THE FABRICS USED IN NIQUE COLLECTIONS
At NIQUE we are continuing on our sustainability journey and consider sustainability a ‘given’. We endeavour to create innovative fashion that isn’t wasteful or negatively impacting on people or our planet. We believe in looking after the planet for the future.
Our materials are a core component within our DNA, as we endeavour to use considered and sustainable fabrics within our collections. Our fabrics are carefully sourced and have a considered purpose. No fabric is perfect, however with education we can work towards making an informed purchase and investment.
By 2022, our aim is for 95% of our collections to be made from natural & sustainable fabrics.
When speaking about our materials, we like to consider non-toxic fibres sourced from organic matter and their biodegradability.
Biodegradation is the dissolution of materials by bacteria or other biological means. Biodegradation is an important part of our natural ecosystem, where something produced degrades back into basic building blocks to be produced again.
At Nique we are conscious of forming closed loop products, where at the end of a garment’s life, if the garment is not re-purposed or recycled, it can be broken down naturally through biodegradation. This is why we focus on using biodegradable, natural fibres including Cotton, Hemp, Linen, Silk and Wool.
“We incorporate the use of natural fibres into our designs, which are sourced from organic matter and naturally biodegrade at the end of the garments life.”
We endeavour to use organic cotton in our collections, which means that the cotton is free of synthetic pesticides and farmers must meet strict certifications and organic standards. Seeds are non- GMO and foster environmental sustainability and use of fewer resources such as water. The use of fewer pesticides also supports the health of cotton farmers, workers and communities.
“Organic Cotton is biodegradable and produced without use of fertilisers or pesticides, ensuring the health of cotton farmers, workers and communities and ecosystems.”
Cotton is a natural fibre that grows from the cotton plant. The cotton fibre is removed from the seed when picked. Cotton is a household name and is well known for being soft, absorbent and breathable, hence its popularity. Its versatility means it has a variety of uses, plus is durable, strong and resistant to pilling, which is why it is often associated with quality clothing.
Although conventional Cotton is a naturally occurring fibre, production generally requires a large amount of water and pesticides, however doesn’t require an intensive chemical process to be manufactured into fabric.
“Cotton is soft, absorbent and breathable, as well as being durable, biodegradable fibre which is resistant to pilling.”
Linen is a natural fabric derived from the fibres of the Flax plant, which is extremely versatile and resilient. Linen is a type of ‘bast fibre’ which means it’s a natural fibre derived from the stem of the flax plant. Flax can grow under poor soil conditions, has a high yield and uses far less water and pesticides compared to conventional cotton. Linen is incredibly strong, moth resistant and can withstand high temperatures. This means it is antibacterial naturally absorbs moisture making it naturally water-wicking and keeps you cool and well ventilated in warm weather. As linen is a natural fibre, it is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking roughly 1 month.
“Linen is a strong, biodegradable fibre, which is temperature regulating and antibacterial. The fibre originates from the Flax plant which is sustainable in production as it’s fast growing, has a high yield and uses minimal water.”
Hemp is a natural fabric derived from the fibres of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Hemp is a type of ‘bast fibre’ which means it’s a natural fibre derived from the stem of the sativa plant, which is densely growing.
Hemp really is a super fabric! Hemp farming requires no use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical treatments, takes very little water consumption, using 4x less than conventional cotton. Hemp has an incredibly high yield (produces 2x the amount of fibre yield per hectare than cotton), and even has the ability to detoxify soil by drawing toxins out of the soil whilst it grows! This means it returns 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil.
Hemp is incredibly strong and durable, and is known for being hypo-allergenic so it is great with people with sensitive skin. Fibre produced is very similar to linen in texture, and is often blended with natural fibres, like our Baer and Joben tees where we blend hemp with organic cotton. The fabric is breathable, lightweight and even offers UV protection. As hemp is a natural fibre, it is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking roughly 3 months.
“Hemp is a biodegradable, super fibre that requires no uses of pesticides during production, requires little water and has the ability to detoxify the soil whilst it grows. It’s strong, hypo-allergenic and even offers UV protection.”
Wool is a natural fibre derived from the hair of sheep, as they are shorn. Wool is a renewable resource, is biodegradable, breathable and a natural insulator. Wool has a unique ability to react to the wearer’s temperature change, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. Wool is a fantastic alternative to synthetic fabrics, as it is also beautiful and soft with a natural elasticity. As wool is a natural fibre, it is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking between 1 -5 years depending on the blend.
“Wool is a beautiful & soft fibre with a natural elasticity. It has the benefit of being a renewable resource, whilst being biodegradable, breathable and naturally insulating.”
