Globalization means that clothing for sale in London may well have started out as raw materials in America, been made into fabric in Mexico, and been put together in a factory in Turkey before reaching the consumer. Swiss workwear brand Freitag are already known for incorporating recycling into their product line — their bags are made from used tarp — but they were still concerned by the ecological footprint of their products: Even after Freitag gave the tarp a second lease of life, the bags were still eventually destined for the rubbish tip.
Now, Freitag have developed the first 100 percent biodegradable line of clothes using impressively eco friendly materials and procedures. The textiles — called F-ABRIC — are sustainably produced and totally compostable. All the raw materials are plant based fibers, sourced from within Europe. They include hemp, flax and modal, which are grown conscientiously within 2500-kilometers of Freitag’s factory in Zurich. The plants require lower water consumption than common materials such as cotton, and shorter transport distances mean the ecological footprint of production is impressively reduced.
Chemicals used in the manufacture process are kept to a minimum and the clothing products are assembled by a small team of textile experts. Finally, every element of the clothing — from the thread to the shirt buttons — is biodegradable, so when a F-ABRIC product has to finally be disposed of, it can “rot in peace” on the compost pile — fertilizing the soil for the next round of locally grown raw materials. The only exception being the metal trouser button — which can be easily detached and reused.
Freitag are selling their full line — including trousers, long and short sleeve shirts and workdresses — in stores across Northern Europe. They plan to explore a similar set-up in North America in the future.
Could other eco-conscious brands alter their raw materials or processes to improve the footprint of their clothes?