In this article, I will talk about the most sustainable alternatives to wool. What do I mean by sustainable fabrics and materials?
SUSTAINABLE fabrics must be sustainably grown, harvested, and processed. In the ideal world, there would not be involved any:
- pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides,
- chemicals or toxic dyes,
- forced labor, children, modern slavery,
- sexual and physical abuse,
- animal abuse and torture.
Farmers and workers across the whole supply chain would receive fair and a living wage and work in fair and good working conditions.
Merino wool, cashmere, angora, alpaca, and mohair, are the most popular types of wool. Unfortunately, the mass production of wool brings important ethical considerations for the animals involved.
For example, when it comes to Merino wool, there is a controversy over the practice of mulesing the sheep which involves cutting skin from the buttock region without anesthetic.
When angora is mass-produced, the fur is plucked out of bunnies. It is a painful and distressing experience. A more ethical way is to collect the hair when it falls off the rabbit naturally.
The production of cashmere is not any better due to the rise of fast-fashion cashmere garments. Both animals (goats) and farmers pay the price so that we can buy affordable cashmere. And cashmere production also negatively impacts the environment in the respective countries.
What are the most sustainable alternatives to wool?
When it comes to wool, look for recycled or upcycled garments. For example, Swiss brand Tallis offers to upcycle your old cashmere sweater into a beanie.
If you buy wool at a second-hand store, it is more sustainable because you give a longer life to the clothes you buy.
If you want to buy a new wool garment, look for ethical standards and certifications: