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11 Most Sustainable Fabrics in the UK: A Must-Read Guide

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Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion about sustainable fashion and the need to be more environmentally conscious when it comes to the clothes we wear. While there are many different ways to be more eco-friendly when dressing, one of the simplest things you can do is to start paying attention to the fabrics you buy. If you’re looking for options for sustainable fabrics in the UK, this guide is the perfect resource for you!

Most Popular Eco Fabrics

What Are Sustainable Fabrics?

Sustainable fabrics are those that have a lower environmental impact than traditional fabrics. This can be achieved in several ways, such as by using less water and energy in the manufacturing process, by using materials that are sourced sustainably, or by using recycled or upcycled materials. 

These textiles can help lower the amount of waste and water consumption during manufacturing, as well as help the soil regenerate faster.

Why Choose Eco Fabrics?

There are many benefits to choosing ecological fabrics. Some of the top reasons include:

  • Reduced environmental impact: By using sustainable materials, whether they’re recycled or sourced in an environmentally responsible way, you can lower your carbon footprint and help protect the environment.
  • Better working conditions: When manufacturers use sustainable textiles, they’re often sourced from small businesses or cooperatives that pay their workers a fair wage and provide good working conditions.
  • Supporting local economies: Buying eco-friendly fabrics often supports local economies, as sustainable materials are often sourced locally. This can help create jobs and boost the economy in developing countries.
  • Unique and stylish: Sustainable fabrics often have a unique look and feel, as they are often handmade or made from recycled materials. This means that you can find some truly unique and stylish clothing items made from eco-friendly fabrics.

Most Popular Eco-Friendly Fabrics to Buy in the UK

1. Linen

Linen is one of the oldest known textiles, and it has been popular for centuries. While linen is often produced through conventional methods that can be harmful to the environment, there are also some eco-friendly options available. 

Linen made from flax fibres is a very durable ethical fabric that can last for many years with proper care. It’s also very absorbent, so it’s great for keeping you cool in summer. 

Linen can be a bit wrinkly, so it’s often blended with other sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton to create a fabric that is both durable and stylish.

2. Wool

Wool is a sustainable fabric made from the hair of sheep, camel, yak, or alpaca. It’s one of the organic fabrics that are very durable and absorbent. It’s also biodegradable, compostable, insulating, and doesn’t shed plastic microfibers. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of animal abuse in the wool industry, so it’s vital to check for proper animal welfare certifications before buying any wool clothes.

3. Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is one of the most popular sustainable fabrics in the UK. This is because it combines a natural look and feel with a lower environmental impact than traditional cotton.

Organic cotton is made from organic fibres that are grown without harmful pesticides or fertilisers, which makes it particularly eco-friendly. It’s also processed without the use of harmful chemicals that could cause allergic reactions or serious health damage to people. However, it’s not without its flaws, even if it is more sustainable than conventional cotton.


ECONYL is a new sustainable fabric made from recycled nylon. It’s created by using post-consumer waste, such as fishing nets and other plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills or the ocean. This makes it a very eco-friendly and ethical fabric, as it reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills. 

It’s also a very durable fabric, so it’s a great option for clothing items that need to withstand a lot of wear and tear.

ECONYL fabrics are often blended with other sustainable materials such as organic cotton or hemp to create unique and stylish clothing.

5. Modal

Modal is a sustainable fabric made from beech tree fibres. It’s a very soft fabric that’s often used to make clothing items such as T-shirts, dresses, and nightwear.

Modal is an environmentally friendly fabric as it’s made from renewable resources and doesn’t require any pesticides or fertilisers to grow. Although the pulp is natural, the manufacturing process consists of chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, but less than the quantity used in rayon viscose.

6. Hemp

Because hemp is a subspecies of cannabis, it generally requires a special licence to be grown. However, it’s another sustainable fabric that has a lot of environmental benefits.

As one of the sturdiest natural textiles, hemp is remarkably long-lasting. It’s quick-growing and doesn’t need any pesticides or fertilisers, so the soil it’s raised on is less exhausted.

Hemp clothes are very absorbent, so they’re great for keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter.

Learn more about hemp clothing and what makes it sustainable.

Sustainable Fabrics in the UK - Sweater and Dried Flowers

7. Pinatex Leather

Pinatex is a leather-like fabric made from pineapple leaves that would otherwise be discarded. It’s a durable material with a unique look and feel. Widely popular in sustainable fashion, it can be used to make all sorts of clothing items, including jackets, handbags, wallets, and more. 

