At Community Clothing we pride ourselves on using the finest quality natural materials. We love natural fibres; we love way they feel when you wear them, we love that they last a long time and get better with age, and we love that if you use the right ones, grown in the right way, they’re kind to the planet too. We use almost exclusively wool, linen and cotton in our clothing because we believe that they offer the very best combination of wearability and overall environmental impact.
We aim to assess the entire lifecycle of any fibre or fabric when we consider its use, including a consideration of the following:
Growing - How and where is the fibre grown, or raised? What is its environmental footprint in the farming stage? Is it grown using sustainable, or better, regenerative farming methods?
Making - How and where is it spun, dyed, finished, woven, cut and sewn.
Using - How long will it last? How many times can it be worn. Total lifetime environmental footprint will be reduced significantly with greater wear.
Returning - What happens to it at the end of its useful life? Can the fabric be reclaimed and re-purposed? Can it be recycled. Can it safely and easily be composted and returned to the soil?
We strive to use fabrics and fibres with the lowest impact in the input stage, but also to ensure we engineer our products and fabrics for a VERY long life, so that any environmental cost can be divided by hundreds, and in some cases thousands of wears.
Click the bullet points below to navigate to specific materials.
Cotton gets a bad press, and its true there is some very environmentally damaging cotton production in the world, consuming large amounts of pesticides, herbicides and water. But that doesn’t mean that all cotton is bad. Mankind has been using cotton to produce clothing for around five thousand years. It grows naturally and abundantly right across the tropics, and modern sustainable, organic and regenerative farming practices mean it can be done with limited or no harm to the planet. This does of course come at a price. But cotton makes fantastic, comfortable, fully biodegradable, and if well grown and well-spun, very durable clothing.
All cotton is not made the same. As with everything in life there is good and bad. We only use what we believe to be good cotton. We source Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton grown by Hakan Organic in Sanliurfa in Turkey for our heavy jersey products.
We work only with spinners who source the very best quality traceable raw cotton, grown responsibly by farmers in long term relationship with those spinning mills. And we spin, dye, knit and weave in the best cotton mills, with the best environmental and ethical standards, many within a few hundred miles of our headquarters in Lancashire.
We use cotton in our jeans, t shirts and sweatshirts, socks, shirts and woven dresses.
We source the majority of our denim from Isko in Turkey, arguably the worlds most sustainable premium denim mill. They have world leading environmental and sustainability credentials, including OEKO-TEx, GOTS and GRS certification, with 100% of their cotton from traceable sources in Turkey. They are also a leader in the use of recycled cotton in their denim and we are currently testing denim with an up to 50% recycled material. We also buy denim from Troficolor in Portugal who have similarly world leading environmental credentials.
Click to find out more about the sustainability credentials our of denim partners, Isko & Troficolor.
We source our superfine shirting for these products form Albini in Italy and from Soktas in Turkey. At Albini all stages of production, from spinning and dyeing, to weaving and finishing are done in house suing traceable cotton from Egypt and India. Soktas is also completely vertically integrated from raw cotton to finished product. They grow cotton on their own farms in turkey with very low water consumption rates.
Click to find out more about our woven cotton partners, Albini Group& Sokas.
The cotton in the yarns for our socks comes from three sources. For our fine gauge socks, yarn is spun and dyed in Portugal by Clariause using certified BCI cotton.
The yarn for our heavier gauge socks is source from Elton Vale in Manchester. This yarn is dyed in Langholm in Scotland by FTS Dyers.
The cotton in our t shirts is grown on a single farm, JG Boswell, a multi-generational family run cotton growing business in the San Joaquin Valley of California under USDA regulations that are the tightest on the planet. Every bale raw cotton is numbered allowing traceability all the way back to the field it was grown in, under the world's most heavily regulated agricultural standards.
It is then spun in the UK by English Fine Cottons in Manchester in England, before being knitted and dyed in Leicestershire. All the UK operation are carried out under stringent European environmental regulations.
Cotton for our lightweight sweatshirts starts life with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified cotton grown by Hakan Organic in Sanliurfa in Turkey. This is then spun by Topkapi in Turkey who have been spinning exceptional quality cotton yarns for over 50 Years. Cotton has been grown, and cotton textiles produced in what is modern day Turkey for over three thousand years.
Mankind has been using wool to make clothes since the stone age. We’d argue that as a material, man and science has never been able to better its unique properties. It is renewable; as long as the rain falls and the grass grows sheep will produce wool. And modern wool farming has been developed to the point where its environmental impact is incredibly small. Wool has the second smallest carbon footprint of any textile fibre - half that of polyester and a third that of acrylic (only linen has a lower one). Wool is naturally biodegradable - at the end of its life it can be put back in the soil where it will decompose releasing valuable nutrients back into the soil. Wool fibres are naturally abrasion resistant, making woollen garments very durable, and its natural elasticity, along with its ability to absorb moisture, makes it extremely comfortable to wear. In short, nature has created almost the perfect fibre from which to make clothes.
So why doesn’t everyone use this miracle fibre? Well in short, price. Great quality wool is expensive; between five and ten times the price of synthetic alternatives. Wool is better in so many ways but when compared to those blended synthetic jumpers that most brands sell it looks pricey. And that’s where our unique business model steps in making wool an affordable option for many.
