OEcotextiles

Indulgent yet responsible fabrics

Let’s begin our review of chemicals used in textile processing with the one chemical that is used most often and in far greater quantity than any other: salt. That’s right. Common table salt, the kind you probably use every day. But in the quantities used by this industry it becomes a monster – we’ll get …

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In 1970, Toray Industries colleagues Dr. Toyohiko Hikota and Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto created the world’s first micro fiber as well as the process to combine those fibers with a polyurethane foam into a non-woven structure – which the company trademarked as Ultrasuede®. In April 2009,  Toray announced “a new  environmentally responsible line of products which …

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Optical brighteners

O Ecotextiles (and Two Sisters Ecotextiles)

I got a call awhile ago from Harmony Susalla, founder and chief designer for Harmony Art  (if you haven’t seen her glorious fabrics go right now to http://www.harmonyart.com).  She was wondering about optical brighteners, and I discovered I couldn’t tell her much except to say that some are derived from benzene, which is a chemical …

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Wool

O Ecotextiles (and Two Sisters Ecotextiles)

When we talk about wool, we almost always mean the fiber from sheep, although the term “wool” can be applied to the hair of other mammals including cashmere and mohair from goats, vicuna, alpaca and camel from animals in the camel family and angora from rabbits. As with many discoveries of early man, anthropologists believe …

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Here we are in  the 21st century, with its acute global issues of over-population, loss of natural habitat, carbon emissions and pollution of all kinds — in a nutshell the specter of diminishing resources and climate change.   What’s a good architect to do?  Some are saying that fabric structures – that ancient way of providing …

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Greenwashing and textiles

O Ecotextiles (and Two Sisters Ecotextiles)

I have been saying for years that fabric is the forgotten product.  People just don’t seem to care about what their fabric choices do to them or to the environment.  (Quick, what fiber is your shirt/blouse made of?  What kinds of fibers do you sleep on?)   They are too busy to do research, or they’re …

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What does it take to change human behavior? We have known that lead is poisonous ever since the Romans began sprinkling it on their food as a sweetener.   Lead was used so extensively in Rome (for metal pots, wine urns, water pipes and plates)  that some Romans began to suspect a connection between the metal …

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Bamboo and the FTC

O Ecotextiles (and Two Sisters Ecotextiles)

“Bamboo” fabric has taken the world by storm – people love its luxurious softness, smooth hand and gentle drape,  and they also seem to love its eco credentials (as touted by those selling the fabric). It’s easy to tout bamboo (the plant) as eco friendly, because it is a wonderfully beneficial plant and just might …

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Elephants Among Us

O Ecotextiles (and Two Sisters Ecotextiles)

  Although most of the current focus on lightening our carbon footprint revolves around transportation and heating issues, the modest little fabric all around you turns out to be from an industry with a gigantic carbon footprint. The textile industry, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions …

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The mass of  debris in the photo is, apparently, a tiny part of what the Wall Street Journal reports is afloat in the Pacific.   Nobody really knows how big it is:   “Some say it is about the size of Quebec, or 600,000 square miles — also described as twice the size of Texas. Others …

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