Mate, the eco-friendly clothing brand based in Los Angeles launched their line of clean activewear, Move by Mate. With their gear made up of 92% cotton (a natural fiber) and 8% Spandex (synthetic fiber), the line wants to offer more sustainable options for activewear. The collection “emits 65% less carbon than PET-based polyester and will release 92% less microplastics than the norm.”
With the brand’s motto: “progress, not perfection”, the company eyes the use of even more sustainable materials in future iterations.
Made from 92% Organic Cotton and 8% Spandex, these pieces reflect our motto: progress, not perfection. Although we would kill to have 100% natural fibers, at this time, this is the best we can do to ensure the pieces can stretch and move with your body.Kayti O’Connell Carr | Founder, Creative Director of Mate
Yoga Pants and Synthetic Materials: Why the Fuss?
Considered non-biodegradable, the use of synthetic and petroleum-based components allows manufactures to create sweat-wicking clothes with buttery-soft feel.
A melange of mostly synthetic materials, trademarked fabrics, such as Nulu, Airlift, Nothing To See Here, or Powervita, make for effective marketing. However, these names fail to explain fabric components.
Companies such as Lululemon and Lorna Jane offer detailed fabric composition of their products. For example, Lululemon’s Align pants clearly states: Body: 81% Nylon, 19% Lycra® elastane. Some brands, however, skip this information on their website.
We found out that Powervita has Nylon/Lycra® Spandex, not from product info, but from a blog post. After contacting Alo’s customer service, they gave us a generalized answer about their fabrics: products have “Spandex and some cotton”. It seems that the website and customer service do not offer information on fabric components currently.
Note that if you do end up purchasing a clothing item from any of the brands mentioned, a more detailed composition should be on the tag.
To help navigate your next athletic clothing purchase, we breakdown some of the common synthetic materials used.
- Elastane and Spandex: generic names for a fabric made of a polyether-polyurea copolymer. You might recognize these generic names by the trademarked Lycra from DuPont.
- Nylon: a generic term for synthetic polymer. Considered more rigid than Elastane/Spandex, another DuPont innovation.
- Polyester: a synthetic (man-made) polymer, commonly referred to as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Manufacturing polyester requires large quantities of water, given the energy-intensive heating process.
If interested in sustainability, try not to get caught up with descriptions such as “sweat-wicking” or “butt-lifting”. Focus on components and manufacturing process.
For more information on a brand’s ethical and sustainability ratings, try Good on You, the app and/or website.