Fabric Made from Soybeans? Soy what?
I love puns.
OK, seriously. What is so great about fabric made from soy? First of all, it is probably the most lovely feeling fabric that I have every worn. That is my favorite thing about it. It also has good color fastness which means that it doesn’t fade as quickly as other natural fibers such as pure cotton or silk. Soy fabric has a nice drape, and if my tops have wrinkles, putting it on a hanger for a while is usually enough to straighten out the wrinkles. Those last two features make it easy to care for. Throw it in the wash, hang it to dry or put in the dryer, but either way, it will dry quickly. Feels great, good colorfastness for a natural fiber and easy care.
Some of you have asked, does it have properties that are good for athletics such as biking or yoga? Yes! It is absorbent and breathable, making it comfortable. Soy is naturally UV resistant for those sun lovers. It’s natural resistance to bacteria, which helps to reduce odors.
But what makes it sustainable? It is made from the byproduct of soy foods, and so it reduces waste by utilizing what would otherwise be tossed. Many fibers for clothing are bleached prior to dying. The soy protein cannot withstand bleach, and so it is only processed with lighteners that are more gentle on the earth than bleach, such as hydrogen peroxide. It dyes well and dries quickly, making dying process less energy intensive. Low impact fiber reactive dyes, such as those in the fabrics I chose, are less toxic and more energy efficient to apply. It is also biodegradable.
It isn’t a perfect sustainable product. Other natural fibers are already, well, a fiber. This one starts out as a slurry, and requires a chemical process to turn it into a fiber. The claim by those manufacturing it is that those chemicals are not poisonous. That’s good. But how good? I’m not sure. Keep in mind that there is not such thing as perfect when it comes to environmental impact. Overall, when I researched what makes it sustainable, I felt that it is still a good product for sustainability.
So you want to give it a try? A few items in my line contain fabric made from a blend of organic cotton and soy. You can find the EcoPetite tank tops in sizes SP-XLP in more colors this weekend (Feb 6-7) at the Minneapolis Healthy Life Expo, at the Spirit Cyclewear booth. Enjoy the luxurious feel!