Fab Fabrics

Hello and welcome to a new chapter in it’s elementary – the blog from Laurence Katz at elemental studio.

So far I’ve waxed lyrical about sustainability, talked excitedly about sourcing, enthused about upholstery and biophilic design – and explored the worlds of wood and rugs respectively. Now the focus for my next two blogs turns to fabrics.

As you’d guess, here at elemental studio we’re avowed enemies of fast fashion, but enthusiastic supporters of anyone who follows sustainable best practice. We love – and work with – fabric makers whose products conserve water, avoid polluting chemicals, source raw materials responsibly and harm no animals.

So which fabrics are top of the sustainability A List?

People love cotton. It’s a wonderful material, but the traditional version uses loads of chemicals and vast quantities of water. Even organic cotton is thirsty, so if you’re going to use cotton, the best option is to use the recycled variety.

Even better though is hemp. This wonder material has been popular throughout history for a reason: the more you wash it, the softer it becomes! Organic hemp requires very little water and no pesticides. It even fertilises the soil it grows in, making it a truly sustainable alternative.

What about linen? This derives from flax, a plant which keeps good company with hemp, in that it too requires minimal water and is pesticide-free when grown organically. It thrives in poor soil, giving a purpose to land that might otherwise have been left fallow. Every part of the plant is used and the fabric itself is light, strong and moth-resistant (making it my husband’s new best friend!). Linen is friendly to the planet too, being fully biodegradable (unless treated). It even withstands high temperatures and absorbs moisture without harbouring bacteria. Linen is simply wonderful!

So – at elemental studio we’re fans of hemp and linen, plus recycled cotton. But what’s on the other side of the equation – the unsustainable stuff to be avoided? I’ll cover that in my next blog, in a couple of weeks’ time …