In the perpetual search for cruelty-free, cold-weather suits with a small carbon footprint (livestock-free), it’s rare to find really stylish options. Alter’s Men Shop has just received these Shades of Grey Suiting suits for $310- tailored, classic and modern in a poly-rayon blend.

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The perfect suit? Pick Your Poison:

http://i0.wp.com/www.lostbattalions.com/pix/RayonDiagram.jpg?resize=168%2C228♣ It’s no secret that making Rayon is a polluting process involving lye (NaOH) and and carbon disulfide, unless contained in a closed-loop system like TENCEL ® Lyocell, where 99.5% of the chemicals are contained and recycled again and again in the factory. It’s also no secret that Polyester is a petroleum product (PET) – the smae material used to make plastic water bottles. The process itself, in which polymers are synthesized at 270º Fahrenheit, a lot of polluting off-gassing occurs (even when using recycled polyesters). There are less damaging polys like Eco-Intelligent® Polyester, a registered trademark of Victor Innovatex, is a polyester that’s made using a more eco-friendly process, and using more eco-friendly ingredients. This has resulted in a polyester that can be recycled indefinitely, without losing it’s original quality.

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♣ A common assumption is that wool, because it’s “natural” is a more eco-friendly option for something like suiting. But when we look at the staggering impact that livestock like sheep have on ecosystems and climate change, the fabric itself canhttp://i1.wp.com/blurringborders.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/herd-of-sheep.gif?resize=358%2C243 not be isolated as a benign product. Until we figure out a way to grow hair without a living, feeling, grazing land-mammal attached to it, the wool comes with the sheep. According to the United Nations: “The world’s sheep population is just over one billion – one for roughly every six people. Nearly half are in Asia and the Near and Middle East. Sheep are the species with the highest number of recorded breeds – contributing 25 percent to the global total for mammals.” (source). The impact that livestock (including sheep) has on the environment, from the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization is enormous:
http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html. In New Zealand, which has approx. 48 million sheep, methane emissions from enteric fermentation, coming mostly from sheep, constitute almost 50% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. (source). Then there is the ethical implications of raising sheep for wool: Live Export & Ultra-Fine Wool production. Thankfully, mulesing – a barbaric practice is being phased out. I hope this provides some clarity in the desire to avoid using any wool for any reason.

♣ The most sustainable option is to purchase a vintage/thrift suit and bring it to a tailor to have it adjusted and modernized to fit you and your style. This may also be the most affordable option.

♣ All things considered, if buying a new suit, I’d still opt for a poly-rayon suit for cold weather (organic cotton just won’t cut it for cold climates). But fear not -The Discerning Brute and Brave GentleMan will soon be making our own line of sustainable, warm, and modern tailored suits that are fairly-made, sustainable, and cruelty-free! Stay tuned…