Plant-based fibers (cellulose)
Cellulose fibers are plant-based fibers made of branches, leaves, or other parts of a plant. These ancient fibers have been used already 34.000 (!) years ago for clothing, furniture, isolation and food.
Hemp-based textiles are made of the Cannabis sativa plant. As with linen, the stem of the plant is used for the textile. Hemp is a very strong and breathable material. Sailors’ ropes were made of hemp before synthetic materials replaced them. Other parts of the plant, such as the roots are used for medicine or paper. The seeds can be used for replanting the plant or for food supplements such as oils. Hemp is also widely used as a hallucinative and psychoactive substance, however the Cannabis sort that is grown for fibers does not contain enough THC to be used as a drug. Because of the wide variety of uses, hemp is one of the least wasted sorts of fibers. It is also a CO2 negative plant, which means that it removes CO2 from the atmosphere and holds it for a long time. When the plant is cut down, very little of the CO2 is released, making the plant sustainable for farming.Linen
Linen is a natural fiber from the flax plant and the oldest fiber discovered by archeologists. Flax grows all over the world, also in Europe and The Netherlands. The inside stem of the flax plant is used to make fiber from the plant. Linen is a very light and breathable fabric therefore perfect for a summer dress, a light coat, or a blouse. Linen does wrinkle but after 3-4 washings the material becomes softer and does not wrinkle as much as when it was new. The flax seeds are used as a food supplement. They are full of Omega 3 fats and can be added to salads and yogurt bowls.
Animal-based fibers (protein)Biodegradable: Yes
Angora woolAngora wool is made from the fur of Angora rabbits. These animals have extremely thin, soft, and warm fur. They produce very little wool per year. Because of this, Angora wool is one of the most expensive sorts of wool there is.However, there are many ethical concerns regarding wearing Angora wool. Most Angora rabbits are plucked alive without any sedatives. As a result, the rabbits die from stress while being plucked. Besides, these animals are kept in small cages that often never see any daylight. In the last couple of years, many brands have stopped using Angora wool in their collection because of animal cruelty. However, there are still brands using this type of wool, so check the labels to avoid them.
Silk is made by the silkworm when the worm creates a cocoon. Production of silk was developed in ancient China around 9.000 years ago. The cocoon is boiled to make silk thread. During this process, the worm is still inside the cocoon, being boiled alive. A single thread, which can become hundreds of metres long, requires 30-40 cocoons at the same time. Silk is one of the finest and most luxurious fibers. It is mostly used in formal wear, such as blazers, pantaloons, dresses, suits, but also in lingerie. It has a cooling effect, making it an ideal material for summer dresses, blouses and light jackets.
A great alternative for silk is Tencel (Read more in the semi-synthetic fibre section). Our silk products are made from organic silk: Organic silk (aka raw silk) is created without the use of any chemicals or treatments using insecticides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. The silkworms are allowed to live out their full lives and die naturally.
Leather and suede are made of skins of sheep, cow or other domesticated animals. Leather can be a waste product of the meat industry but there are cows kept especially for their leather (as in the case of Italian leather). Leather is a very flexible material, it can be used as a hard basis for shoes but it can also be softened by chemical processes.
Leather is a very durable and also waterproof material. Because it is made of a natural, animal-based material, it is also compostable, however the chemicals used during the process to soften and dye the leather make it harder to decompose. Suede is made of the underside of the animal skin, which makes it softer. It has a napped effect that makes the material less durable yet softer than leather.
In Palanta’s collection you can find a leather alternative: Vegan Leather items.
Fur & exotic leathers
Viscose/RayonViscose and rayon are fibers made of wood pulp, usually beech wood or other agricultural wood waste. The wood becomes soft enough to spin fiber from it in a chemical process. A lot of trees need to be cut down for viscose production, creating a debate that bridges deforestation with the usage of natural materials instead of synthetic ones. Viscose has the same characteristics as silk or wool. It can mimic the material very well, which makes it a vegan variant.
TencelTencel is quite a new material, made of eucalyptus wood. Eucalyptus can be cut down but will regrow again from the same stem, making it sustainable to harvest. Tencel uses a chemical process as well, however, it has developed a closed-loop system where the chemicals can be used multiple times before dissolving them. Tencel has the same characteristics as silk, if not better. It is a very soft and light material, however, it is surprisingly warm in the winter months as well.