Cotton is one of the most heavily farmed crops in the world
It’s undeniable that the world (at least the western part) is obsessed with the nebulous idea of ‘health’. From protein smoothies, natural skincare, organic foods, and a fixation on ‘good’ lifestyle choices such as yoga and Pilates; as a world we have never been more concerned with the things that go in or on our bodies.
The sustainable fashion movement is a subset of this. Of course it is a misnomer to imply that sustainable fashion is inherently driven by a western desire for products that are ‘healthier’ for them – there are of course the ethical and environmental concerns, which are the major driving force behind this movement. Nevertheless organic cotton has long history of being associated with wellness and the hazy concept of ‘good’.
Cotton is one of the most heavily farmed crops in the world, even though traditional farming practices cause tremendous strain on both the land and farmers themselves. Typical production of cotton fibre will rapidly strip the soil of its major nutrients, as well as pollute water runoff and local airways with through pesticide use. The World Health Organization estimates 18.2 per 100 000 agricultural workers have occupational-related pesticide poisonings worldwide.
Organic cotton production, in comparison, actively seeks to preserve soil intensity, forbids the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides during the farming process, and pays strict attention to watering schedules and runoff disposal. This is primarily overseen through the ‘Global Organic Textiles Standards’ or GOTS. Achieving a GOTS certification is an extensive process and ensures that every step of the supply chain involved in producing a cotton textile or product does so in an environmentally friendly manner. GOTS works in partnership with OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), Soil Association (UK), and JOCA (Japan), to pool their collective expertise into creating the best standard for organic, environmentally and socially responsible textile production.
The World Health Organization estimates 18.2 per 100 000 agricultural workers have occupational-related pesticide poisonings worldwide
Sustainability is increasingly become ‘in vogue’ for fashion houses. H&M most recently became the worlds largest buyer of organic cotton, which they use to produce their green label ‘Conscious Collection’. People are more likely than ever to consider the ‘sustainability buzzwords’ such as organic cotton, sustainable, eco-friendly, and FairTrade, when making purchases. Sustainability is finally becoming profitable for large and small brands.
One such brand is Pamukkale; a Spanish brand which aims to subvert the fast fashion cycle by creating small-batch collections of their locally designed and screen-printed t-shirts. Pamukkale creates products using only organic cotton, modal, tencel, and recycled polyester. This approach to sustainability infuses their entire brand ethos, from their use of ecological water-based inks in their screen printed designs, to their recycled and recyclable packaging.