Fashion Fabrics & Materials Every Designer Should Use

Carolyn Cunningham

Carolyn Cunningham

Designing desirable apparel requires a number of considerations including the best fabrics to use. For someone who is new to fashion design or simply wants to understand more, the depth of information on apparel materials can be overwhelming. These are a few tips to get started with.

Fabric Selection by the Season

When designing garments, you need to consider the season in which customers will buy and wear your product. Linen makes for a great spring or summer fabric as it is light and breathable. It presents an elegant look while being functionally sound. Cotton is a simple, common fabric that can be worn in the summer and is perfect for casual pieces like t-shirts. Winter requires heavier fabrics such as wool, fleece, or even flannel. These options give consumers appealing fashion that will also keep them warm without too many layers.

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Sustainable Fashion Fabrics

Sustainable fashion fabric choices continue to rise in popularity. These materials allow apparel manufacturers, designers, and consumers to have products that are fashion-forward yet environmentally conscious. There are a number of sustainable fabric options to choose from, but a few include leather made from pineapple leaves, wool from coconut husks, silk from banana skin, and cotton from milk protein. While the origin of some of these materials may seem wild, they are completely legitimate and allow your brand to design in a new way. Leather from pineapple leaves repurposes the millions of pineapple leaves thrown away each year and gives them new life. Wool from coconut husks satisfies the need for wool and avoids animal cruelty problems. Silk from banana skins not only repurposes banana skins, but allows for a low energy and low water process, therefore sustainable in many ways. Finally, cotton, perhaps one of the most famous materials, can be made from milk protein. Making materials from milk actually dates back to the 1930’s in Italy as a cotton and even wool alternative.

Materials Every Designer Should Use

The Right Fabrics for the Right Customer

Fit and age are both important things to consider when deciding on fabric choices. Just about anyone can wear cotton. However, fabrics like silk are more of an adult apparel option. Kids clothes should be made with something comfortable that parents can easily clean. Durable fabric, such as denim also presents a good option for younger children.

Materials Every Designer Should Use

Classic Fabric Choices

For guaranteed high-quality, notable fabrics, resort to the classics. Leather, silk, wool, and fur were made famous by Italian fashion houses after World War II. They each signify high-quality and luxury. Products made with these materials have a rich history behind them and show a knowledge of authentic apparel.

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