Not all satins are created equal: how one can decipher complicated garment labels | Australian way of life

Ambiguous language is among the best methods for manufacturers to misrepresent their merchandise. Descriptions of cloth are ripe for confusion, since cloth composition can be utilized interchangeably with fibre kind or model names on clothes’ care labels.

“Shoppers might assume ‘crepe’ is silk, however cloth composition doesn’t assure fibre kind,” says Philippa Grogan, a sustainability guide and textile scientist from Eco-Age. “For instance, denim is a material, not a fibre – it’s sometimes manufactured from cotton however you may get denim comprised of linen, hemp, and different fibres.”

Right here, specialists clarify among the extra complicated phrases discovered on garment labels.


Acetate is one in all many synthetic cellulosic fibres (MMCF): supplies comprised of wooden utilizing an intense chemical course of. The place it differs from the others is within the kinds it may well take: it may be onerous like plastic, or changed into a clean and glossy textile that’s used as an alternative to rayon or silk (though it’s not as breathable).

“Acetate is usually used as a substitute for standard plastic and is a well-liked materials alternative in eyewear and jewelry,” Grogan says. Due to the supply materials and processing, she says greatest apply for sourcing acetate requires third-party certification of each the wooden and the chemical course of.


Bamboo could be processed right into a fibre that’s similar to linen in feel and look, or in the identical approach as different wood-based fibres, utilizing a corrosive chemical processing technique that produces a delicate, clean cloth usually utilized in underwear and activewear.

The second technique is much extra widespread. The creator of To Dye For and founding father of EcoCult, Alden Wicker, says the product ought to technically be referred to as both bamboo-rayon or bamboo-viscose. “It makes use of those self same harsh chemical compounds to interrupt down bamboo right into a pulp … and that course of could be managed nicely, or not.”

The supply of the uncooked materials can be trigger for concern, says the senior director of sustainability at Moose Knuckles, Tara St James. “Bamboo forests have been planted on land that when held old-growth native forests, damaging ecosystems.”

Crepe de chine

Traditionally, crepe de chine was comprised of silk; now it tends to discuss with a light-weight, drapey cloth, usually comprised of polyester. {Photograph}: Dmitrii Petrenko/Alamy

Prior to now, crepe de chine referred solely to a barely clear, matte silk. The identify describes a weave “that provides a slight textured really feel to the material however is mild and drapey which makes it good for night put on and blouses,” says St James.

However since it’s the identify of a material, not a fibre, the identify is now utilized to many supplies, together with polyester. So in case your coronary heart is ready on silk, watch out to verify for a fibre composition label too.


Cupro is one other clean and glossy rayon. Light-weight, breathable and quick drying, it’s generally used for linings and in attire and blouses. However as a substitute of being comprised of wooden, its uncooked materials is cotton linter, a by-product of cotton processing.

“The chemical processes are additionally one of many largest impacts linked to cupro,” says Grogan. “However the fibre could be produced utilizing closed-loop programs.”


Deep-brown coloured fleece
Fleece comprised of recycled plastic was as soon as the poster little one for sustainable trend. {Photograph}: Zoonar GmbH/Alamy

Though it could sound prefer it comes off a sheep’s again, fleece refers to a fluffy, artificial, towel-like materials – the sort used for zip-up vests which have turn into an unofficial tech bro uniform.

Wicker describes it as a one-time “poster little one for sustainable trend”, as a result of it’s usually comprised of recycled water bottles. “Currently, although, the knowledge of turning plastic bottles (that are recyclable) into fibres (that are usually not) has been referred to as into query.

“These fluffy fibres may simply break off and find yourself both within the surroundings or in your individual home mud.”

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