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Fashion fashion Fair trade

Sustainable fashion (in sport): the necessary step

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by: Remco Harmsen
sustainable fashion  in sport  the necessary step

Nowadays lots of people are getting a more sustainable mindset: they eat organic food, drive electric cars and buy second hand clothing. There is still a very long way to go, but let’s face it: the topic is hot. Many brands wants to get in the sustainable hype.

It does not take a genius to see that a lot of companies acting green are actually just green washing. This seems like a bad thing, but it still does some part of the trick: creating the right mindset. Which of course is needed for the right actions.

Sustainable fashion

Like many other industries, fashion is making great steps in getting more sustainable. Also in fashion we see a lot of greenwashing (not calling names here). Usually the smaller brands are the ones that are really fair and sustainable. And also the ones who are very inovatif in ways to become sustainable. Like (this article) which shows perfect examples of looking further than the standard ways to go.


Were some parts of fashion are leading on the topic of fair fashion, baby clothing is one of them, some parts are tragically behind. An example of this is the sportswear industry. Thinking about this makes it a little ironic. Most people who are passionate about sports are very committed to mother nature. Running, climbing, swimming, ice skating, and so forth. Why is their apparel not sustainable? There are plenty of beautiful options for creating sustainable sportswear (like discussed here).

Recycled polyester

When looking at sportswear the first thing to notice is that lots of it is from polyester. The image of polyester is getting worse by the day. And for good reason! Everybody knows the terrible images of plastic soups and animals getting killed by it. But besides that, polyester is a beautiful material for sportswear. When used sustainable it is still an option fabric option.

Polyester is available in hundreds of different chemical compositions. The most common one is known as RPET. This is the one of which sports fabric is made. And here is the good part: it lends itself perfectly for recycling. The fiber from raw material (from oil) is exactly the same as a recycled fiber. So, why not use all this plastic waste in our advantage, and create something beautiful from it?


Another great option for sustainable sportswear is bamboo. It has advantages on two levels: the growing of it and the attributes of it for sports applications. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants out there. Some types grow by a meter a day! Also, it needs very little water and can grow where nothing else will, so no forest is needed to clear (like needed for cotton for example). If that is not enough, know that bamboo is resistant of a lot of bugs and diseases, so very little to no pesticides are needed. Of course, this is all very helpful for our already plagued environment.

For sportswear, bamboo is excellent in comparing it to other materials. The fabric has great isolation, which makes it warmer when it’s cold, but fresher when its warm. Also, the fabric has great ventilation because of the micro holes in the fiber. When you do sweat, it absorbs moisture very good and also drains it fast. If this is not enough for you, then use it because it is soft as silk and strong as leather!

Besides the material

There are several other points you need to take into account when talking about sustainable fashion. Of course, these doesn’t just apply for sportswear, but for every item of clothing you produce (and want to do it fair and sustainable). The fashion industry has made a name for itself in treating workers poorly. We all know the sad stories about sweatshops and dangerous working conditions. It goes to far for this article to dig into this matter, but please be aware that just because a t-shirt is made from bamboo, it is not necessarily sustainable. There is plenty to go on for your own research, just start reading and figuring out what’s important for you!

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My name is Remco, 28 years old and form Haarlem, The Netherlands. Great passion for sport and the world around us.
My name is Remco, 28 years old and form Haarlem, The Netherlands. Great passion for sport and the world around us.
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