Pinatex is environmentally friendly as it’s a biodegradable fabric, unless in the cases when it’s been mixed with petroleum-based resin.

8. Cork

Cork is one of the most sustainable fabrics, made from the bark of cork oak trees. It’s a very durable and water-resistant material. It can be used to make all sorts of items, including handbags, wallets, shoes, and more.

Cork is environmentally friendly because the tree regrows its bark. During that process, it uses more carbon dioxide than other types of trees. This allows for cork plantations to act as a carbon sink.

9. Silk

Silk is another traditional fabric that has been used for centuries, but it can also be made using sustainable methods. 

The silk fibre is naturally derived from the cocoons of silkworms. This makes silk an eco-friendly material because it doesn’t require a lot of energy or chemicals to process into a fabric. It’s also durable and absorbent, making it a great choice for clothing items that need to be comfortable and stylish.

10. Reclaimed Fabrics

Reclaimed or recycled fabrics are any fabrics that would otherwise go to waste. This includes fabric scraps from factories, recycled clothing, and more.

Using reclaimed fabrics is a great way to reduce waste and create unique and stylish clothing items. It’s important to note that some of these fabrics may not be as durable as others, so they may not be suitable for all clothing items.

11. Recycled Polyester

Recycled polyester is made from recycled plastic bottles and other plastic waste. It’s a very versatile fabric that can be used to make all sorts of clothing items, including T-shirts, leggings, jackets, and more. 

Polyester is not biodegradable. There are also a lot of environmental impacts associated with making conventional polyester, including pollution from harmful chemicals used during processing. So, it’s important to choose recycled polyester over conventional polyester to help reduce the amount of plastic waste in our landfills and oceans.

Sustainable Fabrics in the UK - Fabric Rolls and Sewing Patterns

Where Can You Buy Items Made of Sustainable Fabrics?

As the popularity of eco-friendly materials grows, so does their availability, which makes it easier to break up with fast fashion. You can find clothes, shoes, handbags, and various accessories made of sustainable materials in specialised stores that are highly eco-conscious.

When it comes to places in the UK where you can buy sustainable fabrics, the list is long. Some of the most popular shops are:

As people become more aware of how bad for the environment fast fashion is, many companies are developing lines of clothes that are more eco-friendly. Now, you can buy organic cotton or organic hemp garments in the stores of some popular brands such as H&M or Zara. Just make sure to check for the proper certification for growing and producing those fabrics.

Thanks to online shopping and fast delivery, everything can also be purchased on the internet. Now that eco-clothes are accessible to everyone, we can all help protect our planet.

Final Thoughts

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue for both consumers and businesses. As the world becomes more conscious of the impact our actions have on the planet, people are looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional products and services. This is also true in the fashion industry, where a growing number of consumers want to know that the clothes they’re buying were made using sustainable practices. 

In this article, we took a look at some of the most popular sustainable fabrics in the UK. We hope that after reading this post, you’ll be inspired to start shopping for clothes made from sustainable materials!


What fabrics are sustainable?

Some examples of sustainable fabrics are organic cotton and hemp, as well as eco-friendly linen and wool. There are also sustainable materials that are made through newly developed technologies. Some great examples are recycled polyester and ECONYL, which is made from recycled nylon.

Is cotton environmentally friendly?

Cotton can be eco-friendly and sustainable if it’s grown and treated without the use of chemicals and pesticides. Organically grown cotton is better for the environment, as it saves water and the soil is not polluted after the harvest. Also, farming cotton without the use of harmful materials can reduce the crop’s carbon footprint.

What is meant by ‘sustainable fabric’?

Sustainable fabrics are those made of materials derived from sustainable and earth-friendly sources. Until recently, only organic materials such as cotton, hemp, wool, and linen were considered sustainable. As technology improved, new methods of producing eco-friendly fabrics were developed. Now, there are even fabrics made of pineapple leaves and old plastic bottles.

What is the most sustainable material for clothes?

All of the materials listed in this article are sustainable. They benefit the planet and the environment in different ways. Some prevent or minimise soil pollution and reduce water waste, such as organic cotton or hemp. Others use the already-produced trash, mostly plastic and nylon, to create something people would use again.

Which fabric is the most environmentally friendly?

Hemp is the most environmentally friendly fabric. It doesn’t require pesticides or fertilisers as it’s highly resistant. It has a higher yield than cotton while requiring less water. It regenerates the soil as it grows and it’s completely biodegradable. Last but not least, hemp fabric can be extremely durable, making it the first on the list of sustainable fabrics you can get in the UK.