Many brands, labels, and designers are forgoing animal materials in favor of more ethical and sustainable fabrics, and Indian entrepreneur Gowri Shankar is looking to make your sweaters and knits cruelty-free. Shankar, the founder of Faborg has developed a vegan wool alternative that is both eco-friendly and compassionate. 'Weganool' s a new vegan material derived from Calotropis, a flowering milkweed-like plant native to Asia and Northern Africa that produces a plant-based wool-like textile with a soft sheen. When spun with 70 percent organic cotton, the Calotropis fiber becomes a luxurious, cozy material comparable to cashmere.

Weganool May be the Most Sustainable Vegan Fabric

The fabric is also foraged from the wild, requiring no water or pesticides, and production is done chiefly by hand, empowering rural economies. Any leftover fibers from production are used to make AKRA, a bio-nutrient and insect repellent, making this material zero waste. Weganool is also dyed with natural plant dyes,

In an interview with The Better India, Shankar told the media site about how he came to create the fabric, saying, "I was just casually staring outside the window one afternoon in April and I noticed something. There were about 10 to 15 sunbirds surrounding this bush and they were making a nest using this particular fiber. It really got me thinking if this is natural fiber could be transformed into a textile.”

“In the olden days, the plant extract was used for its insect repelling qualities. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. We also found that this shrub naturally grew in soil that was stripped off nutrients and needed less water to survive. Moreover, we also found that over time, it enriched the soil in which it grew and helped plants growing near it flourish,” Shankar explains.

Weganool is now commercially available in Europe after the fabric's debut at London's Future Fabric Expo. For more information visit Faborg's website here.

More From The Beet