Fashion is constantly changing, with new trends, new idols, and new brands. How can we, as consumers, make sense of it all? How can we ensure that we are buying good quality clothing? We will let you in on a little secret that we believe in: the answer is in the material. At AmaElla, we create beautiful, romantic and elegant lingerie/nightwear that is made of Fairtrade organic cotton.
What is organic cotton?
Organic cotton is a textile used to produce good quality clothing. It’s different from non-organic cotton in the way it’s grown. Here are the main differences:
- Organic cotton has been produced and processed according to comprehensive standards that are verified by independent certification bodies.
- Organic cotton crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO; to learn more about GMO read this article by Nature). By eliminating the use of these toxins, organic cotton farming keeps waterways and drinking water safe and clean (for more info visit HuffPost).
- The absence of these toxins are also beneficial for you as a customer; by wearing organic cotton clothing, you don’t expose your skin to any toxins.
- Growing non-organic cotton accounts for 2.6% of the world’s yearly water usage. One t-shirt made from non-organic cotton represents 2700 litres of water! Organic cotton uses a fraction of the water to grow since it isn’t being sprayed with pesticides (for more info visit Eco Fashion World).
What is non-organic/conventional cotton?
In order to understand a bit more about cotton farming, we’ve looked into the impact of non-organic cotton. We came across some impacting facts:
- Cotton is the dirtiest crop on this planet (for more info visit Organic Authority).
- Cotton uses 25% of all fertilisers around the world but only uses about 10% of farming surface (for more info visit EcoFriend Online).
- Up to 77 million cotton workers suffer poisoning from pesticides each year.
- Genetically Modified company, Monsanto, now controls a staggering 95% of the cotton seed market in India
- Farmers enter a spiral of debts when purchasing pesticides. This can lead to dramatic results and high suicide rates (for more info visit Scientific American).
- 20% of freshwater pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing.
Organic cotton has emerged as a sustainable alternative to reduce the negative environmental and social impact of non-organic/conventional cotton. We hope to spread awareness about the organic cotton as it’s still unknown to many people.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC COTTON
Better for the Farmers
There are 100 million cotton farmers producing cotton in 80 countries worldwide. Organic cotton farms have reported to be working in compliance with a form of ‘decent work’ policy (at or above legal requirements). 46% reported to be Fairtrade certified either fully or partially.
While women help their menfolk on the farm, 23% of women identified as independently certified organic farmers. The majority of the businesses (97%) are actively encouraging women to join by offering female-friendly terms and conditions such as additional training in farm management and maternity support.
Read more about information regarding ‘decent work’ in agriculture on Better Cotton.
Better for the Environment
Organic farming uses traditional and new scientific knowledge to grow crops in a way that develops healthy, fertile soil, conserves biodiversity and protects natural resources – minimising the use of non-renewable and off-farm inputs. 80% of land under organic cotton is rain-fed (water is more likely to be derived from rainfall rather than surface or ground water irrigation).
Organic cotton farmers employ a wide range of techniques to conserve soils and water, improve soil fertility, and deter pests. Popular farm management techniques include rainwater harvesting (69%) and crop selection (62%) for water management, crop rotation (100%) and composting (96%) for soil fertility, and 85% use trap crops and botanicals for pest control.
Read more about organic cotton sustainability on Textile Exchange.
Better for You
Organic cotton benefits your health. Notably so, there are no chemical retentions in organic cotton clothing. This ensures that people with allergies or with specific chemical sensitivity will greatly benefit from wearing organic cotton and hopefully eliminate any allergic reaction from wearing synthetic textiles.
Additionally, as a consumer of organic cotton, you will be promoting the importance of ethical production and help organic cotton farms grow. The more need there is for organic cotton, the stronger we can work towards ensuring that non-organic cotton will no longer succeed in the fashion industry.
Read more about benefits of organic cotton on Cottonique.
Making the Right Choice
Sometimes it can be confusing to choose organic cotton because of the difficulty of ‘decrypting’ the labels on clothing. One way to make sure you are buying organic cotton is by looking for a well established certification. At AmaElla, we have decided to source all our organic cotton with the Global Organic Certified Standard (GOTS) certification. GOTS aims to define a universal standard for organic fabrics—from harvesting the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, to labelling—in order to provide credible assurance to consumers. We have chosen the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) because it’s recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles (clothing, home textiles, and personal care products) made from certified organically produced raw materials. It follows a strict environmental criteria and also social criteria for operations along the entire textile supply chain.
There are similar certifications that have lined up with the standards of GOTS. Such are:
- North American Fiber Standard – Organic Trade Association (USA)
- Guidelines ‘Naturtextil IVN Zertifiziert’ – International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany)
- Standards for Processing and Manufacture of Organic Textiles – Soil Association (England)
- Standards for Organic Textiles – Ecocert (France)
- Organic Textile Standard – ICEA (Italy)
- Organic Fiber Standards – Oregon Tilth (USA)
Read more about these certifications/standards on O Ecotextiles.