Textiles illustration by Vecstock

What are T-shirts made of?

In this article, I'll explain the many sorts of materials used to produce t-shirts and answer a question you may have about Ariarta: Are T-shirts cotton?

At the time of writing Ariarta's t-shirts are all made from 100% cotton, and it's a priority for Ariarta to favor natural materials in the garments we offer. In the future, if the clothing catalog expands, notably with the arrival of sweatshirts and hoodies, it will be impossible to offer these products made from 100% cotton for technical and quality reasons; hoodies and sweatshirts will probably be made from 60% cotton and the rest polyester, which will have no practical impact on the quality of the garment.

Most tops sold today are actually made of either cotton or polyester, but there are many other materials available, which we're going to present to you here; the materials used to manufacture clothing can be divided into two main categories:

Natural fabrics:

  1. Cotton
  2. Hemp
  3. Linen
  4. Merino wool
Synthetic fabrics:
  1. Polyester
  2. Elastane
  3. Nylon

Natural fabrics


Cotton is king when it comes to T-shirt materials.

Cotton fabric | Ariarta
Check out our cotton t-shirts.

Indeed, cotton is the most widely used material in the T-shirt industry, not only because it's natural, breathable and comfortable, but also because it's biodegradable and absorbent.

Anyone who wants a wardrobe worthy of the name must have cotton clothes.


Hemp is a tough fabric with a raw feel.

Hemp fabric | Ariarta

Today, hemp-based T-shirts are readily available. This cloth is sustainable, durable yet not particularly soft. To soften hemp, cotton is frequently used with it.


A natural fabric that works well in the summer is linen. It has a textured weave and is made from flax plant fibers.

Linen fabric | Ariarta

Linen is highly durable, light, breathable and quick-drying, making it an ideal companion for long-lasting t-shirts.

Merino wool

Merino wool is prized for its capacity to withstand both heat and cold, as well as for its capacity to dry quickly.

For these reasons, merino wool T-shirts are frequently worn while hiking.

Merino wool t-shirt | Ariarta

Although the merino wool fabric is exceptionally supple and comfy, it occasionally tends to pill.


Synthetic fabrics


While cotton is the king of natural materials, polyester is the king of synthetics.

Polyester fabric | Ariarta

Polyester is a petroleum-based material that is lightweight, durable, moisture-wicking and wrinkle-resistant.

It's a staple of the textile industry.


Elastane gives materials more elastic properties, as its name suggests. 

Elastane T-shirt | Ariarta

The shirt gains "stretch" from the cloth. It is frequently applied to tighten T-shirts (as is frequently the case with athletic T-shirts).


Originally used to make parachute canopies, nylon was the first synthetic fiber used and popularized in the textile industry.

Nylon T-shirt | Ariarta

Its promise was to replace natural materials, as it is stronger and easier to use. That said, nylon is polluting and not as comfortable as jersey made from cotton or other natural materials.


This article has introduced you to the most common materials, but it is by no means exhaustive. Clothes can be made from a mixture of several materials (e.g. cotton and polyester), and there are sub-categories for the same material (such as pima cotton, organic cotton...). It's up to you to find out what materials are used in the garments you're thinking of buying. At Ariarta, we strongly recommend natural and breathable materials.

Discover our 100% cotton t-shirts.

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