**Updated for 2022**
Bamboo clothing is gaining momentum in the fashion industry. In this article, we discuss why bamboo is a great choice for all kinds of clothing.
We review some of the top brands and explain why choosing clothes made from bamboo can be very practical as well a stylish.
The Reality of Non-biodegradable Clothing
There is a new wind blowing our way and it is focused on environmental sustainability that calls us to question how much of our daily lives are filled with things that are ecologically and environmentally unfriendly to the cause of sustainability.
Once evaluations and assessments begin at the household levels, it is fairly easy to identify the biggest issues that contribute to pollution and hazardous materials that decrease our efforts toward sustainability.
In January 2019, the UK House of Parliament published a repot, HC1148, ordered by the House of Commons entitled, Interim Report on the Sustainability of the Fashion Industry, which analyses and informs the public of UK policies and programs relating to the Fashion Industry’s efforts on sustainable fashion and apparel.
The summary of the report included:
“As part of our inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry, we heard evidence outlining the urgent need for the fashion industry to address its labour market and environmental sustainability issues.
In autumn 2018 we wrote to sixteen leading UK fashion retailers to ask what steps they are taking to reduce the environmental and social impact of the clothes and shoes they sell. We used data on market share published by Global Data in its industry report, The UK Clothing Market, 2018–2023 to identify the top ten fashion retailers.
We also asked four leading online retailers to answer similar questions following evidence at our first hearing about illegally low wages for garment workers and the disposability of some ‘fast fashion’ garments. Several of these retailers had been named in evidence linked to low pay in Leicester but the committee also used data on ‘share of voice’ compiled by Pi Datametrics. In addition, we wrote to two leading luxury UK fashion brands, Burberry and Kurt Geiger, following reports of stock burning by luxury brands.
We were impressed with the level of engagement by some retailers. Others expressed openness to engaging on these issues and have taken some small steps. A few retailers, unfortunately, do not seem to consider social and environmental responsibility as a priority. One, Kurt Geiger, did not reply at all.
We acknowledge that some retailers have not signed up to the specific initiatives which we have considered but are taking other measures to address these issues within their organisations.
We believe that there is scope for retailers to do much more to tackle labour market and environmental sustainability issues. We are disappointed that so few retailers are showing leadership through engagement with industry initiatives.”
The objectives of the UK report clearly outlines the scope of vigilance the UK government exerts over the issue of sustainability, responses from UK retailers and factual data statistics compiled.
It is worth reading the entire report to see advancements the UK has made toward sustainability within the fashion industry.
The report also focuses on the impact on the environment from production of non-biodegradable vs. sustainable clothing in the hope the general public will take sustainable fashion more seriously once they are well informed.
History shows a return to more sustainable living relies on the ability of individuals to use natural resources that are readily available materials for their daily needs.
One of these natural materials is bamboo.
Bamboo is replacing an enormous amount of plastics and other non-sustainable products that are harmful to the environment.
It is worth noting that the fashion industry is in a state of ecological evolution as a result of reconsideration of fabrics used to produce clothing.
One group, CanopyStyle, a subset of CanopyPlanet, has already begun programs that protect the world’s forests and natural resources from depletion. Ref: https://canopyplanet.org/
For example, non-sustainable fabrics like rayon and viscose have impacted wood depletion in world forests as reported by the Arcus Foundation.
The Arcus Foundation provides evaluations on sustainable fabrics so the public may have ready reference to these fabrics when choosing clothing.
How is Bamboo Clothing Better?
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing, most prolific of natural resources. With over 2,000 species in existence and a wide variety of uses from food to construction, it is difficult to deny the versatile and practical nature of this plant.
Over recent years bamboo has become more and more popular as a resource for many types of products, including apparel. In fact, it is said to be one of the most sustainable sources for clothing.
Clothing made from bamboo is better because, as the UK HC1148 report states, the cost to produce bamboo has less of an impact on the environment and reduces the cost of labour to manufacture clothing from bamboo.
From an ecological standpoint, bamboo is the clear winner because it requires no pesticides, fertilizers, or large quantities of water to produce a successful crop.
What are the Advantages of Bamboo Clothing?
There are many benefits of clothing made from bamboo, here are just a few.
- Bamboo fabric is incredibly soft.
- Bamboo fabric has tiny pores which allows air to circulate freely making it incredibly breathable.
- Bamboo fabric also has antibacterial properties, meaning your clothes will stay fresh for longer as the fibre helps fight odours.
