June 27, 2022

Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics

When we buy or wear clothes, we usually focus more on style & its fashion appeal rather than the fabric composition, isn’t it? 

Most people don’t pay attention to fabric composition when buying clothing or any household items made using fabric . 

However, the fabric composition of a garment is increasingly becoming important for conscious consumers who are interested in knowing if their clothing choices are sustainable. 

Inspired by environment sustainability initiatives, many people have started to ask sustainability questions such as :

  1. Is my clothing fabric harmful to the environment or is it sustainable?
  2. How do I know what is a natural fabric or synthetic fabric?
  3. How do I make informed choices of clothing to minimize climate impact? 

These questions are welcoming for our planet as consumers are becoming more aware of the impact we create for the planet earth. 

Learning about fabric types can assist you in making better clothing choices which could be stylish & trendy yet sustainable. 

While there are a lot of factors that make a garment sustainable, fabric plays the most important role amongst these factors. 

This blog covers types of fabrics and how they differ, which type of fabrics are eco-friendly & bio-degradable and which are not. 

Read on to learn about it and take initiatives in adopting a sustainable lifestyle. 

As we all know, Fabrics are used to make clothes, curtains,  sheets, towels, and among other things.

Fabrics can be classified into two categories: 

Natural and Synthetic

By highlighting the differences between Natural and Synthetic fabrics, as well as their benefits and drawbacks, you will be able to make informed decisions when opting for an item made using fabric.

But before we do that in-depth analysis, first let’s have a look at what exactly they are, and a few examples of them, to get a clear overview.

To begin, Natural fabrics are sourced from plant and animal fibers. 

The raw and natural materials are collected first, then transformed into threads, which are knitted or weaved to create the natural fabric.

One of the best examples of Natural fabrics are Cotton & Jute. Cotton is obtained from cotton plants, whereas jute is obtained from the bark of the white jute plant and to a lesser extent from tossa jute plants. 

The other form is "animal-based fibers'' which refers to fibers that have been gathered from animals. 

Such fibers are usually produced from animal hair, animal fur, animal skin, or certain secretions (usually from insects such as the silkworm). Once extracted, animal fibers are usually woven or knitted (or sometimes felted) in order to form beautiful animal fabrics. 

For example, Wool is obtained from sheep and silk is obtained from silkworms.

Moving forward we have different Types of Natural fabrics, which can be classified into plants based & animal based. 

First let’s look which are plant based fabrics:

  • Linen is the oldest fabric anyone has ever seen. Flax plants are used to make it. The cloth is machine washable, nontoxic, and UV resistant.
  • Hemp is a long-lasting fabric manufactured from the fibers of a high-yielding crop from the cannabis sativa plant family. Hemp is used in the manufacturing of rope and sails. It is regarded as one of the most adaptable and long-lasting natural fibers.
  • Cotton is the most pleasant fabric available, as it is made from cotton plants. It's long-lasting, soft, and versatile.
  • Bamboo is a natural fabric made from the pulp of the bamboo grass, the bamboo fiber is then made by pulping the bamboo grass until it separates into thin threads of fiber, which is then spun and dyed for weaving into cloth. With the growing popularity of a new fabric made of bamboo, designers have slowly begun to use bamboo fabric in many of their upcoming collections.

Moving ahead, the following fabrics are considered as animal based fabrics: 

  • Silk is a type of cloth created from the silkworm's filaments. The cloth has a lovely texture, is quite durable, and is hypoallergenic.
  • Leather is often manufactured from the skin of an animal. It has a great tensile strength, making it impervious to tearing.
  • Wool fabric is made from the natural fibers that form the fleece of animals. The biggest appeal of wool garments is that they hold in heat extremely well. Additional benefits of wool include its durability and its versatility, as it can be woven into both heavy, coarse fabrics and lightweight, soft fabrics.

Didn't we all buy something from the fabrics mentioned above?

Let's look at what synthetic fabrics are and what varieties of synthetic fabrics there are:

Synthetic fabrics are fabrics that are created from synthetic materials and are formed by a chemical process.

Synthetic fibers are removed using a device called a spinneret during the chemical operations. They have gained a lot of popularity because they are less expensive and may be used as an alternative to natural fibers.

So much so that demand for polyester has skyrocketed. It has now surpassed Cotton as the most used textile.

 For examples,

  1. Polyester is a synthetic material made from coal and petroleum. It's famed for its durability.
  2. Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber. It can be used as a silk or wool substitute.
  3. Acrylic fibers are acrylonitrile polymers and are synthetic fibers. It is used to make synthetic fur because of its excellent heat retention properties.
  4. Nylon, Lycra, and Spandex are elastomeric fibers, or fibers or materials that can expand over 500 percent without breaking. The ability of this technically-bred super-fiber to restore its original size while not in use is the new wonder of this technologically-bred super-fiber.
  5. Microfibers are ultra-fine fibers, which are usually made of polyester, and come in helpful when cleansing clothes. 

Research on new fabric inventions such as Tencel/Lyocell, Viscose and add a small paragraph to talk briefly about it

By this time, you should have a good understanding of what natural and synthetic fabrics are, and I'm sure we've all shopped for them at least once in our lives.

Do you realize that these materials, like others, have benefits and drawbacks that must be understood?

Let's look at their advantages and disadvantages now.

 The biggest advantage of natural fabric is they are eco friendly and thus biodegradable. They get decomposed and thus are not harmful to our environment. 

The synthetic fabrics are non-biodegradable and they take thousands of years to decompose. They are harmful to our environment and add to the waste & landfill pollution. 

Natural Fabrics: 




  • Natural fabrics are absorbent and absorb water fast.
  • A single cotton garment consumes approximately 2700 liters of water. So, cotton production is bad for the environment.
  • Natural fabrics are long-lasting because the cellulose structure ensures that the fibers are robust enough.
  • Pesticides used in mass-production plant farms are harmful to the environment.
  • The bulk of the fabrics are biodegradable, breathable, and heat-responsive.
  • Natural fibers are weighty and prone to wrinkles.
  • Towels, Bed Covers, and Sheets, for example.
  • These fibers aren't very long-lasting, thus they're not very durable.

Synthetic Fabric 




  • The greatest thing about synthetic materials is that they are less expensive.
  • The non-biodegradable nature of synthetic fabrics and fibers is the first issue that comes to mind when addressing them.
  • Fabrics constructed of synthetic fibers are more stain resistant, making them ideal for everyday usage.
  • The chemicals used to make synthetic fabrics are hazardous to the environment
  • When compared to natural fibers, synthetic fibers are more durable. They are also wrinkle-free and need little to no ironing.
  • These fibers are prone to catching fiber, it is not recommended to wear synthetic fiber clothing when cooking or doing other activities.
  • Synthetic fibers do not shrink and their color does not fade. They're quick to dry.
  • Synthetic fibers prevent the skin from breathing, which can impact on the body's lymphatic system. Some synthetic fibers are irritating to the skin.


You've learned a lot about these two materials up to this point, but there's still confusion?

Synthetic Fibers vs Natural Fibers – which one will you choose?

Which is more comfortable to wear: synthetic or natural fibers? 

Humans create synthetic fibers using chemical synthesis and the polymerization process. Natural fibers, on the other hand, are obtained from live creatures with minimal or no chemical alterations.

These pros and disadvantages might be considered while choosing a fiber. 

We would recommend Natural fabrics, that may come at a higher cost to the consumer's budget but they save your body a lot of harm.

Which fabrics do you prefer? 

Let us know in the comment box.