The Low Down on Organic Cotton
Last week we gave you a guide to shopping our favourite sustainable fabrics, this week we are deep diving into one of our most loved ones. Our fabrics are so important to us; it’s what makes Thought clothing, thoughtful. Organic cotton is a key fabric for our SS20 Collection and there’s a LOT to this force-of-nature material. While we’re simply scratching the surface here, you’ll get a good idea of why organic cotton makes so much more sense…
Better soil and harvests
Before it’s even planted, the seeds of non-organic cotton are usually treated with genetically modified pesticides and chemicals whereas organic cotton seeds, are not.
This means that right from the beginning, the seeds can grow naturally. Compost and manure are used to help the plant grow as nature intended. This also helps enrich soil quality – a far cry from the synthetic fertilisers and toxic pesticides used on conventional cotton, which inevitably find their way into rivers and wildlife.
Helping farmers and their families
It goes without saying that better quality soil brings a better harvest and bigger income. So when it’s time to harvest organic cotton, farmers regularly plant other crop varieties (known as ‘crop rotation’) to improve soil structure and restrict the build up of pests and weeds.
Often, Cowpea, ‘Lab Lab’, or other edible bean-producing plants are sewn in-between cotton. So even when crops are rotated, a sellable end product is grown so farmers earn a steady income.
Keep it organic
It’s at the stage when the harvested plant has been carefully spun into fibre that certification happens. The Global Organic Textile Standard (or GOTS) only certifies fibres as organic when strict environmental and social criteria have been met. You can read all about these and the certification process here. Rest assured that all of the cotton fibre we use has been GOTS certified organic.
Better factory conditions
Part of the social criteria that organic certified cotton must meet is not too dissimilar to our Code of Conduct. Factories spinning the fibre and manufacturing clothing must employ people on their own free will, have ‘zero tolerance’ towards child labour and pay living wages. Get the full lowdown on the GOTS website.
Better quality garments
When care is show to all involved in the growth and manufacture of organic cotton, a better-finished piece of clothing is the result. Organic cotton is usually higher in quality and silky soft on the skin – thanks to zero harsh chemicals. Nothing can beat the peace of mind you get when you know your clothing has been made ethically right from the beginning.
What you can do
- Commit to buying only organic cotton: look for GOTS, Soil Association, and/or ‘OE’ symbols on clothing labels when shopping. Or try our Thoughtful Clothing.
- Get involved with the Soil Association and their ongoing ‘Small Changes, Big Difference’ campaign.
- Spread the word, and do anything else you can think of – this list is far from exhaustive!