Friday, June 17, 2016

Cotton versus Synthetic Fabrics

The following information is directly from the USDA. My observation has been that when oil prices are low, synthetic fabrics make up the bulk of clothing for sale. When oil prices are high, cotton and natural fabrics come into favor again. --K.M.

U.S. net imports of textile and apparel fiber products increased for a third consecutive calendar year in 2015 to the highest on record, reaching 15.7 billion pounds (raw fiber equivalent), compared with 14.5 billion pounds in 2014. U.S. net imports consist mostly of cotton and manmade fiber products, as demand for linen, wool, and silk products remains relatively small. With manmade fiber imports expanding steadily in recent years, cotton’s share has declined consistently. In 2015, cotton textile and apparel products accounted for 44 percent of the total imports, while manmade fibers contributed nearly 49 percent. By comparison, in 2007, cotton accounted for 56 percent of all textile and apparel imports, while the share of manmade fibers was 37 percent.

Manmade fibers account for a growing share of textile imports

source: USDA


  1. I much prefer natural fibers-- sustainable, less static cling, and compostable when items reach the very end of their lives. Now that so much cotton is GMO I have noticed cotton often reeks of pesticide (eg a hot wet washrag). I guess I'm going to have to switch to organic cotton.

    1. I also love the look of natural fibers, and, natural dyes, too.