The truth about Polyester

In the world of textiles, polyester often gets a bad rap and while there is a strong sustainability argument to support this bad rap, it’s just not that simple. Synonymous with durability and versatility, this synthetic fibre has been a staple in the fashion industry since its inception in the mid-20th century. Despite its widespread use, there remains a number of lingering misconceptions about polyester. 

The Genesis of Polyester

Polyester's journey began in the 1940s as a wonder fabric that promised to revolutionise the textile industry. It was a modern invention that was durable, wrinkle-resistant and could retain its shape and colour over time. This made it an instant hit. It has evolved over time but some opinions attached to its original teething problems, seem to have stubbornly clung on. Let’s take a look.

Comfort & Breathability

One of the most persistent myths about polyester is its supposed lack of comfort and breathability. This stems from early versions of the fabric, which, while revolutionary, lacked the softness and breathability of natural fibres. Today's polyester is a far cry from its predecessors. Advancements in textile technology have resulted in moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics that rival natural fibres in comfort. High-quality polyester blends offer a soft, comfortable feel suitable for a wide range of climates and activities.

Environmental impact

As a petroleum-based product, it's true that the production of polyester has significant environmental implications. The textile industry is making strides in reducing polyester's environmental footprint through initiatives like recycling PET bottles into polyester fibres, which significantly lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin polyester. In terms of slow fashion, the durability of polyester means it has a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacements and, consequently, waste.

Style & Quality

Polyester was once a lower quality, cheap looking fabric and could never live up to the feel and aesthetic of natural fibres. This belief has lingered somewhat but modern polyester fabrics defy this through high-quality, innovative designs that can mimic the look and feel of natural fibres and offer enhanced functionality. Polyester's versatility allows for a vast range of textures, finishes, and colours, making it a favourite among designers for both high fashion and everyday wear.


While polyester has a reputation for durability, some still believe that it requires certain special treatment to maintain its integrity. Today, polyester is actually one of the easiest fabrics to maintain. It is machine washable, dries quickly, and is highly resistant to wrinkles and shrinking. The low-maintenance makes polyester garments ideal for busy lifestyles.

Sustainable Fashion

The role of polyester in sustainable fashion is complex. While it's criticised for its petroleum-based origins, its durability and potential for recycling offer a path toward sustainability. The fashion industry is exploring innovative approaches to polyester use, including developing bio-based alternatives and enhancing recycling technologies. These efforts aim to make polyester a more sustainable choice for the future.
With an insight into the nuances and differences between old and new polyesters, fashion designers today can utilise this fabric in a more sustainable and responsible manner. Polyester's journey from a revolutionary wonder material to a staple of the fashion industry is testament to its innovation and adaptability. By appreciating how far it has come, we can appreciate polyester's role in both the present and future of fashion.

Our Fashion Design Courses

At our academy, we offer comprehensive fashion design courses that focus on the creative and strategic use of materials like polyester in the design process. Our courses are designed to equip you with a deep understanding of fashion design principles, along with a keen insight into sustainable and innovative practices. Students will learn how to harness the versatility of many fabrics including polyester, to craft designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally conscious and market-relevant.

Why Join Us?

Expert Guidance: Learn from industry professionals who bring real-world experience into lessons.
Hands-On Experience: Gain practical experience with a wide range of fabrics.
Career Opportunities: Prepare for a successful career in fashion design, with the skills to innovate and lead in a rapidly evolving industry.

Our courses are your gateway to Fashion Design, providing the knowledge and skills to push the boundaries of design. Join us on this exciting journey to explore your creative potential and make a lasting impact in the world of fashion. Enrol now and be the change.

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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