4 Reasons Kenaf is a Great Fabric for Sustainable Fashion


With the cotton industry floundering in sustainability issues, it is surprising that viable alternatives continue to remain relatively unknown, or at the very least, unused. One such option is kenaf, a fiber I personally had only heard about recently.

While this material in textiles is not exactly a new idea (it’s use dates back as far as ancient Egypt- around 1,000 B.C.) it’s popularity has been slow to spread. However, the natural properties of the plant make it an option to consider for designers sourcing sustainable materials.

4 Reasons Kenaf is a Great Fabric for Sustainable Fashion


The kenaf plant grows extremely quickly. For us, this means there is far less danger of over-harvesting or driving it to extinction in order to keep up with production demands. When planted in locations that don’t freeze over, it can even be grown all year round.


Kenaf can be grown in many places all over the world, including throughout the United States, making it a prime candidate for use by local fiber and textile producers.


The carbon footprint left by the cultivation and processing of the fiber is nearly invisible. To grow, Kenaf is pretty low-maintenance: it needs very little water and almost no pesticides or fertilizer. It is biodegradable as well, and is used for this purpose in textiles and plastics. As an added bonus, the plant actively improves the areas it’s grown in; it absorbs more CO2 than either pine or rain forests (and could potentially produce ten to twenty times more fiber!)

High Quality

Kenaf fibers have a long staple, meaning very fine and strong yarn can be spun. This makes for quality textiles. The hand of the resulting fabric is similar to linen (they come from the same plant family) albeit a bit coarser. Kenaf textiles are also naturally very absorbent, and even fire-retardant, making it especially ideal for outerwear or shoes.

Jessica Bucci

Jessica has been trained in a wide variety of textile and fiber processes, traditional as well as computer-aided, which she uses in both her design and sculptural work. Jessica has also served as a teaching assistant for beginning weavers and drawers.

  1. Joe Hart

    Aloha Jessica, Wondering if you still working or interested in Kenaf?? http://www.kencoind.com , I have plenty and would be very interested in talking with you about producing a kenaf clothing line.

  2. Sese


    Your project is very inspiring and very motivating. I live in UK and I wish I could find something that accessible.

    I decided to be bold and ask you for some advices. I am not working directly working in clothes fashion but in home fashion.

    I am a young entrepreneur in UK. I am currently working to launch a design duvet cover.
    I am not from a fashion industry background but I have full of ideas in my head that I have decided to bring into life. I want to contribute to create a bright, full of joy environment in the bedroom.
    I found some great professional to help me with the design. However I am struggling for the raw material sourcing. I really want to develop a eco-friendly brand. Hence I am looking for organic cotton sheeting fabric and some manufacturers that could do custom dying.

    I was wondering if you would have some advice to help me in my sourcing search.

    Thanks for you time and consideration.

    Best regards,

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