Different Materials Used for Clothing Around the World

When it comes to design printing on T-shirts or any fabric for that matter, it is important to know the material you are working with. This is because some methods work great on one material, but would not be of quality to the other. There are many materials used around the world, some of them are common while others tend to be exotic or indigenous to a particular region.

The customized T-Shirt printing business has seen a rise in innovation and market in recent years. E-Commerce has allowed businesses to be operated without having a physical store which in turn gives the owner an opportunity to focus on production. In Singapore, where people mostly use online platforms for such services, rely on MeowPrint T-Shirt Printing for quality prints and the convenience of doing business with them. Also, the advent of new technologies for printing has allowed creativity to be transferred from sketch to cloth seamlessly at a more affordable price than before.

Here are some of the different materials that make up most of the clothing around the world:

Synthetic materials

Synthetic Materials or Synthetic fabrics are made through the use of chemical synthesis. It is now the most commonly used material in clothing. And it doesn’t look like it would change any time soon. A lot of developments have been made in this type of material: fashion, industry, sports and many more. The wide array of products made from this material can be seen in many of the most ordinary things we see daily.

  • Polyester

One of the most popular and widely used materials in synthetic fibers. The most widely known type of polyester is polyethylene terephthalate or PET. It was discovered in the 1930s by DuPont. It is known for its durability, as well as its ability to retain its shape without wrinkling. It is also used because of its water-resistant properties which makes it easy to wash and clean.

  • Nylon
    Nylon has superior flexibility and durability to boot. It was introduced in 1935 and has since replaced silk and other materials because of its use and availability. However, nylon is sensitive to heat and is required to be cooled down to its normal temperature.
  • Acrylic

This has become an alternative to wool in the last decade if not replacing it entirely in some aspects. The fiber is composed of acrylonitrile and a comonomer. The latter allows the material to colored or dyed and ease of the process. It is commonly used in clothing to substitute wool, like socks, rug or warmers. It has the advantage of keeping a wool’s benefit but is lightweight.

  • Spandex

It is widely used in sports and other athletic apparel. Swimsuits and cycling pants have found the benefits of spandex in their events. The popular Dri-Fit fabric is one of the products of spandex material. Spandex is a polyurethane, which makes it highly flexible, the fabric can extend more than 500% of its size keeping its integrity.

  • Rayon

This was originally developed to be a cheaper substitute for silk, but developments in Rayon made it one of the most versatile fabrics in the industry. It is made from a cellulose and processed into making it into Rayon. The fabric has the characteristics of silk, which made it popular in the 1800s, but Rayon is also moisture-absorbent and breathable. This makes Rayon a popular choice for blouses and dresses.

  • Acetate

Like Rayon it is made from cellulose, but it mixed with silk or wool to make it durable and adds structure to the fabric. This fabric is known for its lustrous attributes and its regale characteristics. It is mainly used as drapes and curtains because of its resistance to shrinkage and moisture. 


It is one of the most commonly used materials for clothing in the world if not the most popular. It is extracted from the compound around the seed of a cotton plant and processed into fabric. It is very breathable which makes it popular for T-Shirts and other apparels, it also has high moisture-wicking abilities. It has moderate heat retention and stretchability which makes it very usable for other items other than clothing. 


This material is derived from various animals with hair than can be used for this purpose. Although the most commonly used animals are sheep, a significant number of variant comes from other animals as well. The material has a very high heat retention characteristic that makes it suitable for clothing during the cold months. It has high moisture-wicking capabilities and has a moderate stretchability. Wool is commonly used to make cashmere, sweater, socks, tweed among other popular apparel. The durability and thermal insulating ability of wool makes it applicable to other items and important uses like firefighting gear.


It mainly composed of fibroin, a protein derived from the secretion of insect larvae in the construction of cocoons. Bombyx mori larvae, that lives on mulberry trees, is the most common source for silk. Silk is the strongest natural sourced textile. Although there are many practical uses for silk it is popular because of its softness which historically proves its mercantile value. It is highly breathable and has a low heat retention characteristics. It is popular in making lingerie, gowns, sport coats and other luxurious items.


This material is derived from animal skin or hide that is treated and processed to the type of leather desired. Although there has been an increase in the popularity of faux leather because it doesn’t harm animals, genuine leather still is prized by most consumers. It has high heat retention, which makes it suitable in a relatively cold climate and it’s stain-resistant, as well as durable from cuts and scratches, making it good for upholstery and other uses. Leather is used in bags, jackets, shoes, upholstery and other sports gear.

Bast fiber

It is also known as phloem fiber, a plant fiber extracted from the phloem or bast around the stem of some types of dicotyledonous plants. They used to make linens by people long ago and has since been rarely used today.

Clothing is an integral part of human necessity and it is not going to change anytime soon. The materials have evolved to better serve their purpose in their respective fields. Both in style and function the clothing we wear says something about us and what we do in our daily lives.

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