what is sustainable active wear?
Activewear is clothing, shoes, and accessories that people wear when they exercise or play a sport. Activewear is considered sustainable if they are made, marketed, and used in the most sustainable approach possible, including both environmental and socio-economic aspects.
In practice, this involves the use, reuse, repair, remake, and recycling of the product and its components to improve all phases of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing, and final consumption.
What is the need for sustainable activewear?
- To make your workout session comfortable, dry, wrinkle-free, long-lasting, and breathable activewear is created with special types of materials such a Polyester.Nylon Polypropylene It is a cloth made out of plastic fibers making it light-weight, wrinkle-free, long-lasting, and breathable. It is non-absorbent in nature, which means that your sweat is not absorbed by this cloth but left to dry on its own which sheds microplastics when washed and they also can’t be recycled when you’re done with them. This is a problem that is widely hidden and therefore unconsidered by the consumer when purchasing new clothing is the Disposal of sportswear and accessories. Items that are thrown away or are returned to an online retailer often end up in landfills, releasing toxic chemicals during the long decomposing process.
- Even more shockingly, up to 90 percent of charity shop donations are sent to developing countries where most items go unwanted and, due to their cheap price, create unbeatable competition for the local or ethical garment makers.
By switching towards sustainably and ethically made clothing, consumers have the power to make a difference and a simple solution for the damage caused by the disposable fashion industry. Opt for sustainable activewear that is meant to last, and upcycling the clothes that we already own, we can prolong the lifespan of clothing, preventing it from becoming waste. Consumers must recognize fashion decisions, not as an insignificant part of our modern lifestyles that change with every season, but as an environmental and human responsibility that could greatly affect the future of our planet.
Factors to be considered before purchasing Sustainable Activewear:
Sustainable activewear is about more than just making products more friendly to the earth, it’s also about social welfare, labor, and inclusivity. There are many things to take into consideration when purchasing activewear, including the price, material, and the environmental impact of the clothing. If you’re looking to be more sustainable while you enjoy your sport or a good workout session. Here’s what you should consider when buying sustainable activewear.
Manufacturing and Working Conditions
Nylon fabrics, often used in activewear for their breathable, sweat-wicking qualities but due to their microplastic impact on the environment, aren’t considered very sustainable. The best choice for sustainable activewear is natural fabrics.
|Material||Quality||Material type||Impact on the Environment|
|Insulator as well as a water resistor
|Wool||Breathable, odorless option.||Natural fiber||Biodegradable|
|Nylon||Dry quickly, Nylon also has a good stretch and recovery capacity.||Synthetic fabric||Non-Biodegradable|
|Polyester||Wrinkle-free, long-lasting, breathable||Plastic-based fibers||Non-Biodegradable|
|Gore-Tex||Waterproof, a good for windcheaters.||Synthetic material||Non-Biodegradable|
|Bamboo Fiber||Protection from UV rays, odorless sportswear.||Natural materials plant-based fiber||Biodegradable|
|Spandex||High stretchability which makes the clothes agile and comfortable for movements.||A synthetic fiber made up from polymer of polyurethane||Non-Biodegradable|
|Microfiber||Quick-drying, durable||A synthetic fiber made from polyester||Non-Biodegradable|
|Calico||It is an unprocessed version of cotton that is equally soft.||Subtype of cotton||Biodegradable|
Look for products that are made from organic cotton; lyocell, a material produced from the cellulose in wood, cotton scraps, and other plant-based materials; or TENCEL, a branded type of lyocell produced from sustainably sourced wood pulp, Calico or bamboo fiber.
- Compared to plastic-based fabrics, plant-based materials have less of an impact at the manufacturing stage: The production solvents used to extract and treat the natural fiber are non-toxic, the closed-loop production process ensures any water used is recycled, and more than 99 percent of solvents are reused to minimize waste.
- These plant-based fabrics are made with high resource efficiency and low environmental impact. Although garments made from these sustainable materials often have some spandex incorporated into them, they’re still a more eco-friendly option to manufacture than polyester- or nylon-spandex blends.
- Organic cotton and lyocell are both natural, biodegradable sources that will break down in 11 to 27 weeks, compared to the 20 to 200 years it can take to degrade a polyester shirt
- What’s more, lyocell-based materials offer the same high-performance qualities as their plastic counterparts. This balance between sustainability and durability is what drove the outdoor gear company. The fiber is really close to polyester in structure, so it’s super durable. The name TENCEL tends for Tenacity and Cellulose combined, and because it’s a natural fiber, it has anti-microbial benefits along with a smooth finish.
- As for green materials that are shaking up the activewear industry, wool, which is naturally antibacterial and can be washed less than polyester and other materials. Breathable, moisture-wicking, and highly durable, wool fibers can be found in knit bike shorts, sports bras, and leggings; hoodies and tees, and Icebreaker year-round leggings. while recycled ocean plastics are also having a moment, with fabrics such as Econyl, a branded type of recycled nylon, leading the charge; Econyl’s production company rescues fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic, restores the nylon to its original state, and turns it into a fabric that can ultimately be recycled again when the customer is done with the garment. You can find the material in metallic sports bras, bike shorts, and leggings; yoga and hiking wear; and a pair of Free People leggings and a crop top.
- Consumers can’t give up spandex entirely, especially because the sustainable alternatives on the market are more expensive. Plus, some of the materials used to create these innovative, eco-friendly fabrics still come with a few environmental-, time-, and labor-related drawbacks: Cotton doesn’t absorb dyes well and must be treated with chemicals in the dyeing process, and wool must be treated to remove dirt and pests before use,
- This is where the advocacy component of sustainability—like calling out textile companies and activewear brands for the need to innovate and improve the existing eco-friendly options available, or doing something as simple as asking a brand about its materials—becomes important. “Even if you don’t get an answer, they will likely see the question and know that their customers are interested and paying attention, and that spurs more change. And when major brands make these changes, the cost of doing so can decrease, ultimately making sustainable materials and practices more accessible to more manufacturers.
- If you simply can’t do without a nylon workout tank in the meantime, look for activewear made from recycled fabric. The conversation surrounding recycled polyester (think plastic bottles) is divisive, as recycled materials tend to shed more microfibers than virgin materials, but as long as people are using these goods, it’s still better than using more resources to make new polyester. Plus, you can reduce the product’s environmental impact during its wash-and-wear phase. To minimize microfiber shedding and microplastic pollution.
Manufacturing and Working Conditions
This element is rooted in the social welfare component of sustainability. Due to cost and time pressures, garment workers can often suffer from poor working conditions with long hours, low pay, and dangerous environments with unsafe buildings, hazardous processes, or a lack of safety equipment. While these dismal conditions can be found in most countries, they’re more common in those with developing economies in order to keep costs low and production levels high.
Though the manufacturing component of the supply chain can be murky, it’s generally easier to track the production practices and working conditions if the clothing is made in your local area, region, or country,
If you aren’t wearing activewear made locally, your next best bet is to look for brands that are certified Fair Trade, a marker of quality working standards among a company’s workforce. To be a certified garment by Fair Trade which accredits products from different countries to be sold in a specific country. factories in the apparel industry must commit to upholding internationally-recognized labor standards and providing greater benefits to workers, along with maintaining conditions of employment that are in line with sector regulations and establishing health and safety measures to avoid work-related injuries.
Another benefit? Certified factories must be making efforts to protect and restore the environment and continuously work toward cleaner (aka less wasteful) production.
Simply put, “dyes are one of the biggest issues when it comes to the environmental crisis in fashion, In fact, 20 percent of industrial water pollution globally is attributable to the dying and treatment of textiles.
Natural dyes are rarely used with activewear because they can change in sunlight and with frequent washing, so it’s best to shop for fabrics that are made with waterless dyeing techniques. Although they can only be used with synthetic materials like polyester, these methods still reduce water and energy usage. It’s usually up to the company to tell consumers if they use this method, which Adidas and Nike have both done by sharing their practices on their websites, but more often than not, they’ll do so to explain the higher price tag.
If you’re ever unsure of a brand’s environmental impact, look for established certifications with websites (a sign of legitimacy,) also the Global Organic Textile Standard, known as the fashion equivalent of the USDA organic certification, and the Global Recycle Standard, a standard for tracking and verifying the content of recycled materials in a final product. And if you’re struggling to figure out an activewear brand’s overall level of sustainability, Fay and St. James both suggest turning to Good on You, an app and website that has an ethical brand rating system considering the environment, labor, and animal welfare. (You’ll love the all-natural fabrics in this fitness gear.)
Tips while shopping ‘sustainable Activewear’
- Become a more aware consumer when it comes to shopping. Educate yourself with the brands and locally made sustainable Activewear products. Look out for the raw materials used and processes that go into the manufacturing of a particular product that you wish to purchase.
- One thing that you can keep in mind is quality along with the long life of the products. With a little research, you can definitely find brands that sell designs in variety to go with the aspect of sustainability; you won’t have to compromise on your style or fashion. Follow the ‘green’ trends in clothing to get more familiar with it.
- Since you’re already reading this article, it would be thoughtful if you are choosing to restyle your wardrobe. Consider swapping your clothes one-by-one with sustainable garments.
- When your clothes get a tear or reach its end of life, there is always an option to get it repaired and reuse it by making it into something else. Many people take interest in creative DIYs of reusing old clothes for multiple purposes.
- There may be many locals who are into businesses of local traditionally-made clothing; they might be designing and making it themselves, or using organic raw materials in their manufacturing processes. Check them out for ethnic wear.