Organic Cotton: The Perfect Wardrobe Choice for Summer
As the Green Revolution sweeps the nation, we have all heard about the health benefits of organic food. It’s an environmentally conscious decision and tastes better, too. But what about clothing?
Organic cotton is currently earning a well-deserved time in the spotlight. As a key part of the recent eco-fashion revolution, organic cotton is not only environmentally friendly, but also incredibly soft and comfortable.
So what makes cotton “organic”? According to the Organic Trade Association, growth must adhere to the rules of organic production, meaning the systems must, “replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture.” These methods have a much lower impact on our ecosystems and produce some wonderfully soft fabric. Organic cotton is also made from non genetically modified plants.
Shopping for Organic Clothing If only it were that simple when shopping for “organic clothing” to look for a label that reads “organic cotton”! Unfortunately it is much more complicated. For a piece of clothing to be labeled as “certified organic” it must also meet strict environmental standards for all its processing steps, including the combing, spinning, finishing and dying. Some companies may only use the label “organically grown cotton” and continue with their usual dying and finishing practices, which may be very toxic and environmentally un-friendly. So that is where one needs to be a savvy shopper and read labels carefully.
Only clothing that reads “certified organic cotton” or “100% organic cotton” can you be sure that the fabric is organic all the way through its final product. Even then though, it is always good to ask the manufacturer or shop owner just to be sure. One good question to ask is what certifying body was used, and in the USA, the gold standard is GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard. Chances are if the owner does not know, then it is not actually certified organic. We know it can be confusing to navigate the marketplace, so if you are going to pay more for something, it might as well be the real thing! “Green washing” is all to common today, so when shopping “organic” especially when it comes to clothing, be savvy!
On a positive note, there are an estimated 200,000 growers of organic cotton. Many of them show great promise for the future of fair trade, as well as environmentally friendly practices. One such producer is Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, located in Kolkata, India. This mill was transformed into a model of sustainable production by Rajat Jaipuria in the 1990s. The mill now exclusively produces organic cotton, and is working for all of the fabric to to be Fair Trade Certified™ in the near future.
Photo Source: Fair Trade USA
At the moment, however, organic cotton still makes up a small proportion of global cotton production. A great hindrance to organic farmers is finding appropriate marketplaces. But here at Jute and Jackfruit, we’re working to combine this eco-friendly fabric and some incredible style to help make that happen!
As summer quickly approaches, here are some ideas to beat the heat while looking cute, comfortable and being environmentally conscious at the same time:
This beautiful, feminine skirt was hand-knit by women in Peru, supporting fair trade while using organic fabrics. And the coral is perfect this summer season, which is all about bright colors and statement pieces.
This printed tee pairs perfectly with the Pocket Skirt and is, of course, made with 100 percent certified organic cotton.
By Amy Wright