- Bamboo clothing is actually really good at keeping your skin comfortable and dry by absorbing moisture that would otherwise stick to your skin
- The fabric in bamboo clothes is a natural fibre that is woven tightly together, which makes it more efficient at wicking away moisture. This makes them perfect for sports, workout clothes and intimate clothing such as underwear.
- Bamboo is great for sensitive skin as it’s non-allergenic.
- One of the cool things about bamboo clothing is that it doesn’t wrinkle easily even when washed time and time again so less ironing to do.
- Clothing made from bamboo has amazing protection from UV rays.
These benefits make bamboo clothing an ideal option for consideration for adult and children’s clothing. Parents love it because of its durability and soft, natural feel. It requires little to no maintenance and is both eco-friendly and biodegradable.
Not only is bamboo useful as a textile for the manufacture of clothing, but other household items like fabric duvet covers, kitchen, hand and bath towels and table and bed linens.
Are there any Disadvantages of Bamboo Clothing?
As with anything there are a few disadvantages as well.
- Bamboo is an invasive crop meaning that other plants can be overtaken quickly. Farmers need to be careful to restrict the way the crop grows on their farms.
- Bamboo clothing can be more expensive although prices are now starting to come in line with other materials.
- Due to its ability to draw more moisture away from the skin the opposite disadvantage is that bamboo clothing will take longer to dry than say linen.
- There is a slightly greater tendency for the bamboo clothing to shrink that say cotton in the wash. For this care to read the washing instruction is all that’s needed.
The Bamboo Clothing Manufacturing Process
The bamboo clothing manufacturing process starts with harvesting the bamboo for its fibres.
The best time for harvesting the bamboo plant is at its peak maturity, which takes about three years from planting to harvest.
Once harvested, the raw fibres are then boiled in order to remove any dirt or impurities from the fibres and make them softer so they can be spun into yarns.
The next step in the bamboo clothing manufacturing process is spinning the raw fibres into yarns, which takes about two hours per batch of yarns depending on how many people are working on
The species of bamboos used to make clothing is Moso bamboo, a giant type of bamboo that grows prolifically in various parts of the world.
However, it is important to read all clothing labels.
Recently, some in the fashion retail industry have sold clothing labelled bamboo when it was a rayon/viscose which is not sustainable.
Bamboo is often mixed with a percentage of another natural fabric, cotton.
What Kinds of Clothes can be made from Bamboo?
The bamboo yarn that is spun becomes fabric for clothing that includes:
- Bath robes
- Bathing suits
Bamboo Clothes – The Stylish Option
Most buyers of bamboo apparel want to maintain their own personal style sense.
The question on most eco friendly individuals minds’ is the colour of bamboo fashion apparel.
Before bamboo is cut and dried it is green in colour.
Once it is turned into bamboo cellulose for textiles and fabrics, natural dyes are used to create more vivid colours of bamboo fabric than possible with synthetic dyes on non-sustainable fabrics.
Dyes used to colour bamboo apparel are colour fast and organic.
This is a return to the natural dyes used by ancient civilisations that are often found today in many archaeological artefacts with the same vivid colours intact.
So there is no worry about dyes running such as with synthetic red dyes that turn an entire load of laundry an unwanted pink hue.
The stylish option is an important factor in how individuals choose clothing they buy.
Bamboo apparel is created with today’s most popular styles in mind.
The newest addition selling in international fashion shows is bamboo shoes and boots in today’s most popular styles that promote bamboo clothing benefits.
Women’s bamboo clothing is as diverse in style as non-sustainable clothing.
Women’s bamboo apparel style options suit young women ages 15 to 30 in youthful skirts, tops, long sleeved and short sleeved shirts and slacks.
For sophisticated and business women, women’s bamboo clothing includes jackets, dresses, slacks and tops are designed by top name fashion designers like Lara Miller and Linda Loudermilk, whose designs are flooding fashion shows and runways with dresses, handbags, sweater wraps and brightly coloured casual wear skirts and tops.
Men’s bamboo clothing includes button down dress shirts for business or evening wear, T-shirts, long sleeved pullover shirts, short sleeved golf style shirts, socks, slacks, bathrobes, underwear, jogging pants and shorts.
Bamboo Athletic and Sportswear
Men and women can enjoy the natural UV ray protection of bamboo clothing in bamboo running clothes like V-neck shirts and tops, jogging pants, bamboo track pants and running sneakers like Adidas newest Ultraboost running shoe.
For yoga enthusiasts, there are yoga clothing styles in pants in bootleg and slim leg widths with stretch waists for extra flexibility of movement.
Overall yoga clothing made from bamboo is stylish, comfortable and extra absorbent.
