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Choose eco-friendly fiber T-shirts

By Shomik Ghosh |
T-shirts made from fibers such as bamboo, hemp, and soy are both sustainable and stylish, requiring much less water, fewer chemicals, and minimal land space, too.
When you choose eco-friendly fiber T-shirts — made of hemp, bamboo, and soy fibers — you get the same look and feel as traditional cotton tees, but without the intensive chemical and water use.

Find it! Eco-friendly fiber T-shirt designers

The choice to buy clothing made from natural, eco-friendly fibers (like soy) is often preceded by thoughts along the lines of "I ate tofu for dinner last night — how can it be available in a slim-fitting V-neck?" The designers and e-merchants we've selected respond to queries like this and offer T-shirts made with hemp, bamboo, and soy — sustainable surrogates for cotton that don't skimp on style or comfort. All offer tees for both men and women unless otherwise noted.

Before you buy

Costly alternatives?: The farming of industrial hemp in the United States has been virtually banned by the federal government for decades because of its similarity to marijuana and must be imported from countries such as England, Germany, and Canada. Bamboo is primarily grown in China's Zhejiang Province although it is grown domestically for commercial purposes on a much smaller scale in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. For these reasons, the environmental costs of transporting bamboo and hemp long distances should be considered and higher retail prices (in comparison to conventional cotton clothing) should be expected. In the case of soy, using the fiber for clothing isn't exactly a new idea — soy-supporter Henry Ford sported a suit and tie made from the legume in the 1940s — but its arrival on the current fashion scene is new. Expect limited availability and higher prices than other natural fibers, like organic cotton and hemp, which are more accessible and thus lower priced. A quick cost comparison: American Apparel's conventional cotton Unisex Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirt retails for $15. The hemp/cotton blend Conscious Tee by Natural High Lifestyle cost $30, while Of the Earth's soy/organic cotton blend Supersoya V-Neck is $35. T-shirt blend considerations: A T-shirt made from hemp, bamboo, or soy may or may not be exclusively made from that fabric. Often, designers use fabric blends, typically incorporating cotton. Although organic cotton is usually used to make the garment 100 percent "natural" this isn't a steadfast rule.

Choosing eco-friendly fiber T-shirts helps you go green because…

  • Cotton, particularly conventional cotton, is grown using unsustainable farming methods, calling for large amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, as well as water. Fabrics made from hemp, bamboo, and soy fibers do not compromise human health or the environment in their production.
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