A sustainable fashion brand called tentree has started using “the world’s most sustainable fiber” in its range of clothing.
The material, called kapok, is an innovative natural fiber found in the fruit of the kapok tree, which grows across the world’s rainforests from southern Mexico to the Amazon and across Africa and Asia.
What are kapok fibers?
These sustainable fibers are found inside fluff-filled seed pods that grow inside the fruit of the kapok trees. The seeds can be harvested without causing any harm to the tree by simply removing the fruits from the branches or using fruits that have already fallen onto the ground.
Kapok trees themselves are entirely renewable, meaning they don’t require any human intervention to grow successfully. And they can grow without any chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides, which contribute to the overheating of our planet.
What do the fibers feel like?
Kapok fibers are great for clothing — say goodbye to scratchy materials and hello to silky soft-to-touch clothes that are breathable, lightweight, hypoallergenic, and super resilient.
To transform the fibers into clothes, the kapok is blended with cotton, with the company claiming that this saves lots of water during production compared to normal methods.
“Producing four T-shirts with a kapok-cotton blend can save 3,000 liters of water,” says the tentree website. “In general, kapok needs very little processing and is a great option for sustainable clothing, which is why we’re excited to add it to our family of fabrics.”
The company also plants 10 trees for each purchase, enabling them to invest in the planting of more kapok trees to build up a bigger supply across the world.
How are kapok fibers better for the environment?
By using these fibers, the tentree brand says it has dramatically saved water in production, which is a common issue in the fashion industry.
It is estimated that the fashion industry currently uses around 3.2 trillion cubic feet of water per year, which is 4% of all freshwater extraction globally — and it doesn’t look like this water consumption is slowing down any time soon.
In a world where 4 billion people are already experiencing severe water scarcity for at least one month each year, it is important for fashion brands to look at more sustainable methods of creating their products.
Although kapok fibers are a relatively new innovation in the fashion industry, the fact that they provide a hypoallergenic, biodegradable, lightweight alternative that is much more environmentally friendly is alluring.
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