Textiles consist of fibres that bring with them different requirements and challenges in terms of sustainability or health, depending on the type of fibre. The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles distinguishes between natural and man-made fibres.
Natural fibres are mainly subdivided into vegetable fibres and animal fibres. Cotton is one of the vegetable fibres. Animal fibres are virgin wool or silk.
Man-made fibres are, taking into account the production process and the material of the fibres, divided into three groups:
- Man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCF, chemically, technically produced cellulosic fibres),
- Synthetic fibres (chemically, technically produced fibres, mostly based on coal or oil) and
- Synthetic fibres from regrowing resources, also known as protein fibres.