.

Organic Cotton Fabric for Knit and Woven Apparel Design

Organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

This reduces the environmental impact and promotes biodiversity and soil health. And, organic farming typically uses less water than conventional cotton farming.

Organic cotton has all the properties of conventional cotton, but better sustainability metrics. Organic cotton can be used for everything from knit t-shirts and bed linens to woven separates and dresses.

How to Source Wholesale Organic Cotton Fabric

Look for certified organic cotton through organizations like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Organic Content Standard (OCS).

Suppliers like Kendor Textiles and Eagle Fabrics are two companies that I work with who offer a variety of organic cotton fabrics at wholesale prices.

Crafted from 100% organic cotton, this garment is a testament to our commitment to the planet. Soft, durable, and eco-friendly, it's perfect for the conscious consumer who values quality and sustainability.

Woman in an aqua green linen shirt in a blog post about the 6 sustainable fabrics that every fashion designer should consider for their next fashion collection.

Linen Fabric for Sustainable and Durable Apparel Design

Linen is made from the flax plant, which requires fewer pesticides and fertilizers than other crops.

It also needs significantly less water, and the entire plant can be used, resulting in minimal waste. Linen is biodegradable and becomes stronger with every wash cycle.

When sourcing linen, look for linen fabrics from suppliers that ensure environmentally friendly processing and those that carry certifications such as Oeko-Tex.

Linen is perfect for summer wear, including dresses, shirts, and trousers. Its breathability and moisture-wicking properties make it ideal for warm weather clothing.

Source wholesale linen from my friends at BH Linen in Los Angeles, California.

Experience the timeless elegance of linen, a fabric that combines natural beauty with sustainability. Made from the flax plant, this garment is breathable, durable, and perfect for eco-conscious fashion lovers.

Tencel (branded Lyocell) Wholesale Fabric for Luxurious and Sustainable Apparel Design

 Tencel, a brand name for lyocell, is produced from sustainably sourced wood pulp, typically from eucalyptus, beech, or spruce trees. The production process is highly efficient, using a closed-loop system that recycles water and solvents. Look for suppliers who offer certified Tencel, such as Lenzing AG, the primary manufacturer of Tencel.

Tencel is known for its softness, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties, making it ideal for activewear, underwear, and casual wear.

Source wholesale lyocell from my Canadian friends at Kendor Textiles.

Embrace the luxurious softness of Tencel, a fabric made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. This garment is not only incredibly comfortable but also environmentally responsible, perfect for those who care about their wardrobe and the world.

Hemp Fabric for Apparel and Home Decor Design

Hemp is one of the most eco-friendly fibers available. It requires minimal water, grows quickly, and doesn't deplete the soil. Additionally, hemp plants naturally resist pests, eliminating the need for pesticides.

Ensure the hemp fabric is certified organic and sourced from reputable suppliers who follow sustainable practices.

Like linen, hemp is incredibly durable and gets softer with each wash, making it perfect for outerwear, workwear, and casual everyday pieces.

Source wholesale hemp from suppliers like Hemp Traders and EnviroTextiles.

Durable, sustainable, and incredibly comfortable—this hemp garment is designed for longevity and eco-friendliness. Choose hemp and make a positive impact on the planet with every wear.

Recycled Polyester Wholesale Fabric

Recycled polyester (rPET) is made from post-consumer plastic waste, such as PET bottles. By repurposing plastic waste, rPET reduces the demand for virgin petroleum and keeps plastic out of landfills and oceans.

Look for suppliers that offer certified recycled polyester, often indicated by certifications like GRS (Global Recycled Standard).

 One of my favorite wholesale resources for Repreve fabric and other recycled polyester is from my Pacific Northwest neighbor in Portland, OR, Pinecrest Fabrics.

Recycled polyester is perfect for sportswear, swimwear, and outdoor clothing because of its durability and moisture-wicking properties.

Made from recycled plastic bottles, this garment combines performance with eco-consciousness. Join us in reducing plastic waste and promoting a circular economy by choosing recycled polyester.

Bamboo Rayon Fabric

Bamboo grows rapidly without the need for pesticides or fertilizers, making it a highly renewable resource. Bamboo fabric can be produced through a mechanical process that’s more eco-friendly compared to chemical methods.

Seek out bamboo fabrics that are processed mechanically or those that carry certifications like Oeko-Tex or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

When designing for bamboo products consider its soft hand, breathability, and natural antibacterial properties. Bamboo rayon fabric makes wonderful intimates, sleepwear, and baby clothing.

Source wholesale bamboo fabrics from my friends at Bamboo Textiles who are now shipping directly from their Chinese factory, not out of Los Angeles. Also try GreenTex for wholesale bamboo rayon and a variety of organic and recycled materials.

Soft as silk and gentle on the skin, this bamboo garment is your eco-friendly choice for ultimate comfort. Naturally antibacterial and breathable, it's perfect for those who value both sustainability and luxury.

Incorporating these sustainable fabrics into your fashion collections not only helps protect the environment but also resonates with the growing number of consumers who prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions.

By choosing organic cotton, linen, Tencel, hemp, recycled polyester, and bamboo, you can create beautiful, high-quality garments that align with a greener future.

Emphasize the eco-friendly benefits in your marketing messages to connect with eco-conscious consumers who are eager to support brands that share their values.

Photo of woman holding a plant in a tan linen shirt and blue linen apron to showcase sustainable linen fabric and why fashion designers should consider sustainable fabrics in their product collections.


Today is a gift. Let's put a bow on it!
Find creative and sustainable ways to make family life a delight! Sharing modern etiquette that kids will enjoy.
💕 jennifer

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