The Mindful Journal


Natural Vs Synthetic Fibres


Today we are going to take a close look at the benefits and disadvantages of common fibres – both natural and synthetic – in order to determine what the best choices are when it comes to the health of our planet.

Fibres are used to create fabrics through a three-step process of spinning, weaving, finishing, and are the basis for all textiles! Natural fibres are those that come from animals, plants or minerals, whereas synthetic fibres are those that are man-made. There are many differences between the two in relation to origin, production and the impact that their existence has on our environment.

Natural Fibres

Cotton, linen and wool are arguably the most popular natural fibres in the present day. Cotton and linen are both taken from plants, whereas wool comes from sheep.


Cotton is most commonly used to make shirts, jeans and towels. It is breathable, durable and quite absorbent. It can be both washed and ironed, but it does crease easily.

As we explored in a previous article, cotton production is not considered to be sustainable as cultivating cotton is damaging to the environment. Click here to read more about this.


Linen is made from the fibres that grow inside the stalk of the flax plant. Similarly to cotton, linen is most often used to make clothes and towels, and is also breathable, durable and absorbent.

The environmental impact of manufacturing linen is heavy as pesticides are generally used on regular flax plants. In order to alleviate this impact you may consider only buying organic linen.


Wool is acquired from sheering sheep. It is useful for making clothes because it is great for regulating the body temperature when worn. Lighter wool garments are a good choice in the summer for staying cool, and heavier items can be worn to stay warm in the winter months.

There is much debate as to whether sheering sheep is cruel or not, and certain groups of people (such as vegans) will avoid wearing wool garments. In addition to the cruelty concerns, the environmental implications of raising livestock should also be considered. Insecticides are often used on the animals themselves to keep pests at bay, and sheep may overgraze, leading to a disruption of the natural eco-system.

Synthetic Fibres

Man-made synthetic fibres are usually manufactured through chemical processing and this can be quite taxing on the environment. Nylon and polyester are among the most widely used synthetic fibres today.

Natural vs Synthetic Fibres PAMALondon2


Nylon has been around since the 1930’s and is often hailed as the world’s most useful synthetic material. As a plastic it is used in many of the products that we use every day, and as a fabric it is used in rugs, swimming shorts and umbrellas – among other quick drying items!

It is important to be aware of the fact that nylon is not biodegradable, and will therefore exist indefinitely. Nylon also requires a great deal of energy to be manufactured*, and nitrous oxide is released into the air during production, contributing massively to global warming.


This synthetic fibre is derived from water, petroleum, coal and air*. It has been in existence since the late 1930’s but wasn’t available until several years later. It is used for clothes, home furnishings and also for making everyday objects, such as bottles. It is s good choice for clothes because it is generally wrinkle free.

Polyester has a significant environmental impact and production of this synthetic fibre calls for approximately 70 billion barrels of oil each year. This is both carbon-intensive and non-renewable! Polyester is not biodegradable and is a huge pollutant in our oceans.

As you can see, there are consequences for the environment when it comes to both natural and synthetic fibres, although the impact of natural fibres is less drastic. It is important that we as a society continue to make moves towards sustainability with the fabrics that we choose – a concept that we are especially interested in at PAMA London. Check back soon to find out more!

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Alternative Sustainable Fabrics


More and more people are waking up to the fact that the production of the clothes that they love is damaging our environment. In order to protect the planet, the future of the clothing industry undoubtedly has to move into the hands of sustainable fabrics!

At PAMA London we are big fans of the incredible potential of bamboo for manufacturing fabrics, and this is evident from its use throughout our collections. Bamboo is an incredibly durable and easily renewable natural resource. Some of the main reasons that it is used for clothing production are that it is antibacterial and makes for a breathable fabric.

How Sustainable?

When considering how sustainable a fabric is, it is important to not only look at how it is grown and cultivated, but also how it is transported and processed. Every part of the journey contributes to how sustainable these fabrics actually are, and how much better for the environment they are when compared to conventional fabrics.

The Best Sustainable Fabrics

In addition to charcoal bamboo, there are some other fantastic resources that can be utilised to produce high quality sustainable clothing.


Lyocell, which is also commonly known as tencel, is a man-made fibre created from wood pulp. The technology used to manufacture lyocell is award-winning innovation, and is considered to be a serious achievement in the world of environmentally friendly textiles.

It is a completely non-toxic process and the eucalyptus trees used for production are always grown using sustainable farming practices. The fabric itself is super absorbent, meaning that if the use of dye is required then less is needed than with other more conventional fabrics.

Post-use, lyocell is biodegradable and therefore won’t leave a mark on the planet once you no longer have use for your garment.


Hemp fabric is made from a part of the cannabis sativa plant, which is a plant that is quick and easy to grow. The rapid growth time means that less water is required and also that the grower has to wait less time for the plant to reach maturity.

When hemp plants are growing, they will not require any additional irrigation than what nature already provides, and the entire process will usually be organic! Similarly to lyocell, hemp is entirely biodegradable.


Linen is a fabric that is made from naturally occurring fibres taken from the flax plant. Production of the flax plant is a fairly simple process and can be grown on land that currently has little agricultural value, such as land that has poor soil. In keeping with the other fabrics mentioned, linen is also biodegradable.

Organic Cotton

Farmers of organic cotton use crop rotation instead of chemicals to ensure that their plants reach their potential. The soil used to grow organic cotton cotton will be deliberately rich with compost in order to enhance growth.

With chemical-free crops, there is always the risk of attracting insects, which can of course be problematic. Organic cotton farmers usually utilise castor-oil traps that insects will stick to, and will also often use natural pesticides.

During the first growth cycle, cotton will require a large amount of water, with the production of 1kg of cotton needing approximately 20,000 litres of water. With organic cotton, the amount of water needed will decrease after the first few years, and the soil will retain many of the nutrients it receives. When we consider that 25% of pesticide use in the world is for conventional cotton production, we can see why its organic counterpart is the only way forward!

In addition to being biodegradable, making it safer for the planet, organic cotton production is (of course!) free from chemicals, meaning the farming environment is safer for workers too.

Avoiding the use of fabrics that are harmful to our planet is a step towards helping to protect it! Check out the range of clothes on offer from PAMA London to begin revolutionising your wardrobe!

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Namaste Journal



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Follow Your Intentions

The first part of namaste comes from "namaha," a Sanskrit verb that originally meant "to bend." Bending is a sign of submission to authority or showing some respect to some superior entity." Over time, "namaha" went from meaning "to bend" to meaning "salutations" or "greetings." The "te" in namaste means "to you," Deshpande says. So all together, namaste literally means "greetings to you." In the Vedas, namaste mostly occurs as a salutation to a divinity.