We use wool in our fantastic range of jumpers and other knitwear including hats, gloves and scarves, in our coats and in a selection of our socks.
We source the lambswool yarn for our knitted jumpers and accessories from Z. Hinchliffe & Sonsof Denby Dale in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1766 they are arguably the world best woollen yarn spinners and produce yarn for some of the world finest luxury brands. They source the finest merino lambswool from known farmers in Australia and South Africa ensuring a consistent quality of fibre. They also ensure that all farms have the highest standard of animal welfare and only wool from 100% non-mulesed sheep is used.
We source 100% British wool yarn for use in our pure wool boot socks from Shepley Yarns of Saddleworth in Yorkshire. They source the wool for their yarns from sheep that roam freely on the fells and downs, right across the UK. They work with dyeing and spinning partners who operate to the highest environmental standards, all are OEKO-TEX 100 accredited, they use no chemicals or dyestuffs used cause harm to the watercourse or atmosphere, and use no AZO dyestuffs.
Their spinning plant utilizes only energy from renewable sources.
We source all of the woollen fabrics for our winter coats from AW Hainsworth of Pudsey in Leeds. Established in 1783 they are one of just two completely vertically integrated fabric producers in the UK, with every stage of production, from raw wool, to finished fabric happening under one roof. They produce cloth for some of the worlds best know luxury brands but are also famous for making cloth for a wide array of ceremonial wear including the famous red Guards tunics.
They source the finest merino and other wools from the UK, Australia and New Zealand, using wools with known provenance and quality. They spin, dye, weave and finish the fabric at t heir state of the art facility in Yorkshire ensuring absolute assurance of the quality of the final product.
Take a tour of the AW Hainsworth factory below, as our founder, Patrick Grant, checks in on the production of our pure wool peacoat.
Linen is the most sustainable fabric on earth. It can be grown with no irrigation fertilizer or pesticides. Its total carbon footprint in production is the lowest of all textile fibres, and it is an incredibly durable fibre so linen clothes will last an incredibly long time.
Linen has a strongly positive environmental story and can be produced in close harmony with nature. The worlds best linen is grown on our doorstep, in Northern Europe, in France Belgium and the Netherlands so it also has almost zero clothing miles.
At Community Clothing we use linen in our shirts and woven dresses. Our linen fabric is woven and finished in Portugal by Somelos using yarn spun by Safilin who wet spin their fine linen yarn in Szczytno in Poland using all European flax.
We believe our linen production route is the lowest impact production route for any textile anywhere on the planet. But our aim is to go much further. We asked ourselves the question ‘Can we make clothes here in the UK from the fibres and dyes that can be naturally grown not hundreds, or thousands, of miles away, but right here on our doorstep?’. And the answer is that we think we can. We would like to bring every stage, from growing, through processing and spinning back to the UK and with this end we have co-founded the Homegrown/Homesewn project with North West England Fibreshed which is growing flax for linen and woad and indigo for natural indigo dye at several sites in Lancashire.
We are also working with a second-generation Belgian flax farmer who is growing flax at three farms here in the UK. We are currently processing and spinning this flax into linen yarn in Europe and it will be woven in the UK. Our hope is to have our first homegrown linen fabric available to buy in the autumn of 2023.
Nylon has a high carbon footprint when compared to cotton and wool so we use it sparingly. And we only use highest quality traceable nylon produced using clean energy.
We use a blend of nylon and cotton in our socks, between 10% and 40% depending upon the style. We would of course prefer it if a pure cotton sock were a viable option but for a number of reasons it is considered best for both the comfort and fit of the sock, but also importantly for its durability, to include a stretch nylon fibre.
The supply chain for our nylon is fully European and fully traceable. We source nylon yarn which is crimped and dyed by Progressive Threads in Nottinghamshire using drawn nylon 6.6 yarn manufactured in Germany
We don’t use virgin polyester in any of our main body materials. Even recycled polyester has a higher carbon footprint than all of the natural materials so we use it very sparingly.
Polyester is made from oil. In 2020 more than 350 million barrels of oil were used in the production of plastic for use in textile fibres. Additionally the processing of polyester fibre, including its dyeing, can involve highly toxic chemicals including carcinogens and neurotoxins.
And polyester does not biodegrade. Polyester garments that had been buried in landfill for over fifty years have been dug up and found to be in unchanged condition. Textile fibres accounts for almost 34% of all ocean plastic, and polyester is over 90% of this total. Polyester and recycled polyester fleece sheds the most plastic microfibre of any material so far tested.
We do currently use polyester thread in the majority of our products and the zip tapes in most of our products are polyester but we are working to find alternative materials in all of these applications. Our woven labels are currently certified recycled polyester.
We also use a small amount of recycled polyester in two of our denims. In these fabrics it is used to stabilise the recycled cotton which makes up a high percentage of the fibre in those denims, a trade off we are happy to make to reduce the impact of the cotton used.
We use no acrylic in any of our products.
We use no polyurethane in any of our products.
|ENERGY USE (MJ) PER KG OF FIBRE
(Excluding original production)