"When we started, I was more focussed with the design…"
The dream? For sustainable fashion to be the norm.
Co-founder and lead designer
Since launching in 2016, Fair Wear certified organic cotton has been central to our range.
GROWING COTTON SUSTAINABLY
Clothing is said to be the second largest polluter after oil on the planet, and a significant part of this can be attributed to the growing of regular cotton.
The clothing industry releases 1.26 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, accounting for over 10% of global carbon emissions. A large portion of this can be attributed directly to the intensive farming of non-organic cotton, which is used in approximately 30% of the clothes we wear today.
Sadly, cotton farmers are becoming more dependent on chemicals, fuelled by our demand for the new season’s styles. Organic cotton provides a sustainable alternative, but less than 1% of all cotton grown is done so organically. This is why we continue to develop our sustainably sourced organic cotton range.
The truth behind cotton
As demand for cheap fabric continues to grow, cotton growers are encouraged to increase their dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Regular cotton uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop. To produce just 1 T-shirt requires ¼ pound of chemicals.
These chemicals can ruin the lives of those who depend on them. Many are toxic to human health and devastates the local communities.
Their use destroys local ecosystems, killing a diverse range of plant species and many animals and insects which depend on them.
Just as importantly, cotton is a thirsty crop and requires 20,000 litres of water per kilogram yield, usually in areas which cannot afford to spare this much water for agriculture.
On the other hand, organic cotton is grown without any chemicals. Organic cotton provides a fair wage to local growers, does not expose them or their families to dangerous substances, and ensure they have enough clean water to drink.
Organic cotton lowers the impact on local environments, encourages greater plant and animal diversity, requires less energy, releases less CO2, and does not reduce the quality of the soil.
High quality organic cotton also produces a much softer, more comfortable fabric for the consumer which is lacking a chemical footprint.
Ethical Organic Cotton
Organic cotton provides a fairer and more stable wage to the farmer, ensuring they have a higher quality of life and can better look after their families.
Kind to skin
A high quality chemical free organic cotton results in a softer and smoother fabric, perfect for allergy prone or sensitive skin.
Due to the absence of chemicals, smoothness and purity of the fabric, organic cotton is kinder to your skin, perfect for sensitive or allergy prone skin typesBoosts local ecology
Organic cotton can be rotated with other food crops, helping to boost ecological diversity and prevent soil degradationEncourages green farming
Organic farming communities are increasingly using solar and biogas as an energy source, particularly where access to electricity is limited in some areas of Africa and Asia
Organic cotton does not use toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizersNo water pollution
Local waterways remain uncontaminated by surface runoff of chemicalsLess water intensive
Organic crops are less water intensive, using 91% less water
62% less energy is needed to produce organic cotton when compared to conventional cotton farmingCO2 sink
Organic farming helps lock CO2 in the soil, helping to mitigate climate changeLower CO2 emissions
The growth of organic cotton almost halves the amount of CO2 released. To make 1 tonne of nitrogen fertiliser takes 1 tonne of oil, 100 tonnes of water and creates 7 tonnes of CO2
Organic cotton farmers earn a higher, more stable income whilst spending less on chemicals, helping raise them out of poverty.
Better quality of life
Higher financial returns allows farmers to invest in their own well-being, increase investment in education, prevent child labour and provide a better quality of life for the whole family.
No chemical exposure
Organic cotton farmers and their families are not exposed to toxic chemicals. An estimated 1 to 5 million pesticide poisoning cases occur every year, resulting in around 20,000 deaths
Promotes gender equality
Around 10% of organic farmers are women and have control of their own farms, made easier by the fact less heavy objects such as spray units need to be carried around
Encourages local economy
More people are encouraged to stay on the land due to better returns and quality of life, meaning fewer people are forced to move to cities
Encourages local democracy
Many organic cotton farming operations are cooperatives, respecting democracy and working collaboratively to create shared value
If you want to find out more amazing facts about the benefits of switching to organic cotton vs. conventional cotton, please see our article here.