Making clothes that look good, feel great and last for ages is all about the fabric, which is why we’re really selective with the materials we use. Ensuring they also have a low impact on the environment is a big deal to us, from how it’s made to what happens when it leaves our wardrobe. We grade materials based on their impact and prioritise the use of those that are either recycled or responsible and renewable. We are continuously trying to increase the amount these fibres are used in our collection, aiming to source 95% of these materials by 2025.
A great way to reduce our impact is to use fibres that are already in circulation, rather than creating new ones. Below is a list of the recycled fabrics we currently source. By choosing recycled options for these fabrics, it means we don’t need to extract more fossil fuels to create our fabric and can save energy, water and pollution during the manufacturing process. Win-win.
There are however some challenges to working with recycled fibres. The big one being that fibre lengths are shortened and therefore weakened, during the shredding part of the recycling process. Because of this we sometimes have to blend recycled fibres with other types of material to increase the durability of your garments.
Brass can be recycled time and time again without diminishing the composition. It’s for this reason and because of its durability that we’ve chosen it for the majority of our jewellery.
Cotton is loved for being smooth, comfortable, and versatile, as well as breathable. Recycled cotton can comprise of both pre- consumer cotton waste i.e. fabric or yarn remnants and post-consumer waste i.e. your old t-shirt.
Nylon is an extremely versatile fibre used by the fashion industry for its strength and durability in a wide range of products from tights to rain jackets. Recycled nylon is made by breaking down nylon products such as fishing nets and carpets, as well as waste that is produced in the initial processing of virgin nylon, to its individual chemical components and then recombining it into new sheets of nylon.
Polyester is versatile in its ability to add stretch and create form and structure. Recycled polyester is created by melting down existing plastic from products such as plastic bottles and scraps from previous polyester production, and then re-spinning it into new polyester fibre.
Wool is loved by many and we’re no different, it’s warm, it’s breathable and it can adapt to a designer’s vision for textured or smooth garments. Recycled wool is wool yarn which has been generated using the fibres of yarn waste, offcuts of wool garments and your old wool jumpers and garments.
Renewable materials are those that are sourced from nature, whether that be farm or forest. We love working with natural fibres as unlike virgin synthetic materials they don’t require the extraction of fossil fuels to make them, they don’t shed microplastics during their life and when they are disposed of they eventually biodegrade. However, not all renewable fibres are created equal when it comes to impact. A lot depends on how the fibre has been cultivated and processed. This is why we seek out natural materials like those below, which carry certifications or are developed within programmes which promote responsible farming and processing.
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a non-profit organisation working toward the improvement of cotton farming practices globally. Better Cotton is sourced via a system of mass balance. This means that Better Cotton can be mixed with other types of cotton on its journey to a final product and is not physically traceable. However, Better Cotton farmers benefit from the demand for Better Cotton in equivalent volumes to those we ‘source’. Click here to learn more about BCI.
Organic cotton is grown in agricultural systems that work with nature, rather than against it – using locally adapted natural seeds and natural methods of controlling pests and disease. By prioritising long-term resilience over short-term yields, organic practices can help contribute toward a sustainable future for everyone in this global supply chain.
In-conversion or transitional cotton comes from farms which are working toward organic certification. The process to becoming organic and certified can take years and is a big financial outlay for farmers, in-conversion cotton creates a financial incentive for them to make the transition whilst also increasing the volumes of organic cotton available globally.
Linen is a natural fibre made from flax. It’s durable but soft, and the more you wear it, the better it starts to look. Organic linen comes from flax which is farmed without the use of any that requires no harmful fertilisers and no chemicals are use during processing either. The process of making flax into yarn involves little waste, too – the rest of the plant has multiple uses, like making linseed oil. Waste not want not.
Leather gets better with age and that’s why we love it. But it’s important that it’s produced and processed responsibly. Tanneries and leather manufacturers certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG), have been audited against environmental, social and governance metrics. We are a member of the LWG and sourcing our leather from LWG certified sources so we can promote responsible leather production practices worldwide.
This innovative fabric is made from renewable and sustainably sourced wood, using a production process that meets high environmental standards. Putting that into numbers, it generates up to 50% lower emissions and uses 50% less water compared to regular viscose. It feels just as good as virgin viscose, too – light, soft and drapey, making it great for dresses and skirts. LENZING™ and ECOVERO™ are trademarks of Lenzing AG.
Lyocell fibres are made from wood pulp –, which is mostly sourced from eucalyptus trees. TENCEL™ is a trademark of Lenzing AG and their branded fibers are sourced from certified forests which have responsible cutting and replanting practices. Lyocell fabric is soft, versatile and 50% more absorbent than cotton.
Modal is also made from wood pulp, but this time it comes from beech trees. TENCEL™ is a trademark of Lenzing AG and the branded TENCEL™ Modal comes from certified forests which are operating responsibly. It has a light, silky soft feel, is absorbent and breathable, and is resistant to shrinkage and pilling, making it a great option for clothes that are put through their paces and washed repeatedly.
Wool is loved by many and we’re no different, it’s warm, it’s breathable and it can adapt to a designer’s vision for textured or smooth garments. The RWS is a certification for wool farmers and those involved in the production of wool to ensure its made responsibly. It verifies the welfare of sheep, as well as environmental care of the land they are grazed on against a set of responsible standards.
As you might have guessed from the animals themselves alpaca yarn is loved for being fluffy and soft, whilst also having the breathable properties of sheep wool. Much like RWS for sheep wool, RAS certification checks the animal welfare and farming practices of alpaca, ensuring alpaca wool is created to the highest standards.
An alternative to Alpaca, Mohair can give garments a fluffy, textured finish whilst also being a bit more absorbent of dyes giving us the bright knitwear we all sometimes need to get us through cold and grey days. As for RMS you guessed it, like RWS and RAS, this certification checks the animal welfare and farming practices of Angora goats.
Cashmere is made from the undercoat hair of specific breeds of goats, and is loved for its luxurious softness and warmth – it’s why we’ve used it since the very first days of Hush. We’re proud that our cashmere is fully traceable back to its source and produced in line with the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) standards, meaning we have a clear view that both the animals and people involved in creating it are treated fairly.
Similar to Organic cotton, Organic cashmere is sourced from farmers who are working with nature to ensure their land can be farmed sustainably for the long-term. No harmful chemicals or pesticides are used on the land which the goats producing the cashmere are reared on.
Ok so denim isn’t actually a material but we thought it was still worthy of a section here as we’re pretty proud of what we and our suppliers have done to make our denim more responsible. Our denim is often made of either organic or better cotton, sometimes with additional fibres such as Lyocell or Elastane added in for added comfort. Denim can have a high environmental impact because of the amount of water needed to process the material and achieve a washed look and feel. We make sure all our denim, from jackets to jeans, is finished with low-impact washing processes that use significantly less water, and all our products have achieved a ‘Low Impact’ score from Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) software by Jeanologia®.
Whilst we’re very committed to transitioning toward only using the materials above, we openly admit that we aren’t there yet, and we use conventional materials like elastane and acrylic. Sometimes this is due to sourcing availability of recycled or renewable and responsible options, whilst other times it may be that using purely recycled and renewable materials will compromise the overall performance of the garment, and frankly that’s an area we don’t want to compromise as it could shorten the life span of your favourite items.
It’s not just about the fabrics – how you look after your clothes is just as important when it comes to making them last and minimising their footprint.