Sustainable Fashion Roadmap: Low Energy Fibers

How can you design a garment with low energy fibers? What ARE low energy fibers??

At the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, we offer the Sustainable Fashion Roadmap Tool, an extensive online resource for exploring and integrating sustainable strategies to answer questions like this.

Fibers that require less fossil fuel energy in production are an environmentally and economically viable approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Inherently low energy in their cultivation and processing (ex: viscose, lyocell, hemp, or flax), recycled fibers eliminate the energy required to grow or manufacture virgin material. For example, recycled nylon or polyester uses up to 80% less energy than virgin material and organic and hand picked fibers generally have a smaller carbon footprint due to the lack of energy intensive machinery for pesticide distribution.

Related Story: Sustainable Fashion Roadmap: Anticipated Lifespan

As a designer considering low energy fibers as part of your design, have you considered:

  • Have you chosen the lowest energy impact variant of the fiber that fits your design and aesthetic? Is there a lower energy version of the fiber you are using?
  • Have you considered how the processing of the fiber adds to or diminishes the garment’s carbon footprint (consider things like dying, finishing, construction, and transportation)?
  • Can the fiber you are using be processed in a facility that is dependent on alternate energy such as solar or wind?
  • Is your fiber hand picked or does it rely on energy intensive heavy machinery for cultivation?

Learn more about creating a longer lifespan for your clothing through our Sustainable Fashion Roadmap tool here.

Currently, the SFR tool is available exclusively to our members. Become a member today to get access!