Top 10 Trends in Custom Patch Materials and Sustainability

The fashion and apparel industry has gained widespread notoriety for its tendency to produce excessive waste. However, in recent years, many players within the industry have invested significant efforts into sustainability and green fashion trends. 

For designers and manufacturers of custom patches, sustainability, and eco-friendly innovations are fast becoming central themes in how they produce patches for apparel and accessories. This is achieved through various methods such as the use of biodegradable materials, creative upcycling and other green fashion trends. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the latest sustainability trends in the custom patch production industry. 

Recycled Materials

Instead of using new materials from scratch each time, patch makers are starting to adopt the use of recycled materials in their production. One of the most common trends in this regard is the use of polyester threads made from recycled plastic products. This type of thread can be used for both woven and embroidered patches. 

In addition to being sustainable, recycled materials are also cheaper to use. For instance, you can make custom patches from old ones or recycle products that did not pass quality inspection the first time. This reduces environmental waste from the custom patch production process quite significantly. 

Organic Cotton

Another sustainability trend that is catching on quickly is to print or weave custom embroidery patches sustainably onto organic cotton material. This is a greener alternative to traditional cotton which is typically produced using several chemicals such as chlorine, and chemical dyes. 

Organic cotton is grown and processed with safer and environmentally friendly methods. For instance, instead of chemical dyes and whiteners, this type of cotton is processed using natural or water-based dyes. Consequently, this type of cotton is not only softer and gentle on the skin, but it is also better for the environment. 

Biodegradable Materials

As the name suggests, biodegradable materials will break down naturally over time instead of staying for decades in a landfill. These days, manufacturers are starting to favor materials like PLA (polylactic acid) made from cellulose in creating custom patches. This type of fabric is durable, and when it eventually goes out of use, it doesn’t fill up the landfill like other materials do since it breaks down over time. 

Textiles Deadstock 

Another way custom patch manufacturers recycle or upcycle materials for production is to make use of textile deadstock. These are leftover fabrics from mills. Instead of allowing these fabrics to end up in the landfill, they can be upcycled into custom biker patches and other patch variants, keeping them in use for many more years to come.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are known for their durability and breathability. They are also biodegradable in the long run. The production process of natural fibers like hemp, cork or bamboo is more gentle on the environment compared to chemical alternatives. This makes them a more eco-friendly option for making custom patches. 

Velcro Patch Backings 

Sustainability is one of the many benefits of peel-and-stick patches made with Velcro backing materials. Unlike other patch backing options that can only be used for one apparel or accessory, velcro backings are easy to attach and remove, allowing endless reconfiguration for different purposes. This reduces the need to produce multiple patches for different purposes and also helps to break the “take, make, dispose” model, which is quite wasteful. 

Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation is an environmentally friendly process that is fast becoming popular in the garment printing and production industry. Unlike screen-printing which requires copious amounts of water to dye, the Sublimation method turns solid directly into gas, meaning no water is needed for dyeing. In addition to the impact on wastage, this method also reduces the risk of water pollution or groundwater contamination. It is also safer for workers and produces zero waste, which makes it eco-friendly. 


In custom patch production, cutting felt, leather, and other materials is one of the steps that generates a lot of waste. One of the ways modern manufacturers are looking to combat such wastage is to adopt laser cutting. This innovative approach allows the creation of intricate designs with great precision. This reduces waste while also providing a clean look for the final product.  It’s a more sustainable alternative to traditional cutting methods that typically require excess material for handling.

Digital Design and Printing

Utilizing digital design tools is another way custom patch manufacturers minimize waste during production. Instead of creating physical prototypes, digital designs can be made first and shared with the client for review. The batch production only begins after the digital design has been reviewed and approved. This reduces the risk of errors and multiple reproductions associated with physical prototypes. In addition, the adoption of digital printing techniques during custom patch production has also proven to be more energy-efficient compared to traditional methods.

Optimizing Production Equipment and Processes 

Another trend that has been helping custom patch manufacturers achieve sustainability is the optimization of production environments in a way that reduces energy consumption and wastage. 

One of the ways to achieve this is by investing in energy-star-rated machinery designed to meet strict energy efficiency standards. This can include embroidery machines, laser cutters, and printing presses. In addition to being sustainable, these optimized machines will also reduce production costs in the long run. Proper equipment maintenance can also help ensure optimal performance and reduce energy waste. 

Batch Processing is another production approach that has proven helpful in cutting wastage. By producing similar patch orders together instead of individually, manufacturers can reduce production costs and energy consumption, which is better for the environment. 


In an era characterized by widespread environmental consciousness, infusing sustainable practices into custom patch manufacturing is the least manufacturers can do. As described above, this process involves several moving wheels from modifying the entire production process to embracing new material choices. In their little way, makers of embroidered patches are contributing their quota to creating a greener and more sustainable fashion industry. 

At The/Studio, we prioritize sustainable custom patch production as well. We are committed to sustainable practices, and we are committed to the adoption of innovative methods or materials that help achieve modern green-fashion goals. Contact us to learn more about our durable and sustainable custom patches. 


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