In recent years I’ve noticed there are more fabrics available that are ethically made, eg. Fair Trade, organic or produced in an environmentally sustainable way. Many major retailers now stock organic ranges of clothing, for example Marks and Spencers stock mens’ suits made from pure organic Yorkshire wool, or there are companies like People Tree whose entire range is made with ‘respect to the planet’.
This trend doesn’t only apply to shop bought clothing though, if you want to sew some for yourself there are now many different designs of organic fabric available to buy from places like The Village Haberdashery, which currently has over 100 listed. These aren’t restricted to just plain woven quilting-weight cotton, but also include flannels, knits, canvas and lawns, many printed with wonderful designs. The inclusion of heavier-weight fabrics such as canvas means that they can also be used for furnishings as well. Most of these fabrics are very contemporary, produced by designers and companies that are currently very fashionable like Cloud9 or Orla Kiely.
Another trend at the moment is for knitting as noted in the media, websites such as We Are Knitters sell wool that is ethically produced alongside cotton yarns made from recycled off-cuts from the garment industry, which brings together a very old and traditional technique with modern fibers and colours.
I love both the bright bold fabrics, which wash and wear brilliantly because they are produced to a higher standard than cheaper cloth, and the recycled yarns which enable you to make something new from fibers that would otherwise be thrown away.