Materials are - not surprisingly - one of the crucial elements when it comes to the sustainability of a piece of fashion. At TWOTHIRDS, we constantly analyse the materials we use and search for better alternatives. Our aim is to reduce the environmental impact with every change we make in material composition and with every garment we introduce. One could say that we are on a journey towards a destination, whose exact composition is unknown at this time, but which has to be defined as ‘zero impact’.
Since we design clothing that serve several purposes, we also use a variety of materials.
Those materials all have their oddities, and in the end, we evaluate them concerning their emission of CO2 during production, their toxicity, their water use and their spatial requirements. You can see, for our perfect match we define No-Gos and Must-Haves.
If you now want to read more about the specific fibres we use and why, you can do so here.
Apart from the sustainability aspect, one of the most important factors is quality. Hence we source the best European fabrics mostly from Italy and Portugal, where midsized family businesses still produce quality that is built to last.
Well, it’s not big news anymore, that organic compounds have a smaller environmental impact than their conventional equivalents. In the case of cotton, especially toxic impacts on the soil during cultivation as well as artificial (meaning not rain-) water use are reduced when cultivating organically. Furthermore, the emission of greenhouse gases is less for organic cotton, due to prevention of fertiliser use - which, in the other hand, requires more know-how in cotton cultivation.
Consequently, we aim to eliminate the bad boy conventional cotton and use organic cotton instead – however our aim is to move away from cotton (organic or not) in general towards more sustainable fibers.
Hemp (currently no style with hemp)
Hemp is more environmentally friendly than conventional cotton, since its cultivation requires significantly less fertiliser and pesticide input, as well as less irrigation. Hemp grows relatively fast, and can be cultivated in moderate climate conditions with a relatively high yield.
We think, it’s time to get hemp out of its flower-power corner and into modern fashion, which is why we use it mostly in combination with cotton (to be able to achieve a softer hand feel).
Wool is a beautiful material that keeps us warm. However, there has been a lot of criticism in the sector, where especially the practice of mulesing – being especially prevalent in the merino wool sector in Australia and New Zealand – has been criticised by animal welfare organisations.
Mulesing is an extremely painful procedure for sheep, where skin – mostly without the application of painkillers – is carved away from the backside of the animals to prevent a bacterial disease. We are trying to source wool locally and in the case of Merino use only certified mulesing-free wool.
Linen / Flax
Linen and Hemp are very similar when it comes to cultivation of raw material. Furthermore, the production processes are comparable, making the two fabrics almost equal in their advantages compared to conventional cotton. However, linen is used more widely and is therefore more accepted. Additionally, it is also used purely and not primarily in blends (due to different fabric characteristics).
Linen is an ideal summer fabric – and will therefore be available in selected garments from summer ’17.
As with organic production, it is not great news anymore, that recycling can – besides simply saving the use of a non-renewable raw material (in this case crude oil)
– reduce adverse impacts on environment and humans. Recycling of Polyester is
, emits less
and pollutes less.
It is therefore the go-to-option for our blends and swimwear. However, polyester is mainly recycled from PET bottles.
In the future, we would also like to recycle already recycled Polyester, since this would increase the lifespan of the material even more.
What is a sustainable fabric worth without durable and sustainable components?
Hence we use high quality components that complement our products in a beautiful and conscious way:
Instead of using plastic buttons on our shirts, jackets and pants, we use Corozo Buttons, which are made of vegetable ivory. We do like the producers so much, because they do not only not cut trees for the raw materials, they also care about the social side of sustainability and try to support the local economy.
For our zippers we use a company called YKK, which is one of the best companies in this field. They produce only in Europe, and because they have the most modern, state-of-the-art production, they definitely nail it.
Raw Cotton Padding
Most jackets are field with a Polyester Padding, we use raw cotton, which is a non-treated organic material that is 100% biodegradable.
How To Avoid Leather
Cork Is The Alternative
And here’s why: 100 per cent natural, and made from a renewable source, cork is fully recyclable. It is durable, lasting for around 20 years without signs of deterioration, and is resilient to scratches. Cork is waterproof, fire-resistant and flame retardant. It is insulating, hypoallergenic, stain resistant and dirt repellent. It doesn’t fade and is not marked by water. Some companies are even making fabric that is machine washable – try doing that with leather.
Cork is harvested by removing the bark from cork oaks that are native to the Mediterranean region. The trees are unharmed by this process and can provide a ‘crop’ of cork every nine years for as many as 300 years. Cork oaks are said to retain 30 per cent more CO2 than other trees, so rather than adding to environmental woes like most materials, growing and harvesting cork is actually beneficial. The trees also protect the soil by reducing erosion and desertification, and in some ecosystems they are helping to provide habitat for endangered species. Unlike the chemical-heavy processing of leather, which causes excessive pollution and is incredible toxicity to the environment and to those unfortunate to work in the tanning industry, processing cork is chemical-free.