Today we found out about FREITAG, a Swiss clothing manufacturer, who is now introducing entirely compostable fabrics to their customers. In the fabrication of “F-ABRIC” clothes, they utilize only material that can entirely disintegrate itself when composted and therefore offers a sustainable means of reducing the amount of waste.
You might have already heard about the FREITAG brothers, Markus and Daniel, who design clothes and accessories often by reutilizing textiles and giving them a second life. Inspired by godmother Margreth Freitag, they have worked hard to produce clothing, which is able to be fully composted after their live as your shirt or pants. The exact term for this is biodegradable clothing.
Biodegradability, compostability and ecotoxicity
Just to give you an example, clothes made of the material polyester can take up to 100 years in order to fully “disappear”. Even more natural materials, such as cotton, still takes about six months. The new F-ABRIC clothes by FREITAG are made of highly compost-friendly materials such as hemp, linen and modal, a material won from beech tree. The F-ABRIC clothes are fully dissolved within 3 months, but don’t worry, that can only happen in a composting environment. FREITAG is strongly against the use of cotton in clothing and highlights their five reasons against using it.
Design and colors
As there is no bleaching and no chemistry involved, the color selection of F-ABRIC clothes is logically limited to natural tones. This is however quite trend and should not be considered as a negative aspect to this. As decorative and functional elements of the clothes need to be also dissolvable FREITAG utilizes cellulose for the thread and ivory nut for most of the buttons.
The one aspect that is not dissolvable like the rest of the product is the top button of the pants. However they had a very good idea to tackle that as well. They made them out of metal and designed them to be replaceable too. That way you only have to buy the button once and can use them on more than once pants. You buy them separately.
No more donations?
Some people have raised remarks like this would reduce the amount of clothes being donated, to areas of the world where they rely on donations of used clothing. However the production of fully compostable clothing does not mean they cannot be donated to such areas at any time. It just means that they can easily get rid of the waste after use. If you donate clothes to such places, which cannot dissolve or only in very long time, you shift your waste problem to them. That’s not a generous act, that’s just short-term thinking.
F-ABRIC is not low-budget collection. FREITAG is known for producing well-made and environmentally friendly products and that does not compete with discount retailers. Pants of this collection cost $245, normal shirts cost $195, and t-shirts cost $80. While it is clear that the product is worth the price, you have to decide yourself what you can and want to afford. I’d rather wear FREITAG pants for that pricing than buying 10 pants of ethically and ecologically questionable origin.
In 1993, graphic designers Markus and Daniel Freitag were looking for a functional, water-repellent and robust bag to hold their creative work. Inspired by the multicolored heavy traffic that rumbled through the Zurich transit intersection in front of their flat, they developed a messenger bag from used truck tarpaulins, discarded bicycle inner tubes and car seat belts. This is how the first FREITAG bags took shape in the living room of their shared apartment – each one recycled, each one unique. (Text by FREITAG)
YouTube: FREITAG – The road to F-ABRIC