Can small fashion companies afford to use sustainable textiles?

Can small fashion companies afford to use sustainable textiles?


Sustainability is a very popular topic in the fashion industry, however, a lot of people and businesses think that being sustainable is going to be too expensive for them. In some cases, sourcing sustainable materials can be more pricey for the business, but there are ways to make it more affordable and to increase profits.

Small clothing brands might have a harder time finding affordable sustainable fabrics, partially due to manufacturing size and finding a good source, but also due to the fabrics being slightly more expensive. There are a lot of options out there for eco-friendly textiles, and a lot of it comes down to where the fabric is being sourced and the labor used to produce it. 

Just because a business is small does not mean there are no options for sustainable fashion. There are plenty of textiles that even a small business can use. In this article, sustainable textiles include being sourced sustainably and having fair labor in the manufacturing process.

Here is a list of topics we will be discussing in this article:

  1. Why sustainable textiles?
  2. Examples of sustainable textiles
  3. Inexpensive options
  4. How small businesses can be more sustainable

1. Why sustainable textiles?

Fast fashion is known not only for its cheap prices but also for its cheap fabrics and cheap labor. When it comes to sustainable fabrics, the materials themselves are grown organically, the labor is fair, and the material will last for a long time. Sustainable fashion is becoming more prominent in recent years, as more people are stepping away from fast fashion

Sourcing sustainable textiles is a great way to make your business more sustainable. The materials used can be organically grown, but it is more than just being organic. Businesses also need to make sure that the entire supply chain is ethical as well. This includes sourcing, manufacturing, and shipping. However, sustainability is becoming a much bigger trend and people are opting to only shop at stores that are marketed as sustainable.

2. Examples of sustainable textiles

Some of the most used eco-friendly fabrics are natural fibers that are grown. Here is the list of natural fibers:

  1. Organic cotton
  2. Organic linen
  3. Organic hemp
  4. Organic bamboo
  5. Ethically sourced wool

Other companies are opting to use more advanced technology with innovative fabrics. Here is a list of man-made fabrics:

  1. Tencel
  2. Modal
  3. Lyocell
  4. Recycled polyester
  5. Econyl

All of these fabrics are great options for sustainable textiles. There are more options, but these were the most popular. Other recycled fabrics are also a great option.

3. Inexpensive options

When it comes to sustainable textiles, some might be more expensive to source than others. For small companies, organically grown cotton, or recycled cotton is a great place to start. Cotton is grown in abundance and there are a lot of places to manufacture cotton. Recycled cotton is also a great way to help eliminate waste from the fashion industry.

Linen would also be a great option if ethically sourced. Linen is a great sustainable option, and could also be more affordable for a new brand starting.

The last inexpensive option would be recycled polyester. This is usually made from old plastic bottles, which means it can help to eliminate waste, and there are plenty of bottles that can be recycled, so it is less expensive to use recycled polyester. 

All of the prices of these textiles are going to differ depending on where you get them or your manufacturers get them. But even if you are a small business, affording sustainable textiles is possible.

4. How small businesses can be more sustainable

Besides investing in good, eco-friendly materials, there are some other ways that small businesses can be more sustainable. A great way is to improve shipping packaging. The less plastic used, the best. This is also a great way to help improve costs. You can cut back on how much paper and plastic you are putting in the packaging, and use recyclable boxes and materials.

Another way is to give back to the planet in some way. Maybe for every order, you plant a tree, or you donate a portion to some environmental organization. Or have an option where customers can directly donate excess change or a dollar to plant a tree or to an organization. 

Being sustainable will also help gain more customers. A lot of people are only shopping at eco-friendly brands, so it is a great marketing technique to say you are sustainable and list out what your efforts are. 

Being sustainable is a great thing for the planet, but also to help grow your business.


As more and more companies opt to create sustainable lines or become more eco-friendly, some small businesses might be worried about keeping up with the trend. Some sustainable materials could be more expensive and could increase costs for smaller brands. However, it is definitely possible to use sustainable textiles, no matter how small your business is. 

If sustainable textiles are going to be a lot more expensive, then it would be possible to increase the prices of your items slightly, since people are more willing to pay slightly more for an eco-friendly option.

No matter what you choose to do, being sustainable is a great technique to grow your business and ensure that you are helping the planet.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to deepen your understanding and knowledge of the practices of sustainable fashion, don’t hesitate to take a look at our course “The Sustainable Fashion Industry“. Our short and to-the-point, online class covers a wide range of topics spanning from sustainable business models to strategies to lower your carbon footprint. Here’s a link to the course, if you use the discount code BLOG20 at checkout you can access a 20% discount. Enjoy!

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Can small fashion companies afford to use sustainable textiles? Is it really affordable for fashion companies to use sustainable textiles? In this post, we're looking at what can be done to help smaller businesses limit their environmental print.
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