Despite consumer preferences, the activewear is now dominated by synthetics, research reveals that could be detrimental to the wearer’s health and the environment at large.
Companies have been trying to be eco-friendly by making fabric from used plastic bottles. But the bottles and the resultant polyester are both made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is derived from crude oil. The bottles are shredded and the remnants are thrown in a mixture of chemicals and water, dried into pellets, and then melted and extruded into polyester yarn. Creating polyester requires more energy than producing cotton.
According to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor research 45 per cent of the consumers believe that clothing made of polyester, compared to cotton and rayon, has the biggest odor issue or traps odor.
On the other hand, studies such as one conducted at the Cornell Composting Facility in 2010 suggest that cotton decomposes at a much faster rate than polyester. Various fabric technologies developed by Cotton Incorporated offer an edge to manufacturers that want to offer performance activewear made of natural cotton. Transdry technology wicks and spreads perspiration so cotton fabrics dry faster as well as or better than most high-tech synthetic fabrics. The wicking window technology is a moisture management application that eliminates the feeling of wet fabric against the skin. Storm cotton technology protects the wearer from the outside as it’s a breathable, water-repellent finish for cotton fabric.