The Shirt Off Your Back

Green Living — By on April 11, 2011 8:47 AM

Would you give your kids or your best friend the shirt off your back if it was made of synthetic materials made from petroleum products, environmentally unfriendly and full of toxins?  Hahaha.  Okay, of course you would but wouldn’t it be nicer if it was made of natural fibers? 

With the disco era came formfitting Lycra stretch pants in bright colors and patterns but thank goodness the world is now trending towards a more organic look!  Yikes!  People have started seeking out clothing that is more comfortable, less harmful to the wearer’s health and environment, and made of natural fibers.  Consumers are saying no to conventional dyes, “wrinkle free” treatments, and pesticide doused fabrics.  Hemp, organic cotton, flax and tencel fabrics are growing in variety, styles, and popularity. 

Consumers interest in organic cotton has sparked a huge movement in big apparel companies to change the way they are thinking about fabrics and what kind of footprint they are making on the environment.

Farmers worldwide spend over $3 billion on cotton pesticides annually, using incredibly hazardous chemicals, such as parathion, that we are putting next to our skin.  This not only affects us but the farmers, ecosystem and wildlife around these crops.  For example, an average acre of California cotton is blasted with an estimated 300 pounds of synthetic fertilizers, along with about thirteen pounds of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants.  Run-off from these fields has been contaminating drinking water in farm communities and pose long term threats to the environment.

A group of fifty-five companies (including Nike, Nordstrom, Mountain Equipment Cooperative, adidas, Patagonia, and Timberland) got together and formed the Textile Exchange (renamed from Organic Exchange)- a nonprofit business organization whose mission is to inspire and equip people to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain while creating a global textile industry that restores the environment and enhances lives.  Check them out at http://organicexchange.org/oecms/ .

Some places to buy organic clothing:

Organic Cotton:
Patagonia:  http://www.patagonia.com/us/search/organic
Gaiam:  http://www.gaiam.com

Hemp:
Two Star Dog:  http://www.twostardog.com/  

Organic & Fair Trade:
Maggie’s Organics:  http://maggiesorganics.com/  
Organic Clothing Boutique:  http://www.organicclothingboutique.com/
Olive:  http://www.oliveorganic.org/index.php

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