Nylon, a super delicate and finicky fabric for some reason used for critical functions like covering one's legs and parachuting. And camping clothes.
Nylon is another polymer, kind of like polyester and spandex. It was discovered by chance in 1935 by a DuPont chemical company chemist (who later committed suicide with cyanide--yikes). Nylon proved to be a great replacement for silk, which was become harder to obtain from Asia as the world headed towards war.
These are the two items of clothing I found made purely of nylon...
Nylon polymers are made from coal derivatives, so strike one. Manufacturing nylon is energy and water intensive--strike two. Strike three is that nylon's manufacture produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
This information is from an interesting new source I found--an Australian textile company's website on the impacts of textiles. If you don't want to wait for the rest of my installments on fabrics, check out their quick fact sheets. So far they've matched up with information from other sources.
What To Do About It?
Worldwide nylon manufacturing alone is not going to send our planet into irreversible climate change. (That may have already happened.) Still, it makes sense to reduce your nylon consumption and take care of the nylon you do have.
Of course, stockings are the fruit flies of the clothing world--here today, dead by sundown. Nylon windbreakers and hiking/camping gear, on the other hand, are designed to be durable. If you treat it well and stay out of briar patches, nylon can last a long time. The prevalence of 1980s windbreakers at Goodwill proves this to be true.