Silk is spun from the long threads which make up the inner cocoon of a silkworm. Raw silk threads are harvested and then spun together for commercial use. Silkworms feed purely on mulberry leaves, the trees in which are pollution resistant and easy to cultivate. Although silkworm larvae are generally killed in the manufacturing process, they are often used as a snack within Asian countries. Silkworms have also become domesticated, meaning the moths cannot fly and rely on human assistance to mate.
Silk is incredibly soft, is the strongest of all natural fibres, is a temperature regulator and is hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin. As silk is a natural fibre, it is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost taking up to 4 years.
“Silk is incredibly soft and the most strong and durable of all natural fibres, also being hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin and biodegradable.”
Alpaca is a soft, warm, light and long-lasting material made from the hair of alpacas. It is durable, naturally hypoallergenic and is a hollow fibre, providing thermal insulation plus low flammability. It is water resistant, doesn’t stretch and is harvested with minimal damage to the llama and environment. Alpaca is softer than cashmere and 7x warmer and stronger than sheep's wool. Alpaca farming is incredibly sustainable, as Alpaca in Peru roam free, are well cared for and shorn once a year.
As Alpaca is a natural fibre, it is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking between 1 -5 years depending on the blend.
“Alpaca is a renewable resource, which is naturally hypoallergenic, insulating, breathable and doesn’t stretch. Alpaca is sustainable in production as it is harvested once a year, with Alpacas roaming free and being generally well cared for.”
Lyocell is produced using cellulose from fast-growing trees such as Eucalyptus Trees which are sustainably farmed. Fibre is created by using a biodegradable chemical made in a closed loop process as 99% of the chemical solution can be recycled and reused. The wood pulp is dissolved, dried and then spun. The manufacturing of lyocell requires less energy and water compared to conventional cotton, and the closed loop process is sustainable. Lyocell is known for being durable, easy to care for, super soft and breathable. Lyocell is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking roughly 12 months.
“Lyocell is a sustainable fabric, which is made from fast-growing Eucalyptus Trees which are sustainably farmed. Lyocell is made within a closed loop process, meaning 99% of the chemical solution can be recycled and reused again.”
Tencel: is the trademarked Lyocell fabric, produced by Lenzing AG which ensures it has been made within a certified closed loop system. Tencel requires less water and energy compared to the production of cotton, and sources wood pulp from sustainably managed Eucalyptus plantations. Tencel requires less dye than conventional cotton, is biodegradable and 99% of the solvent used in production is recycled to minimise waste. Lenzing also utilises renewable energy sources within their production. Tencel is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking roughly 12 months.
“Lenzing Tencel is a certified, closed loop fabric made from fast-growing Eucalyptus Trees which are sustainably farmed. 99% of the chemical solution in the production of Tencel can be recycled and reused again.”
Modal is a trademarked fabric produced by Lenzing AG, which ensures it’s been made in a certified closed loop system. Modal is made from Beech Trees which are grown using sustainable harvesting methods. Lenzing also utilises renewable energy sources within their production. Modal is strong, biodegradable and retains its shape well without shrinking. It has a soft texture, with Modal production using significantly less water in production compared to that of conventional cotton. It is silky-smooth and incredibly moisture absorbent which makes it ideal for the warmer months. Modal also has an impressive resistance to both shrinkage and pilling. Modal is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking roughly 12 months.
“Lenzing Modal is a certified, closed loop fabric made from Beech Trees, which is incredibly strong and retains its shape well without shrinking. Modal production uses significantly less water compared to conventional cotton and has an impressive resistance to both shrinkage and pilling.”
Cupro is the by-product of the industrial harvest of cotton, particularly the waste fibres which are too small to spin. These tiny fibres are taken from the production process and dissolved into a viscous solution and then spun into a fibre. Cupro is also known as a ‘vegan silk’ due to its silk-smooth handle and drape. Cupro is also produced in a closed loop system that is hypoallergenic, breathable and also stretch- resistant. Cupro is biodegradable and can be broken down in landfill or compost, taking roughly 12 months.
“Cupro is manufactured from the by-product of cotton, by taking the waste fibres which are too small to be spun. Cupro is produced in a closed loop system, is hypoallergenic, biodegradable and stretch resistant.”
Corozo is a 100% natural product which provides a similar consistency to a resin and is often referred to as a “vegetable ivory”. Corozo is made up of tightly wound organic fibres, which are biodegradable. At NIQUE, we use Corozo Buttons within our collections to eliminate waste and to reduce our use of plastic. Corozo buttons are extremely durable non-toxic, child-safe and both impact and scratch resistant.
“Corozo buttons are made from 100% natural materials and are biodegradable. This eliminates waste and reduces the use of plastic.”