The choice of materials has a major influence on the quality and lifespan of the garment, as well as on the impact on the environment. Which is why Unsalted chooses to exclusively use natural materials in 100% compositions.
Why natural fibres?
Before diving into natural fibres, we would like to mention that there are two main categories in textiles: natural fibres and man-made fibres. Natural fibres are made from vegetable fibres, like cotton and flax, or animal fibres, that come from sheep and silkworms. Man-made fibres are made through chemical synthesis and can be divided in two: cellulosic fibres and synthetic fibres. Cellulosic fibres are formed from the natural polymers of plants, while synthetic fibres are derived from petroleum products or fossil oils.
There are three main reasons why Unsalted decides to work exclusively with natural fibres. First of all, natural fibres, in contrast to synthetic fibres, does not contribute to the microplastic pollution of our oceans. Plastic microfibres from the washing of plastic-based textiles, such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon, have been identified as a major contributor to the plastic soup. According to a report from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, synthetic materials account for 35% of the microplastics in the oceans.
On top of that, natural fibres are renewable. Being produced by a living organism means that those fibres come from a source that will be replaced or regrown. Last but not least, natural fibres are biodegradable. They will decompose naturally in soil.
Why 100% compositions?
At Unsalted, we do not source mixed materials or blends for our garments. This is because blended fibres are difficult to recycle. The mix of different materials is almost impossible to be separated in the mechanical process of recycling. Therefore, recycling them will result in low-grade recycled yarns. (The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)
We will always prioritise recycled fibres over virgin materials, because it offers an opportunity to drastically reduce non-renewable resource inputs and the negative impacts of the industry. (The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017) However, not every product category is suitable (yet) for recycled yarns, due to shortening of the fibres in the shredding process and the desired fineness of the yarn. Although, we are very excited to announce that we are working on a t-shirt, made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled cotton. Stay tuned!