Organic cotton clothing can be an accessible option when looking for sustainable fashion. While there are plenty of fantastic and innovative sustainable fabric options on the market, the scale of organic cotton production makes it an affordable option for those looking to make better choices for their closets.
Well, here’s a bit about the problem with conventional cotton…
For starters, cotton production covers just 2.5% of the world’s arable land, yet is responsible for 16% of all pesticides used in the world, according to A New Textiles Economy Report.
This widespread pesticide use in the cotton fields has led to up to 77 million cotton workers suffering poisoning from pesticides each year.
Not to mention cotton is one of the top three genetically modified crops in the world. The majority of genetically-modified cotton is “Bt cotton”.
This not only creates massive implications for the environmental but considering around 350 million people rely on cotton production for their livelihoods, it has a massive impact on people, too.
And as Basudeb Acharia, Chairman of India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, was quoted, “The benefits that were assured from Bt cotton cultivation are not coming… Farmers have to use more pesticides and chemical fertilizers [with genetically-modified cotton], as a result of which there has been an increase in input costs and a reduction in profit margins leading to farmer’s indebtedness and suicides.”
And I could go on… but I think the case for a better cotton industry is clear.
Let’s talk about the solution that has a positive impact on the earth, for the farmers, and for the people wearing the fabric: certified organic cotton.
These eco-fashion brands below are making a positive impact by sourcing toxin-free, non-GMO, organically-grown cotton.
Many of these brands go above and beyond soucing organic, also looking for Fair Trade-certified cotton, using natural dyes, sourcing from ethical manufacturers, reducing waste in their supply chain, and so on.[Check out this guide for organic cotton face masks]
So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!
Note that this guide incluldes partners and affiliates. As always, all brands included in this guide are brands I truly believe in and which meet high standards for sustainability!
1. People Tree
Sustainable fashion pioneer People Tree has been creating versatile and playful eco-friendly clothing since 1991. The brand has received the World Fair Trade Organization product mark and utilizes earth-friendly fabrics in all of its pieces, including many organic cotton options.
3. The Waight
Slow fashion label The Waight produces in small batches on a pre-order basis and has an entirely domestic supply chain, ensuring minimal waste and maximum transparency.
Now let’s chat organic cotton basics! Conscious Step creates Fairtrade and organic-certified cotton socks in fun prints that all give back. From leaf-printed socks that help conserve rainforests to blue polka-dot socks that save oceans, there’s something for everyone, no matter what social or environmental cause you care about most.
Exclusive Discount: Use the code ELIZABETH20 for 20% off your order at Conscious Step!
7. Mata Traders
Fair Trade fashion brand Mata Traders works with artisan cooperatives in India and Nepal and pays all of their artisans’ fair wages. The ethical label has a selection of organic cotton jersey dresses with the cutest vibrant prints! They also have extended sizing options available.
One of the early eco-friendly fashion brands, Komodo has been creating earth-first clothing for over 30 years! Komodo is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified and is a member of the Soil Association. The brand also ensures ethical production and donates 1% of revenue to the Sumatran Orangutan Society.
12. Eileen Fisher
Sustainable designer Eileen Fisher creates timeless, minimalistic clothing from earth-friendly fabrics. Among the fabrics Fisher chooses are responsibly-sourced wool, silk, TENCEL, and organic cotton jersey. The brand’s prices are on the higher end, but they are exceptionally designed and made to last.
Committed to sustainable production from seed to garment, Groceries Apparel partners with family farms and local manufacturing facilities to create its eco-conscious clothing. The brand uses earth-minded fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and recycled cotton for its comfy garments.
Earth-minded outdoors brand Patagonia has been using organic cotton before it was cool! The company not only uses materials like organically grown cotton, Tencel, and recycled polyester but is also actively working for a more transparent and ethical supply chain—many of their pieces are made in Fair Trade-certified factories.
Each and every piece from Indigenous Designs is handcrafted from 100% natural and organic materials (like organic cotton) and low-impact dyes. Indigenous Designs also employs fair trade practices, ensuring safe conditions, paying fair wages, and offering additional resources like zero-interest loans.
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