Boody Organic Bamboo EcoWear
The Best Bamboo Clothing
The best bamboo clothing is not always the most expensive. It’s important to find a balance between quality and price.
There are many different types of bamboo clothing that can be worn for different occasions. For instance, there are bamboo shirts for casual wear, as well as dressier options for special occasions. You can also find some great bamboo jeans and trousers if you’re looking for something more comfortable to wear during the day or at night.
If you are a business person you’ll want to explore bamboo fashion brands that meet the need for a business style.
Best Bamboo Clothing Brands for Men
In men’s dress shirts, there are two very popular bamboo apparel brands that meet the business image:
Offers men’s bamboo fibre dress shirts in slim fit, long sleeve, casual, button down shirts that are wrinkle free.
These are available in long and short sleeve styles and in 13 different colours.
In 569 reviews, customers rated it 4.0 out of five stars.
INFLATION Men’s Slim Fit Bamboo Casual Shirt
This brand offers bamboo fibre mens underwear in various size and style options.
Customers rated it four out of five stars.
YOULEHE Men’s Bamboo Underwear Trunks
Best Bamboo Clothing Brands for Women
For women’s bamboo clothing brands, the Lara Miller Bamboo Women’s clothing collection is sold at major US retailers like Nordstrom and JC Penney.
Note that women’s bamboo fashions are also available from retailers online.
Boody are on a mission to make clothing sustainable and affordable – here’s their brand statement.
“Our search to re-define the essence of comfort has led us to uncover the unparalleled benefits of bamboo yarn. Easy on the skin, hypoallergenic and highly breathable, this miracle plant produces one of the softest yarns available… and we fell in love at first touch..”
Organic Bamboo Boody EcoWear Women’s V-Neck T-Shirt
Weird Fish are starting to sell clothing made from bamboo.
Their range is increasing by the day and with styles becoming more colourful they are sure to be on to a winner.
Weird Fish Lyme Bamboo Playsuit Light Teal
Accessorise with Bamboo
As well as the more traditional bamboo clothing you can add to your sustainable look with bamboo jewellery and footwear.
Bamboo jewellery is a great way to add a touch of eco-friendly flair to your outfit. Bamboo jewellery can be as simple as a bamboo pendant or necklace, or it can be an entire bamboo outfit.
Bamboo jewellery is not only stylish and environmentally friendly, but it also has many other benefits. For example, the natural properties of bamboo make it hypoallergenic which means that those with sensitive skin will not have any issues wearing this type of jewellery.
In addition to this, bamboo has a low specific gravity which means it floats and is water resistant. This makes it perfect for people with sensitive skin as well as for those who enjoy swimming or going on the beach.
Novica sells several pieces of jewellery made from bamboo and ethically recycled wood and glass for women and a bone Tree of Life pendant for men that makes a great gift for special occasions.
Bamboo Boots and Shoes
Bamboo footwear, boots and shoes are one of the most popular types of bamboo products.
They are extremely comfortable and look great, making them an excellent choice for those looking to invest in some new footwear.
The benefits of bamboo footwear is:
- They are durable as they last up to 10 times longer than other types of footwear
- They are eco-friendly as they require less energy to produce than other types of shoes
- They can be worn with any outfit because they come in different styles, colours, and shapes
Amazon.com has a broad selection of boots from formal dress to bootie style.
Once you know all the features of natural bamboo textiles and benefits of clothing made from bamboo, buying bamboo fashions becomes part of your personal effort to contribute to environmental sustainability.
There is little noticeable difference in fashion styles of clothing made from bamboo and apparel made from non-sustainable fabrics.
However, the benefits such as UV ray protection, natural moisture absorbance and natural, colour fast dyes that offer a broad range of vivid colours, outweigh any reticence to moving to a wardrobe that brings greater peace of mind and the secure knowledge that future generations will have a safer, healthier environment.
Bamboo grows in abundance and costs far less for clothing manufacturers to produce formal, casual and intimate apparel.
For business owners, bamboo is a welcomed relief from the constant cost increases in non-sustainable textiles, as well as the high cost of labour to produce fabrics that are harmful to the environment.
It is also a relief to know buyers of bamboo apparel do not increase the volume of non-sustainable fabrics at landfills.
Bamboo fabrics are recyclable and can be composted since it is a wholly natural fabric.
In days to come, reports such as the Interim Report on the Sustainability of the Fashion Industry by the UK’s House of Commons, will awaken a new sense of environmental responsibility in retailers all over the world when reduced costs of raw materials, labour and production are attractive incentives.
If you’ve tried bamboo clothing I’d love to hear from.
Have you tried bamboo clothing?
Leave a comment below.