Organic and sustainable fashion has recently come to the forefront. Quite the opposite of the fast fashion that we've come to know through most big box retailers. So, why does organic and sustainable matter? And what's the difference?
While fast fashion is certainly cheap, you are getting what you pay for in terms of wearability. Fast fashion is meant to only last a season (sometimes less) before it will inevitably wear out and need to be tossed. While there are some great companies out there that will take and recycle your old and worn clothing (links below), almost all fast fashion ends up in the landfill where it sits. Being that most fast fashion consists of synthetic materials made from petroleum (yep, the same oil and gas that you put in your car), these materials are basically plastics. Not really great for the planet.
Organic and sustainable fashion on the other hand, is made from natural materials in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way. These products are often made better and using better fair-trade human practices.
Here's some info from our friends at Happy Earth (you can find a large selection of Happy Earth clothing in our shop here):
How it’s made matters.
The clothing industry is regarded as one of the most environmentally damaging and inhumane enterprises in the world. This industry is flooded with Fast Fashion – garments made quick and cheap with the emphasis on getting current styles on the rack as opposed to creating quality, conscientious items. We are surrounded by businesses without transparent practices and no accountability. Too many companies capitalize on exploiting workers and using factories that wreak havoc on local ecosystems.
As a consumer, you have the power of choice. You can use your purchasing power to support companies that make people and the environment a priority. You can make choices to ensure your dollar isn’t contributing to the problem, but instead challenging the norm and motivating change. We want to inspire you to transform the way you think about clothes. You can do your part to cherish, preserve and protect the world – starting by changing the way you shop for clothes.
Quality, natural garments that are kind on the environment.
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that can be spun into thread to make soft, breathable fabrics. It’s natural – making it biodegradable – unlike so many of the synthetic fibers that now control the market. While cotton has been around since prehistoric times, conventional cotton of today is far less sustainable. Conventional cotton farming relies on imprudent cropping and irrigation systems. This has resulted in the desertification of areas like Uzbekistan, where cotton is a major export (The Arid Frontier). Organic cotton offers a sustainable solution; it is grown only using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment, dependably replenishing and maintaining the land that is farmed. Sadly, only 0.7% of global cotton production is organic (Organic Trade Association), but we can change that! By prioritizing organic, we can shift the market. Natural, soft, durable clothes that are kind on the planet? That’s something we all want in our closet.
No toxic chemicals means it’s safe on us AND our planet.
We partner with GOTS certified farms – and that’s no easy designation to achieve. Organic farmers use no toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. No genetically engineered seeds. This is a BIG distinction from conventional cotton production, as non-organic cotton crop actually uses more chemicals per unit area than any other plant! In total, it accounts for 10-16% of the world’s pesticides including herbicides, insecticides and defoliants (Organic Trade Association). Organic cotton has a low impact and no destructive chemicals. We give that the Happy Earth stamp-of-approval!
We value the amazing people that craft each product.
Each garment is ethically sewn in a GOTS certified location by craftsman who are paid a living wage for their work. This should NOT be a novel practice, but the reality is that there's been a global failure to establish minimum wages that are sufficient to meet basic needs and provide some discretionary income. We care about the people involved in making our products, both craftsman and farmers alike, and we know you do too. Once again, organic matters. It’s estimated that thousands of farmers die every year from exposure to chemicals implemented in conventional cotton processing (Organic Trade Association). We should all be working to make our global community happier and healthier – and choosing organic is a BIG step in the right direction.
Less water, reduced energy, minimal waste.
We all want to live in a way that betters our planet, and conserving water and energy is pivotal to this goal. When comparing organic cotton to conventional, studies have shown that organic cotton reduces energy demand by an impressive 60% - and water consumption by an incredible 90%! Switching to organic cotton is no trivial matter. It would have remarkable implications for our planet. Recent research developments suggest that organic cotton could reduce the overall global warming impact of cotton production by 46% (Global Organic Textile Standard). Now, that’s some change we can all support!
Plastics are in our homes, our landfills, our oceans, our CLOTHES – but it’s not here.
Many clothes nowadays are manufactured with polyester, acrylic and nylon – all synthetic fibers – all forms of plastic. These synthetic fibers are ubiquitous in our garments, invisibly taking over our wardrobes and silently destroying our environments. How, you ask? Simply by washing your clothes. Synthetic fabrics release tiny plastic particles into waterways every time you do a load of laundry. Each cycle of the washing machine could release more than 700,000 microscopic plastic fibers. These microplastics enter rivers and oceans, and are noxious to marine life (Environmental Science & Technology). While organic cotton is biodegradable, these alternative synthetic fabrics can damage the environment with every wear. Oof, plastic really is everywhere – but we’re keeping it out of your clothes.
Places to recycle clothing: