Most fabrics and textiles are entirely recyclable, yet the amount of fabric waste that ends up in landfill sites is astonishing. In 2009, it was estimated that just 1.3 million tons of fabric was recovered for recycling in the US, a small fraction of the 12 million tones of fabric and textiles that was thrown away.
We here at Aqua & Rock believe in using a mix of different sustainable fabrics throughout our collection. Each of our products are labelled with the symbols below.
We don't all know exactly where or how our clothes are made. Cotton actually starts it's life in the soil and is grown in a field. The fluffy fibre created by the plant is picked and spun into thread. Cotton is light, breathable and easy to wear so no wonder more than half of our clothes sold in the UK are made from cotton.
Due to the mass consumption of cotton, not all cotton is produced lets say in the most natural way possible. The majority of cotton is made in countries that face water shortages as it is and cotton uses a lot of water to grow. However organic cotton farmers rely on rain water to their cotton. This means they are not extracting the water from the ground which can put pressure on water supplies in the local area.
Secondly cotton uses hazardous synthetic pesticides that can pollute the ground and water. These synthetic pesticides are actually banned in organic farming.
Hemp is similar to organic cotton, it starts it's life in the soil. Hemp is known to be one of the fastest growing plants and it also isn't very picky where it lives. Hemp can actually grow in very rough terrain. This makes hemp a more sustainable fabric than most as it doesn't need a lot of maintenance.
Hemp is actually thermo dynamic meaning that it helps keep you warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. It's antibacterial properties keeps you feeling fresh all day and there has been no nasty pesticides or chemicals used in the making.
Hemp is strong, soft and a great sustainable fabric.
Tencel is another fabric that has been made by nature however a much bigger plant this time. Tencel is produced from sustainably sourced wood by environmentally friendly processes. Tencel can be mixed with many different fabrics or used on it's own.
Tencel is known for it's strength, efficiency for moisture absorption and being extremely soft against skin. It is extremely breathable and absorbs colours perfectly to create some rich tones to fabrics.
Tencel is a great sustainable fabric as it's easily recycled but it's also biodegradable so can naturally dissolve back into the earth.
One of our most favourite sustainable fabrics has to be our own. We developed our own sustainable fabric that we use in some of our clothes and accessories.
The components of "Aqua Triblend" are recycled plastic, organic cotton and upcycled clothing all mixed together. We love the fact it uses a mix of components to make one extremely versatile, soft and strong sustainable fabric.
We developed Aqua Triblend in Scotland at the start of the Aqua & Rock journey and plan to develop more sustainable fabrics in the future.
Aqua Natural Triblend
We have recently developed another of our very own sustainable fabrics. This time we used a similar model as Aqua Triblend but within the mix of fabrics we decided to use all natural fabrics. Our first Aqua Triblend was made using recycled plastic that is a man made product. Our new fabric is "Aqua Natural Triblend" that is made from 77% organic cotton, 15% hemp and 8% recycled wool.
The fabric is extremely soft, durable and breathable. We have used it in the production of our comfy, casual but smart Isla and Bay of Blue two pieces.
Leather is a product that has come from an animal therefore understandably leather is not for everyone. We have made the decision to use recycled leather for some of our more expensive items.
Our recycled leather is a by product from the meat industry. Around 40%-50% of a cow is used for meat therefore around half is needed to be used for other products so it doesn't become waste. Due to high meat consumption there is a lot of by product waiting to be used.
Recycled leather is utilising the waste and diverting it from landfill sites. Recycled leather means that you are not using the animal only for its skin.
The production of "virgin" wool is land and water intensive for the grazing sheep. This is then followed by a long process that requires a lot of energy, water and chemicals to turn this wool into a piece of clothing. Recycled wool however has already gone through this process which doesn't need to happen again.
Recycled wool also has relatively low impact in it's process. The wool goes through a process to sort it into colours by selecting and blending similar colours. This means that the wool doesn't need to be dyed again resulting in saving water and not using any new dyes.
Recycled wool is soft, durable, breathable, naturally stain resistant and easy to care for.
Environmentally Friendly Dye
The stunning shades of colour we create for some of our pieces are dyed using natural vegetable dyes that are environmentally friendly. We have found the combination of these dyes with Tencel give us a stunning bold colour that is gentle against skin and not harmful to our environment.
Viscose is a product of wood pulp that is usually used as a substitute for silk. The wood pulp that we use to create our Viscose is made from recycled wood sourced as a by-product from industrial waste. We take the wood from wood pallets that are used for shipping and turn these into our Viscose. We also use recycled wood furniture to create our Viscose too.