Nylon is a popular performance fiber.

drop of water sitting on blue synthetic fabric.


Nylon is the commercial name for a group of polyamides that are thermoplastic polymers. Because of their durability and stretchiness, they’re used widely in the fashion and textile industry in activewear, swimwear, and other technical performance garments. Less common than polyester, nylon accounted for around 5% of global fiber production in 2021 according to our Preferred Fiber Materials Market Report.


Like polyester, nylon is a synthetic material.

This means that its production is reliant on fossil-fuel-derived chemicals, which have a negative environmental impact. Nylon is energy-intensive to make and can shed microplastic fibers during production and use. Like garments made from all fiber types, those made of nylon can end up in landfills once they reach the end of their life cycle if there aren’t alternative end-of-life options available.

white nylon fibers.

Finding alternatives to fossil-based fibers.

We’re supporting the fashion and textiles industry in switching to materials that have better environmental and social outcomes than their conventional alternatives. Recycled nylon is usually made from pre-consumer fabric waste or post-consumer materials such as industrial fishing nets, while biobased nylons, produced using renewable raw materials, are seen as another promising alternative.

red and blue nylon ropes and fishing nets.

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Dive deeper into nylon production


Our industry standards for recycled fibers

The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are voluntary global standards that set the requirements for third-party certification of recycled input and chain of custody. Their aim is to increase the use of recycled materials. Understanding the RCS and GRS.

blue and green nylon ropes in a pile.
Materials Production Dashboard

Get the latest data

You can access our latest data on production volume for nylon in our Materials Production Dashboard.

rope bundles.
nets on the back of a boat.
Supplier Spotlight

The best-known recycled nylon product available at the commercial level is ECONYL®, made by Italian manufacturer Aquafil. It’s produced using nylon waste feedstocks from landfills and oceans in a “closed-loop” process and can be recycled indefinitely.

Other Synthetic Fibers


Polyester is the most widely used fiber worldwide.


Biosynthetics are made from natural, renewable resources.

Other Synthetics

Other commonly used synthetics include elastane, polypropylene, polyurethane, and acrylic.