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Plastic-based fiber

Otherwise known as "synthetics".


As we researched more about plastic-based fibers, we learned they were not only far less sustainable than natural fibers, but they also performed far worse. Compared to the protein-based fibers we use in our sweaters, khullu and merino, plastic-based fibers are poor thermoregulators and trap odor.

a closer look...

Plastic-based materials are made by forcing crude-oil-based plastic polymers through tiny holes to create a thread, which is twisted into a yarn used to make clothing. Plastic-based materials such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex, and lycra make up 60% of the world's production of yarn fiber.

Allergies & Durability:

Unlike natural materials, like khullu and merino, plastic-based fibers are chemically produced and are an allergen to some.

Plastic-based fibers are highly elastic and durable (they are made from plastic afterall), which makes them much easier to care for than natural fibers. Unfortunately, their durability is a double edge sword. It can take up to 200 years for plastic-based fibers to biodegrade into the earth, so those polyester clothes you have could've been worn by Abraham Lincoln!

Thermoregulation & Breathability: 

Plastic-based fibers underperform in almost every category.

One important distinction is they don't have the same "crimp" as protein-based fibers, meaning they don't insulate or breath efficiently, making them poor temperature regulators.

However, they are ideal for water resistance, which again is a bit of a double edge sword... plastic-based fibers have a molecular structure that doesn't allow for the efficient transfer of sweat away from the skin and into the air as water vapor.

By trapping sweat, plastic-based fibers create an ideal environment for bacteria and thus odor to thrive.


Compared to natural fibers plastic-based fibers are far less sustainable, consuming 342 million barrels of oil and releasing 380 million pounds of plastic into the ocean every year.

Know your materials?

 Prove it! We challenge you to test your knowledge on plastic-based fiber.