As a responsible consumer, it is good to know the fabrics that you have been wearing your whole life. So, here’s a guide to Cotton’s biography. Check out the Q&As to see how you can contribute to protecting the our planet that sustains all forms of life. A little awareness can go a long way in ensuring a healthier ecosystem.
Q: Why focus on cotton?
A: We use cotton every day. From our fashionable clothing and cosmetics to all the aesthetic home decors, cotton plays a major role in meeting 50% of the global fibre market demand every year (Friedman, 2019).
Q: What is cotton? How is it grown?
A: Cotton is a staple fibre composed of cellulose, an insoluble organic compound essential for the plant growth and is a soft and fluffy material. It needs a lot of sun and a generous amount of rainfall for healthy growth. Until harvest, it is necessary to keep the insects and weeds away from the field to avoid devastation of the crops. Given its specific requirements, cotton is extensively grown in subtropical and tropical regions like India, Africa and the United States.
Q: Is Cotton environmentally friendly?
A: Cotton is a natural fibre; however, it is far from being environmentally friendly. It takes up to 20,000 litres of water to produce at least 1Kg of cotton, while 100 million people in India have no access to clean drinking water. Cotton is grown using approximately 93% fertilisers and genetically modified seeds to keep the insects away. Cotton represents 10% pesticides and 25% insecticides used globally which is enough to erode soil to an extent that it becomes unfit for cultivation.
Q: How ethically is cotton processed?
A: 99% of cotton is produced in developing countries like India, Uzbekistan and Africa where there is lack of labour, health and safety regulations which leads to child labour practices. In Uzbekistan, more than 1 million people are forced to do the strenuous work of picking cotton with their hands for little or no pay every year.
What can you do to reduce the negative effect of cotton on the people and the planet?
There are 2 easy and clear ways we can take conscious steps to minimise the trauma cotton has on the environment.
- Organic Cotton
Organic cotton possesses the same quality as natural cotton, but is grown with non-GMO* seeds (Genetically Modified Organisms), does not contain insecticides, pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. The best part about this fibre is that the farmers use different farming methods like crop-rotation and no-till farming to preserve the soil fertility. Organic cotton uses approximately 60-70% less water as compared to conventional cotton.
Organisations like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), Organic Content Standards, IVN & Natural Land, and USDA NOP (National Organic Program) have established certifications for organic cotton which provides peace of mind that the cotton clothing you are purchasing is truly organic.
You can look for these certifications on the labels of clothing, furnishings, cosmetics, etc., to make sure you are shopping consciously, yet not compromising your style.
- Recycled or Regenerated Cotton
Recycled cotton has seen a growing interest in the apparel industry. This is a limited-edition fibre that uses far less water than conventional or organic cotton. It uses recycled raw materials and re-manufactured components. It is the best choice for going eco-friendly and sustainable. Cotton can be recycled using old garments and leftover textiles. They are usually blended with natural cotton to restore the quality of the fibre.
Recycled cotton helps reduce an estimated 15-20% of waste generated in the landfill (Well Made Clothes 2019).
At Thread Harvest, we have taken a conscious step to patronise brands that use GOTS certified organic and recycled cotton to manufacture clothing, decors, cosmetics and accessories. Our mission is to ensure that every thread is woven ethically.
Find our top picks for 100% GOTS certified organic cotton brands below
If you are looking for a minimalistic, yet a classy look, ReCreate is your go-to brand. They not only aim to meet the ethical standards of fashion, but also encourage fair trade and establish ethical grounds for employment. Their commitment to transforming lives of people is commendable and we are glad to have them as one of our partners.
Are you a fitness fanatic and also a lover of this beautiful earth? Avila is the perfect fit not only for your healthy routine, but also for the planet’s well-being. You don’t have to compromise on style or values with the variety of activewear that Avila has to offer. Find your style at Avila today!
Look ethically gorgeous with the stunning collection of Luna and Sun. Their fabrics are 100% linen and organic cotton certified. The fabric is made with non-toxic dyes.
Pick your favourite sustainable fabric and follow us on Instagram @ThreadHarvest to know how we keep up with the environment and people by not compromising on quality and fashion.
*GMO - A genetically modified organism is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.