There has been a shift within the fashion industry of late. Thanks to 2019’s spotlight on the climate crisis, consumers are more aware of the fact that it is one of the most polluting industries in the world and one that contributes significantly to global warming. However, people’s shopping habits aren’t going to be curbed overnight. So then how can we make sure our wardrobes are more sustainable if we’re not buying second hand and can’t face not shopping at all? The answer lies in one small change: investing in organic cotton.
I spoke to three sustainable fashion experts about this material and how it can create various environmental and health benefits: Alicia Taylor, who runs sustainable shopping site Gather & See, Ben Matthews, who is the CEO of sustainable clothing brand Ninety Percent and Charlotte Turner, who is head of sustainable fashion and textiles for Eco-Age, a leading organisation that helps fashion brands become more sustainable. The verdict? All three experts say organic cotton is one of the best ways to be more ethical. Keep reading to learn how to be more eco-conscious and mindful about the environment when shopping…
Firstly, using organic cotton is better for your skin, says Alicia. “The skin is the body’s largest organ, so why put on clothing that has been made with and is comprised of potentially hazardous chemicals? And as it’s better for your health, it will mean that it’s better for the grower’s health, as the fibres are created without the use of chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides.”
Ben confirms that the lack of using chemicals is massively beneficial to the environment. He revealed that when pesticides are used, it’s not just the water supplies that it can drain into and contaminate—it means that often the land the cotton has been grown on can’t be used again. Charlotte also reiterates that soil health can be reduced but she also pointed to another issue. “A well as harming the environment, farmers can become reliant on these expensive chemicals and often end up in debt, so the impacts are social and economic as well.”
The big question, of course, is how do you ensure that you’re getting garments made from organic cotton? “There is a holy grail of organic cotton,” says Ben. “This is certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).” Charlotte recommends looking out for this certification, as it’s the most “stringent and globally recognised for organic cotton that indicates that strict criteria have been adhered to during the production.”
The good news is that there are plenty of brands that are exclusively using organic cotton—whether that’s in T-shirts, jeans, shirts, and even jackets that use this material. Ready to shop the best brands that use organic cotton?