As we come into summer, especially in North Queensland, we all know that awful moment when you lift your arm to gesture at something and what can only be described as a cloud of “pong” wafts out and you discover great circles of sweat staining the underarms of your new blouse.
You chose the wrong fabric… again. But how do you know which ones are best for our climate?
Well, we all know natural fibres are best: they’re breathable, kind to your skin and *mostly* environmentally friendly. These include cotton, linen (produced from Flax plants), silk and wool. Many of our customers come in seeking 100% cotton tops and dresses (which we stock plenty of!), but maybe it’s worth considering some of the semi-synthetic fabrics as well.
Now, hear me out! The word “synthetic” might make you switch off, but semi-synthetic fabrics, also known as cellulose fabrics, are created by taking natural fibres from plant materials, breaking them down then spinning them out again in a chemical solution to form them into softer, longer fibres.
You’ve probably heard of most of these fabrics before: viscose (also known as rayon), lyocell (aka tencel) and modal, all made from plant and wood fibres; and of course, bamboo.
But there are others out there as well, such as seacell, made from seaweed, and cupro which is a silk substitute, made from a different part of the cotton plant. Many of these are made from environmentally sustainable plants, and although chemicals are used in the treating process, they look and fell like natural fabrics, and are soft and absorbent.
The names rayon and viscose sound suspiciously like those awful synthetic names and conjure images of that plastic-y, static-y cling, but don’t let that put you off. Especially since semi-synthetic clothing is often more affordable and retains dyes more easily, so they’re more versatile.
Having said that, natural fibres are still the queens of the fabric world, and synthetic materials like polyester, chiffon, nylon and satin will always have their use in fashion. It’s simply a matter of knowing your types and choosing the right one to suit your occasion.