A recent article published in a local San Francisco newspaper grabbed our attention this week, when –in a round about way- it posed the question, “how much do local consumers really know about organic clothing?” For a city that prides itself on being progressive, eco-conscious, and innovative there still exists a bit of confusion and misconception about organic clothing and what sets it apart from its non-organic counterparts. Even fashion-conscious hipsters in the city need a crash course from time-to-time on the basics of organic materials. And that got us thinking: perhaps it’s time for us to create our own mini-guide to organic garments.
Without further ado, here’s what you need to know.
Natural vs. Organic
The list of fibers that occur naturally without the aid of manufacturing is quite short, and can be seen in the small infographic below. Llama, alpaca, and cashmere, for example each come from an organic source, an animal. Cotton, the material we will utilize in our garments at Pitupi, is also a natural fiber, comprised of nearly 100% cellulose.
Natural, however, does not necessarily mean “organic”. The methods by which a fiber is grown, dyed, and treated determine whether or not it can be deemed organic. The same rule applies to organic foods, which may contain natural ingredients, but not organic ones. The two terms simply cannot be used interchangeably, and this is important to keep in mind.
Organic Treatment of Materials
So, you may ask then, what is it exactly that makes organic cotton…organic? To be organic, a fiber like cotton should be cultivated without the use of inorganic pesticides, from seeds that have not been genetically modified. It should also be dyed exclusively using natural dyes, such as vegetable-based dyes. Furthermore, once a cotton item like a baby body or children’s trousers is set to be shipped abroad, it should not be treated with any harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde for the purposes of wrinkle prevention.
Overall Benefits of Organics
The benefits of organic textiles to the consumer, the manufacturer, and the planet are plenty. Since organic cotton is void of any toxic chemicals, it won’t irritate the sensitive skin of a baby or child. It also reduces risks to certain species threatened by the use of chemical pesticides, like bees and other insects, thereby protecting biodiversity. With cotton cultivation using more pesticides, insecticides and water than any other crop on the planet, it’s clear to see just how big of an impact a change to organic can truly make!
Ready to learn more about the organic cotton we’ll be using in our baby clothes? Keep checking in here and at Pitupi.de for news on materials, our GOTS certification status, and other developments as we push forward!