Tag Archives: Organic cotton

The Best Fibers For Natural Clothing

Woman shopping for clothes

Let’s go back, back, back to the Garden of Eden and the loss of innocence.  Adam has just taken a bite of the apple and realizes that he is naked and needs to cover up.  He grabs the first thing available; the fig leaf and covers his privates.  It would then be fair to say that the first item of clothing ever worn was a fig leaf?

Certainly, we have a come a long way  since then and a great deal of time has elapsed.  We have seen the rise of jeans, the mini skirt, the stiletto heel and high couture.  But, things tend to come full circle.  Here we are in the new millennium and it seems like we’re back to the fig leaf.  Well, maybe not exactly, but in this age in which we are doing our best to make sure that everything we use is eco-friendly, there is a trend toward organic clothing, and one could hardly argue that the fig leaf is anything if not organic.  Maybe Adam was on to something.

So, say you want to go organic, and kudos to you for that, and you’re not sure what to look for.  You know burlap is a natural fiber, but you may not want to use this to make your ecological fashion statement. Here are some more common alternatives.

Natural Fibers

Bamboo is a grass, usually grown with minimal chemical use.  It is biodegradable, possesses antibacterial properties and is biodegradable.  Unfortunately, when the plant is turned into fabric, toxic chemicals may come into play.  The Federal Trade commission has demanded that bamboo based rayon is labelled if toxins were involved in the manufacture, so check the tags.

Organic cotton
The Big Daddy of natural fiber, organic cotton is grown without toxins and synthetic chemicals.  For a total absence of chemicals in your clothes, look on the label to make sure natural dyes or colored cottons have been used.

Industrial hemp
This stuff is renewable, uses little or no pesticides or fertilizer and is super easy to harvest.

Recycled polyester
Now you can look like Austin Powers and be environmental at the same time.  It’s actually made from soda bottles and cast off polyesters and is said to leave a carbon footprint 75% lower than regular polyester.

Silk/ Soy cashmere
After soybeans are made into food, the remaining soy protein fiber is used to make this fabric.  If you are committed to being very green, you may want to look on the label to make sure there was no genetic tampering involved in the engineering of the soy.

Renewable and fire resistant, organic wool is becoming increasingly accessible and requires no chemicals for growth.  Chlorine-free wool means that the animals used to make the material are organically treated so look for this on the label for an extra perk.

If you are now ready to go purchase something organic keep in mind,  there is still a long way to go in naturalizing clothing manufacture.  It still takes energy, land resources and water to produce.  So until we find a way to make clothing completely free of environmental impact, maybe the fig leaf will be the next big thing.

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Health Benefits Of Organic Clothing

Women in an organic cotten offit

“Whole Foods” on the catwalk? Could it be that the place we rely on for our healthy lunches could also be major player in the organic  fashion industry?  If you are familiar with organic clothing, perhaps your picturing a few walking hemp sacks in biodegradable shoes or an earth colored muumuu with a straw hat? But would you ever picture a knee length dove grey dress with a sculpted jacket?  Mini and maxi off the shoulder sheath dresses?

In order to cater to a demand for organically made clothing, Whole Foods sponsored a fashion show in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, featuring clothes from Maggie’s Organics, Satva and Threads for Thought. Themes ranged from Modern Femme, Street to Studio, Haute Hippie, and Global Chic. It seems that organic clothing is not just for the music festival crowd.

In fact, Jessica Chastain,  “Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez, “American Sniper”s” Jake McDorman and “The Office’s”  Steve Carrell all wore organic clothing to the 87th annual Oscar Awards and Emma Watson and will.i.am are just two of the many celebs who have put their names behind sustainable goods.

Consumer Health
We all want the best for our little ones!  Organic cotton is exactly what the doctor ordered for that tender developing baby skin.  How could we not put our little princes and princesses in anything but the softest, most comfy fabric?

Also since organic cotton is not made with chemicals, it causes fewer allergies and reduces respiratory problems in people of all ages.

Environmental Health
Beware!  You may want to throw out your 501s after reading this.  Even though cotton crops are only grown a 3% of the land, it is responsible for nearly 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides in the world.  In fact, there is a laundry list of diseases that have plagued cotton crops over the year including anthracnose, southern blight, charcoal rot and tropical cotton rust.  In other words, you may not want this stuff in your clothes.

Cotton is also fourth on the list of most heavily fertilized crops, which is responsible for a lot of environmental pollution.  So, if a greener world is important to you, you might want to invest in some organic cotton.

Farmer’s Health
If the insecticides and pesticides are bad for the environment, just think of what they must be doing to the poor farmers who have to use them!  Poisoning due to toxic chemicals are a leading cause of death for farmers in developing countries.

Like organic foods, organic clothing costs a bit more to manufacture, and, as a result, consumer cost is affected.  But for those of you who have given up on organic clothing as a luxury item, do not fret.  Manufacturers like Basics, Alternative Apparel and Threads for Thought are just some of the companies featuring reasonably priced green duds.  We’re talking $15-50 for  tops and jumpsuits and dresses for under $100, and this stuff is CUTE.  Check it out for yourself and see if you don’t fall in love, oh, and next time you go for a tofu burger, you can pick up a top to eat it in. How’s that for one stop shopping?

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