Organic Cotton and Why it Matters
Posted on January 22 2016
By guest writer Caitlin McGrother
Everyone loves cotton. It's comfortable, soft, breathable, and extremely versatile. We trust cotton as the fabric for our undergarments, favorite t-shirt, and jeans. We snuggle up to our cotton sheets, take our cotton tote bags grocery shopping, and use our cotton napkins while eating dinner. Cotton is natural, grown from a crop, and therefore automatically natural, healthy, and good for the environment, right?
Unfortunately, conventional cotton is the product of high levels of agrochemicals and pesticides. In fact, 16% of global pesticide use is attributed to cotton. This statistic translates into pollution of the water chain and food supplies, children and workers being at risk for poisoning from exposure, and cultivators' eventual dependence on harsher chemicals as the crop becomes immune to its every day pesticides. Production has also been linked to state enforced cotton slavery, where children are often beaten, underpaid, and poisoned from the exposure to the agrochemicals. What's wrong with conventional cotton? So many things.
Luckily, organic cotton is a growing industry that has garnered well deserved attention in recent years. Consumers are eager to make choices that positively impact the environment and contribute to a better world. The rules for certifying cotton organic are finite and provide individuals with the power to make a difference in the agriculture system. In order for cotton to be certified organic, third party certification organizations verify that the producers of the crop use only methods and materials allowed in organic production, and without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Additionally, all organic cotton sold in the United States must meet strict federal regulations covering how the cotton is grown. Although the expansion of organic cotton farming is slow, it is consistent, and forecasted to grow as the years progress.
The shift to organic cotton is crucial for so many reasons. Its low impact on the environment allows for soil to replenish and maintain fertility. Organic cotton production reduces the use of toxic and persistent pesticides in the environment which easily seep into food production. There is no risk of poisoning the workers or children that are exposed to the pesticides and agrochemicals in the environment. Additionally, since organic cotton must be GMO-free, its expansion means a reduction of genetically modified cotton. Needless to say, organic cotton is the way to go.
Being a conscientious consumer of organic cotton is easy with the host of products that are available. From personal care items, fabrics, and home furnishing, the opportunities for making ethical choices are expanding. Clothing made from organic cotton is extremely chic, fashionable, and made in a variety of styles to suit all needs. Take a peek below at some of the organic cotton fashion available on Bead & Reel and imagine a world where conventional cotton no longer exists.
Classic Hemp Jacket, Groceries Apparel, $98 | Made in USA (locally right here in Los Angeles), this crop jacket is made from blend of non-toxic hemp and organic cotton, making it it feel like your favorite sweatshirt but looks like the sophisticated woman that you are.
Crop Tank, Groceries Apparel, $42 | A sexy basic, this fitted crop tank top is Made in Los Angeles from soft organic stretch cotton. It features straps wide enough to hide bra straps and a midriff-baring cut.
Ballet Tie Pants, Sinerji, $85 | This comfortable chic pant is made from the softest blend of organic cotton and bamboo, managing to be both carefree with flats and effortless with heels. With an elastic waistband and side pockets, they are comfortable yet stylish for day or night.
High Low Maxi Dress, Mata Traders, $79 | This high low block printed dress is made from a soft stretch organic cotton for easy year-round wear (alone in summer, layered in winter!). Handmade at a women's fair trade cooperative in India, it is soft and feminine and machine washable.
Shely Pont Blazer, Amour Vert, $172 | A beautifully tailored open-front blazer that pairs well with casual denim looks or smart business attire. Made of stretch organic cotton in San Francisco, it's machine washable!
Francesca Infinity Scarf, Amour Vert, $45 | Infinity scarves are great because of their versatility. This lightweight version is great because it's soft and lightweight for easy use from Fall to Spring. It's Made in San Francisco from a blend of organic cotton and eco-friendly beechwood modal.
The Grace Wedge, The People's Movement, $64 | These classic, versatile wedges happen to be made of organic cotton, natural dyes, and water based glues. Not only that, they are super comfortable, too. You'll look good, feel good, and never get sore feet in the name of fashion again. Also available in Black and Laurel Oak.
Sports Bra, LVR, $35 | Cotton is the cornerstone textile for undergarments on and off the yoga mat. Supportive and stylish, this organic cotton sports bra is ready for any workout. Made in America, it features a criss-cross back.
Cuffed Leggings, LVR, $60 | Feel your best when during your workout with these comfortable leggings. Featuring a high rise, a seamed cuff above the ankle, and a slightly off-black mineral wash, these aren't your basic black legging. Made of ultra soft light weight organic cotton french terry, they are Made in America and give back to wildlife and women so that you feel comfortable inside and out.