Eco-friendly fabrics: an essential guide

Make an informed choice and update your home in a responsible way, with fabrics that are both sustainable and stylish

eco friendly fabrics
Photographer: Oli Douglas Styling: Despina Curtis for Ultra Fabrics

The environmental impact of fast fashion is well documented, but what about textile waste in the interiors industry? Here, we celebrate the interiors brands who have invested in innovative production techniques for the good of the environment. Want to learn more about what sustainable design means now? We have the answers. Whether you want to learn more about the rise of natural fabric dyes or simply pick up some eco-friendly furniture with our edit of the 29 best new sustainable buys. But first, it’s time to tackle your next decorating project armed with our informative edit of eco fabrics, which proves you can make a responsible choice without skimping on quality or style…

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1 ‘Monotypes’, Kinnasand
eco sustainable fabrics
Kinnasand

Kinnasand’s ‘Monotypes’ collection features textiles made from wool, hemp, lyocell and recycled polyester, so they can be continually recycled. As creative director Isa Glink explains: ‘For each product, we focused on reducing the impact related to the choice of fibres by reducing waste, dyes or water.’ The company can trace the origins of each fabric, with its wool sourced from farmers who use a mulesing-free technique (a kinder way to remove wool) and polyester constructed from yarn made from recycled bottles. Future plans include moving away from using blends of natural and man-made fibres and to continue to work with renewable sources. More drastically, Kinnasand have reduced new product launches by half. There is also an ongoing experiment to find a second life for discontinued samples, including donating to schools. From £85 per metre, kinnasand.dk

2 ‘Heritage’, Sunbrella
eco sustainable fabrics
Sunbrella

This extremely versatile fabric can be used for upholstery, curtains and cushions both indoors and out. It's made from ‘Renaissance’ yarn, which contains 50 per cent recycled Sunbrella fibre and virgin fibre – the latter is added to ensure it is suitable for outside use. The fabric is then dyed en masse to save water. Moreover, through its ‘Recycle my Sunbrella’ campaign, the company has prevented textiles ending up in landfill by asking its customers to return them, and is a sponsor of Sea Cleaners, which removes rubbish from the ocean. From £65 per metre, sunbrella.com

3 ‘Lisbon’, Designers Guild
eco sustainable fabrics guide
Designers Guild

Winner of 2020's ELLE Decoration British Design Award for fabric, ‘Lisbon’ is made using textile waste from the fashion industry. In fact, the firm has been leading the vanguard for responsible textiles for a while now. Not only that, but its water-based paints are made using virtually no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), single-use plastic has been removed from its offices and stores, and it has introduced a fleet of electric vehicles. Every month the company also donates to the World Land Trust’s ‘Buy an Acre’ programme to protect habitat for wildlife around the world. £47 per metre, designersguild.com

4 ‘Ocean’, Osborne & Little
eco sustainable fabrics
Osborne and Little

A plain woven fabric with a soft finish that is suitable for both curtains and upholstery, ‘Ocean’ is constructed from filament yarn generated from recycled plastic bottles. It’s available in 33 colours –from cool neutrals to blues, greens and pretty pinks – and ten per cent of profits from the sale of the fabric goes to the One Ocean Foundation to help protect our seas. £55 per metre, osborneandlittle.com

5 ‘Pure’, De Le Cuona
eco sustainable fabrics
de le Cuona

One of the most impressive environmentally responsible fabric collections, Bernie de Le Cuona’s ‘Pure’ is made from organic linen. As founder of the eponymous fabric brand, she was shocked to discover that only one per cent of linen produced is organic. There are only a couple of mills in Europe that are certified to GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard), which ensures the organic status of textiles, so she made the bold decision to buy the crop of several farms in Flanders to ensure the purity of the product. The product hasn’t skimped on luxury – the six fabrics in her signature, usable neutral palette have the most beautiful quality. A second ‘Pure 2’ range is already in the pipeline. From £144 per metre, delecuona.com

6 ‘Volar Bio’, Ultrafabrics
eco sustainable fabrics
Photographer: Oli Douglas Styling: Despina Curtis for Ultra Fabrics

Pioneering animal product-free fabric brand Ultrafabrics has added six new colours inspired by the Earth's surface to its ‘Volar Bio’ range. Constructed purely from bio-based materials, the collection won the 2020 Innovation prize at the PETA Vegan Homeware Awards. A great alternative to regular leather, it’s robust, highly textured and has an attractive matt finish. From £53.94 per metre, ultrafabricsinc.com

7 ‘Natural’ by Be Inthavong, Fameed Khalique
eco sustainable fabrics
Fameed Khalique

A perennial vine indigenous to northern Laos provides the raw material for the ‘Natural Fabric’ collection. Growing naturally in abundance, the vine requires no agricultural input or pesticides, so is a sustainable and eco-friendly crop. The company works in association with a local foundation to help preserve the land the vine grows on and the people who harvest it. The fabric is handwoven in a nearby village to provide employment to the local community. No dyes are added to the fabrics – it is the natural variations found in the vines that provide contrast. It’s only when the threads are woven with other fibres that you get a more colourful option. From £360 per metre, fameedkhalique.com

8 ‘Leaf’, Kirkby Design
eco sustainable fabrics
Kirkby Design

Off-cuts from the fashion industry and recycled knits from the public have been used to produce ‘Leaf’, a 100 per cent recycled wool fabric by Kirkby Design. The discarded rags are sorted into colour groups, then shredded and spun into new fibres, producing a collection of 46 hues. This March, the brand is launching ‘Flow’, a fabric with yarn generated from recycled bottles. ‘Leaf’ from £63 per metre, kirkbydesign.com

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