As we begin 2022, one thing is very clear: finding more sustainable options in our lives and our businesses is no longer a choice, it’s a must. The great news is that upholstery is one of the most eco-friendly crafts on the planet. After all, what could be greener than saving a tired piece of furniture from the scrapheap and giving it a new lease of life?
While there is still some way to go before upholstery can claim to be a truly carbon neutral profession, I am seeing more and more manufacturers up their ‘green’ game, helping us in turn to work towards a more planet-friendly future. Here’s my pick of the top five fabric brands…
1) Kirkby Design
Kirkby Design recently launched The Sustainable Collection – four ranges that aim to reduce the impact on the environment without compromising on quality. Made of environmentally conscious, sustainable materials such as 100% PET recycled polyester from waste plastic bottles, recycled wool, recycled acrylic and TENCEL Lyocell, each fabric is fully recyclable. This means they can be repurposed for future use and are therefore ‘circular’ in nature. The brand has also pledged to donate a percentage of its proceeds to support environmentally important charitable causes. This is seriously clever innovation and the result is a great mix of user-friendly fabrics.
2) Linwood Fabrics
Linwood Fabrics has always been known for straddling the worlds of creativity and innovation and its chemical-free collection, Verde, is woven with 80 percent recycled cotton. Beautiful as well as eco-friendly, it uses offcuts from the fashion industry and in the process saves water and energy. Chemical free and double brushed, there are 46 plains in the comprehensive palette and it’s wonderfully soft on both sides. Equally, the Mismi range uses just the right proportion of sustainable wool to provide natural fire retardancy and doesn’t scrimp on style with its South American inspired patterns.
“I am seeing more and more manufacturers up their ‘green’ game, jump on board and work toward a more planet-friendly future.”
3) Arley House
Arley House already has a sustainable edge, with its made-to-order methods, meaning its manufacturing process results in zero waste. But still, it’s determined to do more. Arley House CEO, Adrian Tratalos, told me, “We are finding our customers increasingly more aware of eco sustainability issues and in turn take those views extremely seriously. At Arley House, we print all fabric to order and hold no stock, therefore create zero waste. However, we are determined to go further.” The company is currently testing several recycled fabrics and will be launching a range of fully recycled base cloths that can be printed with any Arley House design in the future.
Camira is a company that has been well ahead of the pack on the eco game, championing style AND substance as part of philosophy. In fact, it has 20 years of manufacturing recycled fabrics under its belt. It’s clear the company puts it heart and soul into making fabrics with a real sense of responsibility for the bigger picture; from the raw materials it uses, to its manufacturing processes. Nettle, hemp, flax, wool and even silk are among the natural and rapidly renewable contents that are blended by its design and technical teams to make beautiful, inherently flame-retardant textiles.
With its original designs and high-end finishes, it would be easy to assume that a company like Blackpop would be extraordinarily expensive and not too concerned with its carbon footprint. Quite the opposite though. While its beautiful, opulent collections are breath-taking, they can also claim an eco-conscience. Blackpop velvets are digitally printed in the UK using environmentally sustainable water based inks and made from plastic drinking water bottles diverted from landfills, proving you don’t have to sacrifice style to be sustainable.
In the words of Sir David Attenborough (because, let’s face it, who could say it better), “We need to rediscover how to be sustainable and move from being apart from nature, to becoming a part of nature once again.” As upholsterers, we are already leading the charge in the circular economy but if we could all make some extra small adjustments in the way we do our upholstery and the materials we choose, just imagine what a difference we could make.
Have you got an upholstery project you need advice on? Drop me a line for an initial, no-obligation quote by filling in the online contact form. Alternatively, you can email me directly at email@example.com or call me on 07764 182 783.