Organic? Sustainable? And What’s the Deal With Bamboo?


Whether you’re a fashionista or just a college student trying to make ends meet, you may have heard of the latest trends in fabric production in order to make clothes “greener” or “sustainable”. You may have wondered how clothes made of bamboo or hemp fibers stack up when compared to your favorite t-shirt, or what it means when clothing is labeled “organic”. And what about that whole “Haute Trash” thing?

Many textile manufactures are experimenting by creating fabric out of bamboo, hemp, or even soybeans. These fabrics are soft and come in styles that don’t always make you look like a hippie. But some of them (bamboo in particular) aren’t always easy care, and the plant fibers may have to be processed with harsh chemicals before they can be spun into yarn. To lessen the environmental impact of such chemicals, an “organic cotton” movement, similar to that for food, has led to clothing grown without harsh pesticides, but the lower crop yield also makes for a higher price for consumers. And whatever plant is being grown, these crops often use up valuable resources in countries where they could be put to better use.

Some people have decided that the best way to make clothing is to cut out the fabric altogether. The “Haute Trash” movement brought forth a fantastic array of clothing made out of used items, from shirts made from parachutes to dresses cut from phone books. But though these clothes are fun to wear and show an amazing play of creativity, they aren’t always something you can wash…or even wear to a party.

Then there’s SustainU’s tees. Our clothes are made of pop bottles, but we didn’t have to cut them to fit. Instead we combine them with used cottons and polyesters to make a recycled gameday shirt, a screen-printed tee for your college group, or just a soft, comfortable tee you can pull over your head and run errands in. We look like a normal tee that you’d buy off the rack at your local mall, but with a little more style.