A deep dive into textile composition

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the surface your favorite T-shirt or pair of sweatpants? There is more to them beyond their soft texture, bright colors, and washability. The very essence of your favorite clothing lies in their composition. But what exactly does that mean? It’s time for a deep dive.

Understanding textile composition

Textile composition is the combination and proportions of fibers or materials used in the production of a textile product. For example, your T-shirt could be 80% cotton and 20% polyester, meaning that the fabric of your shirt is composed of mostly cotton fibers, blended in with polyester fibers. The different possible fabric compositions will determine the texture, breathability, and durability of clothing, as well as its sustainability for our planet.

Natural vs Synthetic


To really understand the different textiles we first have to know the differences between natural and synthetic fibers. Natural and synthetic fibers have different origins, and require different production processes, leading to different characteristics, as well as different environmental impacts.


While natural fibers such as cotton or wool are derived from plants or animals, synthetic fibers like polyester and viscose are produced through chemical processes using raw materials derived from synthetic sources.


Natural fibers are known for their comfort, breathability, and quite importantly, their biodegradability. For example, cotton is known for its softness and hypoallergenic nature, meaning even those with sensitive skin won’t have any issues wearing it. It is also easy to care for and is naturally biodegradable. Synthetic fibers are known for their durability and ability to hold vibrant colors. For example, nylon is a synthetic fiber than is commonly used for raincoats and swimwear, as it is more water resistant, while natural fibers are not.



Natural and synthetic fibers go through very different production processes. While natural fibers are harvested and then cleaned to be spun or woven, synesthetic fibers are produced through complex chemical processes which involve significant energy and water use.

Environmental Impact

Natural fibers are generally considered to be more environmentally friendly as they are derived from renewable resources and biodegradable, while synthetic fibers are often criticized for their environmental impact due to the reliance on oil and the high energy costs. However in recent years, there is a growing movement around mitigating this problem as much as possible.

The blending of fibers

Combining different fibers by blending them together can create clothing that has the strengths of multiple materials. Fabric blends often have improved durability thanks to blending strong synthetic fibers with natural ones. They can also be both soft and stretchy, for example by blending cotton and spandex. Particularly with sports clothing, a blend of cotton and polyester is often used, which has some key advantages. Aside from durability, combining cotton with polyester for activewear allows for better moisture management and improves its quick-drying abilities, which is desirable when considering clothing for sports. It also allows for more breathability; polyester alone will not be as breathable, however a cotton-polyester blend brings together the breathability of cotton with the moisture-wicking properties of polyester. A polyester-acrylic blend has similar benefits. This blend of two different synthetic fibers creates a highly durable fabric with quick drying abilities and good color retention.


Textiles and sustainability

Currently, where the fast-fashion industry is already causing tons of damage to our environment, we want to do as much as we can to ensure that we are providing sustainable and ethically made textiles to our customers. So, what exactly is sustainability when it comes to the production of textiles?

Sustainable fabrics are usually made from natural or recycled materials. They are created with little to no impact on the environment, from its manufacturing to its disposal. The product also must be designed to be durable and of high quality, to last a long time. In the US we are seeing growing importance of sustainability driven by environmental factors. The aim is to reduce our carbon footprint and increase resource efficiency.

Some sustainable textiles for you to consider are 100% cotton and recycled polyester. Cotton is one of the most used natural materials, which has been around for about 8,000 years, and now makes up 40% of clothing manufacturing. Cotton is known for being soft and hypoallergenic, meaning even those with sensitive skin will have no issues wearing it (the same cannot be said of polyester). Cotton is also able to biodegrade in around 5 months. This makes it a much sought-after resource for fabric production.

Recycled polyester, also known as rPET, is another recycled textile that has lower CO2 emissions and reduces landfill waste. It has the same benefits as polyester, such as its light-weight nature and versatility.


Selecting the right textiles for your business

Ready to take a step towards having a more sustainable assortment? We are now lucky enough to have multiple options when it comes to making more responsible decisions for our planet. Taking the first steps towards selecting more sustainable and environmentally friendly textiles is an area where you can make a real difference. 

Discover our sustainable product line and see if any of them would be a good fit for your brand.