Carbon fibers are a woven structure of thin carbon strands used to create a strong and lightweight shell for a variety of products from cars and fishing rods to cycling clothing.
The textiles are stronger than steel but much lighter. This decreased density is why the fibers are used to lower the center of gravity in cars, and create ultra light, durable clothing.
In some cases the fibers endure a multi-step process of heat and oxidization reaching several hundreds of degrees Celsius. The last phase for some of the fibers involves using a plastic resin changing the fiber into Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic. For military use in planes and protective clothing this multi-step, energy intensive process may make sense, yet it seems excessive for everyday clothing.
According to C&F Fabric Corps., the carbon fiber biking jerseys have extra absorbency to keep athletes cooler, cleaner and drier. Overall, the ecological impact seems too great to start mass producing clothing dependent on a process involving extreme temperatures and exposure to toxins.