As the summer scorch hits its peak, it’s easy to find ourselves relying on materials such as polyester and jersey to stay comfortable in the heat. Inevitable perspiration from the heat and the need to launder constantly also makes it tempting to stick to materials stereotypically considered low-maintenance. However, the extra mile spent in maintaining sustainable materials are definitely worth it in the long run, plus, sustainable textiles are as equally as capable of keeping us comfortable as materials used in fast fashion products.
Here are four materials you need to survive the heat:
Cotton has been a staple in everyone’s wardrobe since the beginning of well, maybe not history, but perhaps the Industrial Revolution. The British Industrial Revolution was actually driven precisely by the cotton production industry, with it being one of the very first industries to introduce steam power and labor saving technology. Although wool was formerly the most popular British textile in the 1700s, cotton quickly replaced its popularity through its versatility and cheaper production methods.
But what differentiates, say, your average cotton and organic cotton products? The biggest difference lies in the production of the cotton, even before it takes concrete shape as garments. Organic cotton, unlike “normal” cotton, is made without pesticides and fertilisers, which not only makes it safer for us to wear, but it also provides better working environments for the farmers and harvesters of the plant.
For example, a unique type of cotton we use is the Khadi cotton – a hand-spun, hand-woven natural fibre cloth used most commonly in the global south. Not only does khadi cotton sustainably create beautiful textiles when woven, it also has a beautiful history. During the years leading up to Indian independence, Mahatma Gandhi saw the material as a symbol of Indian textile heritage and independence. He believed that it served as concrete proof that self-reliance on Indian cotton was possible in a time where the socioeconomic structure was constantly being controlled and manipulated by the British colonial system.
Silk is often seen as a tricky summer material, as tightly knit silk often retains heat. It’s also known for requiring high maintenance, such as dry cleaning or hand washing. However, with a couple of tweaks, silk can be a summer closet staple – especially on occasions where cotton wear just don’t cut it (think: summer weddings). Take the Classic Wideleg and Sideswept Dhoti for example, two of our signature styles, in which the silk material helps with comfort and temperature control. There’s also no need to fear about being over or under-dressed with these pieces – their versatility allows for them to be worn at any occasion.
We’ve already covered the wonders of banana fibre when we first launched our Natural Dye tops, so just to recap – it’s the chemical composition of banana fibre that makes it a highly breathable and lightweight material. It has a naturally high water absorption, making the material cooling to the skin.
Banana fibre isn’t just environmentally sustainable. Selling banana fibre textiles also makes for an extra income for banana farmers, making it a socially sustainable material as well. Yarn extraction machines for banana fibre are simple to use and cheap to buy, which means they’re highly accessible to banana farmers. In fact, because it’s so easy to manipulate, banana fibre is now being used for a multitude of products other than textiles, from sustainable tea bags, sausage casings, and even banknotes.
Chambray is a plain weave fabric, known colloquially as denim’s softer and lighter (and more sustainable!) doppelgänger. Its biggest strength is that its plain, criss-cross weave allows it to absorb sweat like a sponge – unlike denim. Chambray is most commonly used as material for men’s shirts and light blazers, and we’ve also featured it heavily on our unisex pieces like the Easy Dhoti.
As climate change and subsequently hotter summers become a very real part of our lives, finding sustainable materials to keep cool and to survive the heat are becoming more important than ever. In an effort to further continue our sustainability efforts, we’ve decided to bring back some of our favourite designs in organic cotton. We see sustainability as a journey and it’s about the decisions we make everyday, as individuals and businesses, that come together to collectively affect greater change. We know that there is always room to grow, and we’re hoping that the addition of these styles in organic cotton will be another step in the right direction.
2 years ago, we introduced organic cotton to our key styles in our signature block-printed motifs, and now we’re growing the range. Take a look at the newest arrivals in organic cotton. Everything you love, but better.