Last month, we set about creating the greenest t-shirt in the world. In the process, we looked ate everything from design to fibres to dyeing. So what did it take to make the greenest t-shirt in the world?
Before we answer that question, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. The greenest t-shirt in the world is the one you’re wearing right now. So if you want to be hyper green, don’t buy a new one. Use what you have, or if you must, get it second hand. But, let’s put jumbo aside for a moment and think of creating a brand new t-shirt from scratch.
Here’s what it takes:
Phase 1: Designing the greenest t-shirt
Design with longevity in mind. Create clothing that is remains both physically new (durability, resilient, brightness) and emotionally relevant (comfortable, attractive, flattering). The key is having the right focus with sustainable fiber choices and incorporating solutions such as a vertically integrated manufacturing facility.
Phase 2: Select the right fibers
Choose sustainable fibers. This includes organic cotton, Tencel™ Lyocell, and recycled polyester, to name a few. Each of these reduce the emissions and water usage by significant percentages. The verdict? Organic cotton seems to be the best bet. But that’s just us. Judge for yourself here.
Phase 3: Dyeing the greenest t-shirt
Want to add some colour into your wardrobes? Go au naturel with naturally coloured organic cotton and try low impact (fiber reactive) and natural dyes. The key is to avoid dark colours, reuse the dye-baths as much as possible, and make sure the location of the dye house is not degrading to its natural surroundings.
Phase 4: Zero waste t-shirt
Waste is everywhere. Around 37% of the fibre is lost throughout the production process when creating an average t-shirt. What can we do? Design for zero-waste and use minimal construction techniques for higher efficiency and less waste. If possible, reuse scraps for other items such as jewelry or headbands. The exciting part of this is that most unmixed textiles are 100% recyclable and our current clothing items have the potential to meet our needs multiple times over.
Phase 5: Green energy
An average cotton t-shirt requires the same amount of energy it takes to power an LED bulb for 50 days straight. Yikes! Solutions? Ensure the facilities are working on greener grids, use renewable energy, and try to vertically integrate your supply chain.
Phase 6: Transport technique
How do your clothes magically end up on your front porch after a night of online shopping? It’s not magic. The types of transportation techniques used include ship, train, truck, and airplane. Ships are the greenest form, while airplanes use the most amount of energy (and are the most common). How can we decrease our emissions? Keep your textile processes geographically close together and transport via sea whenever possible.
Our blog continues below, but are you interested in keeping up with the #GreenestTee campaign? We’ll have giveaways, for brands and consumers, and a ton of new knowledge. Check out our free e-book on green fabrics here and follow us on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletter!
What does the the Greenest Tee look like?
As you might have guessed, at Green Story, we don’t actually make Tees. Instead we support a range of amazing companies which are making fashion greener every day. We hope this has served as a guide to those of you aspiring to make your processes even greener.
Thanks to everyone who have been following along on these past few months filled with giveaways and new blogs!
And now, for a final giveaway, we’re giving away Green Story. Yes, you heard that right, over the next week, we’ll be picking one ecofashion brand to do a free impact analysis on their supply chain, and have the Green Story platform on their website. All for free!
All you have to do, is go on Instagram to this post, and tag yourself or the brand you’re nominating, along with a quick comment as to why you think you’re green.