I have a few more sources to add to this list—hooray!
Since Karen asked, and since I feel like we’re really on the cusp of something here—a growing interest in how our fabrics are made and where they come from which I very much want to be a part of—these are the suppliers of traceable, sustainable fabrics I’ve found so far.
Fabrics Made in USA
Organic Cotton Plus is probably the most comprehensive source I have so far. They have a big “Made in USA” section of organic cotton fabrics grown and processed here. They carry lots of undyed and colorgrown fabrics, both knit and woven.
Huston Textile Co. uses vintage weaving equipment and partners with Fibershed and Lani’s Lana wool ranch as well as other US suppliers to make local cloth in CA. “Our mission is to provide the highest quality, small-batch and bespoke cloth while sourcing natural fibers from the US to make a truly high-quality American-made product reminiscent of the golden age of textiles.”
Vreseis is the shop of Sally Fox, the pioneer of colorgrown cotton in the US. Everything she does is done with so much thoughtfulness. She’s now raising sheep and wheat to make a true biodynamic farm. Her shop offers a few fabrics, as well as yarns and fiber.
A Verb for Keeping Warm has a small but growing collection of local fabrics, including some from Sally Fox. They also carry some special imported sustainable fabrics, like Khadi cloth from India and naturally dyed batiks. Plus of course their own range of naturally dyed yarns, some of which are made with US wool too!
Tuscarosa Mills is a new company which uses “American organic and Supima cotton, Organic European flax and sustainably grown European hemp to weave fabric in Pennsylvania. We use modern Rapier looms combined with American design, skill, and labor to make quality biodegradable fabric, which serves society and respects our planet.” I’m so excited to see another new US mill committed to sustainable fabrics!
O! Jolly! is a smaller knit-fabric-making operation. Their commitment to sustainability comes through a little more in this interview on Ginger Makes (where I found them). They offer natural-colored and dyed cotton and wool knits, most grown and processed in the US, with specific locations listed.
Fabrics Made Elsewhere
Offset Warehouse carries fabrics from all over, and they are quite transparent about where each fabric comes from and how it was made, if it is certified organic or sustainable, etc. They carry some truly beautiful and low-carbon handwoven/handprinted fabrics from around the world.
Loom & Stars sells handwoven and printed fabrics made in India. “Providing the sewing community with artisan-made fabrics in natural fibers, and inspiring you to create a thoughtful, sustainable wardrobe.”
Gaia Conceptions makes a line of women’s apparel with sustainable fabrics, and offers some of their fabrics for sale, including an organic cotton farmed, ginned and milled in NC, and the option to get your fabric naturally dyed!
Simplifi Fabric has a pretty big section of “eco” and organic fabrics. Some list where they are made and some don’t, and a few are made in the US.
Life Giving Linen sells GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified linen fabrics, as well as linen accessories.
greenfibres is a UK source for organic undyed fabrics, clothing, and household goods.
Hell Gate Fabrics is a venture from Sonja of Ginger Makes, bringing us fabrics made mostly in Japan, where labor and environmental practices are much better than in many other countries producing textiles. She plans to expand her selection of organic fabrics as her suppliers do.
FABSCRAP “These fabrics are recovered from high-end designers in New York City, sold as a sustainable alternative to destruction.” Their online store offers surprise packs of fabric sorted by color and fiber content at very reasonable prices.
halfmoon ALTELIER also has a big list of sustainable fabric sources with some based around the world.
Many of the participants in One Year, One Outfit did their own research and listed resources near them. You can find them here.
If you’re a nerd like me you can also browse the GOTS listings to find businesses making all kinds of things certified under Global Organic Textile Standards wherever you live. I haven’t made any amazing discoveries by doing this yet, but you never know …
My idea was to photograph these fabrics in a way that felt fresh and personal, giving you an idea of what it’s like to wear them, and how fabric like this might be all we need. But yes, I am wearing clothes underneath.
More of the story of the fabrics in these photos: Sometimes, you just ask the right question to the right person, and then there you are. Remember when I was fed up with the NYC garment district, joined up with One Year, One Outfit, and vowed to contact Imperial Stock Ranch because they had made a fashion collection using fabrics from wool grown on their ranch and entirely made in USA? Well, I did. Jeanne Carver, who owns the ranch along with her husband, wrote me back. She had some fabric left from the collection. She offered to sell it to me, so I could offer it to you. I still have a little bit left. Please contact me if you are interested.
The story of the ranch is amazing, and way too much to tell here. Check out this article if you’re curious, which also has some nice pictures of Jeanne and her sheep.
All in all, the list of sustainable fabric sources is not as sparse as I thought it would be going in. One thing is clear to me: we make a difference when we choose to buy our materials with some thought and care as to how they’re made! The more demand there is for sustainable fabric, the more of it there can be.