Why should you check garments' composition? - Manteco

Why should you check garments' composition?

Discover what's behind garments' composition and how to make informed, conscious and responsible purchases

When purchasing new garments, most of consumers consider their look, hand feel and - last but not the least - price, but what about the actual quality?

It goes without saying that nobody wants ripping seams, popping buttons, pilling fabrics or color fades, in short, a garment that is bound to be thrown away after a short time. Whether a garment is durable or not totally depends on all of its different components and how they work together: the fabric it is made of, the seams, the lining, the tailoring and even smaller details like buttons and pockets.

Fabrics are the most important component of garments

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No matter how beautiful the details or how well-crafted the seams are, a garment made from a low quality fabric is never a good addition to any wardrobe. Designers tend to focus on aesthetics; however, sometimes they might have missed to consider the materials. From fabric to fiber, every part is crucial to the outcome of a piece of clothing. There is one way to discover if the garment you are purchasing is valuable in this regard: checking its fibre content.


Fabrics' composition is an important quality indicator of your garment

Generally speaking, consumers have shown an increasing awareness on garments’ composition and their different impacts. Nowadays, clothes are made from a wide range of different materials, from natural ones, such as cotton, to man-made ones, such as polyester, acrylic, you name it. It is said that natural fibres are typically associated with quality and luxury, and that they’re always superior to synthetic ones. But this is something of a cliche, since quality is becoming, in part, a matter of what you need the garment to do and how it best can do it. Anyway, the best way to see if you are paying a fair price for your garment is checking wether your garment’s fabric is a blend or not; and – more importantly – what kind of blend.

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Let's see the pros & cons of fiber blends

Nowadays, there is a great variety of animal, vegetal, man-made and synthetic fibers available, but none of them are perfect in one way or other. They all have some good, fair and poor technical characteristics. Man’s desire, to produce perfect fabrics or yarns resulted in the creation of “blends” – A mixture of two or more fibers that are spun together.

Brands use blended fabrics – or yarns – to combine different fibers’ properties and:

  • To improve the appearance of a fabric, such as texture, color, and tone

  • To improve the quality of a fabric, such as durability, strenght, comfort, and texture

  • To improve the ease of handling a fabric, such as to be sewed or retaining its shape


Here’s a breakdown of what the most common fibers bring to a blend:

  • Spandex/Elastane adds elasticity and comfort,

  • Polyester gives wash and wear benefits, increases wrinkle resistance, shape retention, durability

  • Rayon improves moisture absorbency, attracts less static and adds luster.

  • Acrylic improves softness

  • Acetate adds luster, shine and improves drapeability.

  • Cotton lessens static, increases absorbency, comfort, and dye-ability.

  • Wool adds warm and bulk, helps retain shape, increases absorbency and wrinkle resistance.

  • Silk adds comfort, luster, and prestige.

  • Angora hair adds fluffiness.


However, most of the time, blends are used to reduce costs by mixing expensive natural fibers with synthethic and cheaper ones, thus producing lower quality garments. For example, have you ever happened to see a “Wool Coat” that is not made with 100% wool or a “Wool Blend Coat” that contains just a small percentage of wool mixed with cheaper synthethics (Nylon, polyester, acrylic)? These are the things that consumers must watch out for, in order to be aware of what they buy and be sure to pay a fair price.

Discover all the fibers that are used in fashion, and be aware of their value

Fibers are raw materials that can be converted into yarns and fabrics; they can easily be classified into 3 types: natural fibers, man-made fibers and synthetic fibers. Natural fibers consist of both animal (protein-based) and plant (cellulose) fibers. Animal fibers derive from the hair, fur or secretion of animals, while plant fibers derive from various parts of plants. Man-made fibers derive from natural resources and go through an intensive chemical transformation. Synthetic fibers are developed through polymerization – a chemical process combining small molecules into polymers. Animal fibers are usually the most expensive ones, together with precious plant fibers like Flax and superior quality cottons (ex: Supima); while man-made fibers and – especially – synthethic fibers are cheaper.

About Manteco, Italian premium textiles and circularity since 1943

After decades in the fashion world, in 2018, we have created the Manteco Academy project, through which we  give webinars, in-person lessons and workshops on eco-design, circular economy and sustainability to numerous fashion schools, technical universities and brands worldwide. Thanks to this educative commitment and our heritage, we are often invited as guest speaker at events, panels, podcasts and conferences about sustainable fashion and circular economy.

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