I was talking to a buddy the other day about the best ritual attire material (outside of skyclad) to use since we're invoking natural elements and deities, we wanna be respectful. Now I'm a jeans n' t-shirt kinda guy, but if that takes an average 5,000 gallons of water to grow, plus the dyes and polyester blends, maybe I wanna rethink that. Here's the breakdown on the naturals:
COTTON: Versatile, durable. Extremely thirsty (3% global water), typically pesticides, needs lots of land (2% of the globe's arable land). Competition keeps it cheap.
FLAX (LINEN): Super ancient textile (we're talking Paleolithic, but also Romans, Egyptians, etc), durable, versatile, uses much less water and fewer pesticides, can be grown cheaper than cotton. Water-retting (soaking the flax during production) can lead to water pollution, unless contained.
HEMP: Durable, requires less water, almost no pesticides (it can choke other plants out naturally), and less land.
BAMBOO: Durable, comfortable, versatile. Needs little pesticides and regrows incredibly quick. Requires toxic and harmful chemicals for turning it into a fiber, that only a fraction is recovered. As a wood, it's rad! Maybe not as clothing though.
EUCALYPTUS (TENCEL): Durable, requires less land or water, needs little to no pesticides. Pulp is typically FSC-certified sustainable. The wood pulp uses non-toxic chemicals to turn into fiber. Mostly from South Africa.
WOOL: Also ancient, especially among Nordic and northern European communities. Tough, wrinkle-resistant, resilient, absorbs 30% its weight without feeling damp. 50% carbon footprint comes from methane from the sheep, which is 30x more heat-trapping than CO2. Sheep are raised on non-arable land (saves space for crops).
This is all outside of chemical dyes and not including polyester, or man-made fibers. So always consider these options too and opt for plant-based dyes! Or go skyclad - 19 minutes ago