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Help!!! Which fabrics should I buy?

March 05 2019 – Mercantile London

Help!!! Which fabrics should I buy?

Help!!! Which fabrics should I buy?



PREFERRED FABRICS - At Mercantile we look to buy as much natural, organic and certified fabric as possible but also understand that its about balance and offering a selection. Heading in the right direction, our philosophy is - transparency is key.   

Wood Wood Adeline sweater 
LINEN (can be grown on rough terrain without chemicals particularly if naturally dyed) It's quite pricey and as it's benefits are more apparent in Summer material, so we don't buy for Winter.


Armedangels Gustaav t-shirt

Wood Wood Jerri sweatshirt

 ORGANIC COTTON (natural, durable, biodegradable) try to purchase organic with less pesticide used and less chemicals if dyed naturally.) It uses a lot of water and whilst organic is better this uses even more land to produce


Armedangels Raayen dress

Armedangels Rosaalie Dress

WOOL (try to use recycled wool, or environmentally friendly options) 50% of wools carbon footprint comes from the burping sheep themselves.

RAYON/VISCOSE ( made from natural wood cellulose under this I am putting tencel, lyocell, modal  but there are a lot more branded fabrics which are really pioneering)  High chemical levels to produce also uncertified wood use is creating deforestation


People Tree Esther Dress

Armedangels Tymaan shirt


We as a company go steady on buying silk as cruelty free silk is expensive, we are buying less cashmere due to over-farming,  we don't buy fur but we do buy leather footwear and accessories but not generally of Indian origin, we have recycled and off cut options. We try to buy footwear from Europe where we can.

Wood Wood Uma T-shirt

Options are generally becoming better and we are working hard to bring you the best viable alternatives out there.  Sometimes we wont bring you the naturally dyed eco cotton option from a brand as its carbon footprint is too high in shipping it around the world and sometimes its like getting blood from a stone in that the supply base isn't as transparent as we'd like, but things are changing and we are trying to do our best whilst remaining competitive and being one of the few independents surviving on our High Street.


Wood Wood Mel Top


RELUCTANT BUYS -  there are some fibres that we do not buy and some that we buy with reluctance due to them doing a necessary job, or having few options. Very much like our food intake sometimes we cant afford the organic alternative, sometimes just a little of something that we know has a larger carbon footprint but all told we are trying to introduce a strategy where we can offer more of the best product at the right prices.  


  • NYLON - is a bit of a killer fibre, if the quality remained the same as when it was invented in the 1930's we wouldn't have quite such a problem with it. Made from petroleum its pricier to produce than polyester so mills have been trying to bring the prices down with lower and lower grades of the stuff.  So low that the charity shops don't even want those five year old trackie bottoms to send to Africa!  The big thing with Nylon is that unlike polyester most of it isn't even recyclable. That said we are not telling you not to wear tights or stretchy items that require this amazing fabric, just try to use less of it.


  • POLYESTER -  we try to avoid polyester where we can, pleated skirts for example need a synthetic base to permanently pleat, you cant permanently pleat cotton or silk for example. Our philosophy is once again balance.


  • ACRYLIC -  we particularly hate acrylic as again its made from petrol and a lot of chemicals but its used in knitwear in two ways. One its blended, the yarns of wool, cashmere and acrylic are blended to give a different texture a soft hand feel and a strong and durable lasting finish.  Dilemma! We would rather buy a blended sweater that is going to last for years, not get eaten by moths and and becomes your firm favourite because its warm and soft and wears well.  We are aware that cashmere is expensive, wool can be itchy and synthetics harmful.  Again we go the mid road and here blends are quite handy.


Below is a little link


Iden Virginia Boyfriend Jean

All of the garments in our store and on the site our listed with their compositions if you have any queries at all about this please ask us its a minefield of information but we are here to help make the right decisions for yourself.



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