Recently a link went around my Facebook feed and it was a reminder for me. A reminder to keep doing what I’m doing; don’t stray from the path; you are making a difference.
The link was about clothes. Not fashion or anything, but about clothes in general and what is happening behind the scenes to get clothes to stores for Americans (and other developed areas, surely) to buy. It’s not pretty.
I love clothes. I have a medium sized wardrobe of clothes (a lot by minimalist standards, but not a lot compared to some!) and I wear almost all of it when seasonally appropriate. I just LOVE clothes!
Initially, about three or four years ago, I started doing research on organic clothing. We had been full time organic food eaters for several years at that point, why should I not look into organic clothing? Cotton is the most sprayed crop in America. Because it’s not eaten. Chemicals sprayed on cotton make up 25% of all insecticide use worldwide! Our poor insects! Our bees!
There is some controversy over organic cotton. How do you KNOW if it’s really organic? I applaud big companies for making strides to improve their materials, but it seems to me that sketchy organic cotton from India is just not enough.
There are SO many USA based companies that grow their own organic cotton! Cotton grows really well in the south. Why not grow it on our home soil and not some far away land where we really can’t be certain that organic practices are being used?
Organic clothing is more expensive. But, as the first link shows, cheap clothes are cheap at the cost of someone else’s LIFE. I don’t want my full closet to be so because someone else was a slave or was forced to work longer hours than they would like, day in and day out.
So what to do?
Firstly, I buy almost all of my clothing from Goodwill or other charity stores. Used clothing doesn’t put a penny into the hands of the major companies who manufactured them. It’s also often been washed at least a few times, so the insecticides sprayed on finished clothing before transport is less of an issue (but it’s now in our water supply!). I often find organic clothing at Goodwill, too!
And of course, buy organic clothing. But not just from giants like H&M. Find USA based (or based in your home country if possible) companies. Often they are run by families or small groups of friends and by supporting them you can help them have a living wage while doing something they are passionate about.
Here are some links I have accumulated from organic/sustainable/USA based clothing:
Soft Star Shoes – USA formaldehyde free leather shoes for the whole family!
Gaia Conceptions – This woman does her duty and sources cotton grown and milled and made in the USA! She has gorgeous designs and dozens of options.
WoolenMoss – Also organic cotton (and hemp) but carries woolen items, too! Beautiful pieces.
All of those companies are family owned. They have kids. They have spouses. They have mortgages and rents and bills just like you and they are trying to carve out a living in a different one – one that fulfills them AND makes the world a better place. Why not support people like this the next time you need a new skirt?
The price can deter. But this is the price clothing SHOULD be! These are fair prices for materials, labor and shipping. If you have ten pieces of organic cotton clothing in your wardrobe that you absolutely adore, isn’t that better than 20 pieces of cheap polyester (plastic) dime a dozen pieces that a child as young as 6 was forced to make?
Please watch the video below:
What about you? Are you choosing organic and natural materials like organic cotton, hemp, linen and wool?