What’s your favourite piece of clothing in your closet? Whether it’s a cotton t-shirt or tailored blazer, you probably love the way it feels. That feeling? It’s all in the fabric. Curious to learn more about what fabrics make up your wardrobe? Here are the four main kinds hanging in your closet right now.
Known in the textile industry as “cellulose fibres,” these are fibres made from plant matter. Think cotton, linen (flax plant), rayon (wood pulp), bamboo and hemp. Plant fibres are often super soft, comfy and lightweight. They also act like sponges and absorb moisture easily. That’s why there’s nothing worse than hitting the gym in a thick cotton t-shirt – it soaks up sweat quickly but doesn’t dry for hours! Brands who love plant fabrics? Eberjey, Kotn, Tentree, and Alternative Apparel.
Animals have provided us with the materials to make clothes since we were hunters and gatherers. Besides leather, common animal or “protein” fibres are feathers and wools like cashmere. Clothes made from animal fibers are cozy and don’t wrinkle easily. Animal fibres can be difficult to clean, as the more they are worn, the more likely they are to pill or be attacked by moths (eek!). Silk is also in the protein fibre family. Delicate as it is strong, silk is luxurious and dyes easily, giving silk clothes a unique depth and richness. Common brands using protein fibres: Wilfred, Alice + Olivia, and Burberry.
Synthetic fabrics are made by humans through chemical synthesis. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and acrylic are made from petroleum products and often get a bad rap from the eco-friendly fashion community. Designed to withstand many wears and minimal care, they’re the preferred choice amongst fast fashion brands – hence the distaste amongst the eco-conscious. Synthetic fabrics are usually easy to clean because they repel stains. If you happen to spill red wine all over your favourite polyester suit, rest assured, it can be saved.
Just like your favourite wine, many of the most popular and notable fabrics are blends. Blended fabrics were created by manufacturers for better performance, to improve feel, and reduce costs. Among the many types of blends out there, the most popular are viscose and terry cotton. Blended fabrics certainly add a layer of complexity when it comes to the caring and cleaning process. It takes a skilled and experienced dry cleaner to understand how uniquely blended fabrics should be cleaned.
Expert tip – when it comes to cleaning delicate or investment pieces, leave it to the professionals.