GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK

Last Tuesday Israel Fashion Week hit the runway and famous international designers like the Italian designer Roberto Cavalli waved to the crowds of fans lining the catwalk. Thousands attended the three-day extravaganza to find out what to wear in spring 2012!

We love fashion! We love clothes!

We spend a lot of time and money on creating the perfect outfit.

I KNOW my wardrobe is full… i STill don’t have anything to wear!!!

The most important for us as consumer usually is that clothes are good-looking, easy to handle and not too expensive. However have we ever thought beyond that point of view? Clothes should not only be fashionable and beautiful they should also be skin-friendly, good for our health and environment-friendly!

What are the main differences between standard and organic clothing? What is meant by organic and what advantages do organic clothes have?

Colony Leader explains in her blog that the distinction between 100 % natural cotton and an organic T-shirt is the same as the one with organic vegetables and fruits. When you wear materials which are 100 % made out of cotton, wool, bamboo and/ or silk it does not necessarily mean that they are organic.

Further she reports that clothes which are not organic can cause diseases. As clothes are in continuous contact with our skin, the fibres can pass toxic substances through the pores into our human body. As a result pesticides and chemicals in standard clothes can harm our body and make us sick.

Organic clothing have become a new trend as many people try to live more and more health-conscious and environmentally friendly. The blogger Abhiu675 claimed that materials which were not organically grown harm our environment. She reported that chemicals and pesticides that were frequently used to cultivate cotton contained harmful substances and would pollute our water and environment. In her opinion the clothing industry strains the environment more than any other industry. The benefits of organic garnments are that we protect not only ourselves from getting sick but also our eco-system.

Are there also green lies when it comes to organic clothing?

“The fact is that even if a garment is marketed as organic, the label does not necessarily tell you everything about what makes the fabric good – or bad – for the environment”,  that is what a nameless blogger stated on her/his fashion blog.

Moreover she/he claims that even if clothing is made out of organic cotton it does not unconditionally mean that it is 100 % organic. Clothes can only be called organic when its material is naturally grown without adding any chemicals and pesticides. Often the material is dyed, so if you buy organic clothes it is better to look for the ones in natural tones, as cream and brown.

Furthermore she claims that Bamboo which is a very new material in the organic clothing manufacturing seems to have some negative aspects.

According to the article the material grows very fast, then it gets cut and it regenerates quickly, furthermore it feels very soft like cashmere. That sounds like a perfect material for organic clothing, doesn’t it?

However that’s false! As stated in his/ her blog bamboo has to be treated with chemical first to get it really smoothly. Some consumers have already complained about health problems like headaches. However it is becoming even worse. As there is such a hype around bamboo the bamboo forests get more and more cut down which also has some impact on the wild life.

Is organic clothing just a green lie and a multi-billion dollar business for the fashion industry or is it the new sustainable and ethical form of buying clothes?

What do you think? Look forward to your feedback!

See u

Kathrin

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5 Comments

  1. tennisanika

     /  November 28, 2011

    Hi Kathrin!
    First of all, you have a really nice way of writing. Makes it quite easy to go through your post.
    I especially like your little “foot note” in italic. This made me smile when I read it. Because obviously we all have the same problems. This is were you caught my full attention and sympathy in this blog post.

    Now, trying to give an answer to your questions, I must admit that I did notice that more fashion companies started to promote organic cotton but I never really put a lot of thought into it.

    Actually, I found this page below. They claim themselves “knowledge bank on Sustainability” designed as a resource for students.
    http://textileexchange.org/
    They also have blogs on the topic, quite interesting to read.

    And did you know that they are already promoting IT software in order to “make sustainability reporting simple, engaging, and transformative” ??? –> http://www.transparia.com/
    I found this on the website of a Swedish fashion label. Apparently, they are also selling organic cotton products. And on their webpage they claim that they “are one of the world’s largest users of organic cotton and the goal is to increase the volumes by at least 50% each year until 2013”.

    So, coming back to your questions on whether organic fabrication could be considered a green lie or not, I think that obviously there is a big business involved, yes. But if you consider the numbers (increase organic cotton usage by 50% each year) I think, there is also an honest idea behind it. Because I would argue that the effort and money spent on those campaigns of selling green fashion is disproportionate. In other words, they are spending too much time and money on organic cotton. This leads me to the conclusion that they are truly interested in the actual issue of not using chemicals for fabrication. Also, people pay much more attention to what they buy and what they rather should not buy. More and more people are willing and ready to change their consumer behavior in order to help the environment. Donna Worley’s blog connects to my opinion as she states -> “Consumers are willing to pay slightly higher costs to ensure that the products they purchase are manufactured with the triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social performance in mind. No longer associated with being “green,” the concept of sustainability has now matured to include global corporate citizenship, philanthropy and a fundamentally new way of doing business.” (http://info.textileexchange.org/blog/bid/103219/Can-Sustainability-Reporting-Be-Simple)

    Now need to add that you’ve chosen a very interesting topic (as you can tell by my the length of my “little” comment 😀 )

    Reply
    • Hey Anika,

      Great!! Thanks for the links and the information about IT software in order to make sustainability reporting simple!!! Could be a topic for my next blog post ;-). I have just heard that H&M introduced a new clothing line, called “Conscious Collection” and that the company continued to invested in organic cotton. 🙂 It is really interesting to follow these developments! Thank you very much for your feedback and your very loooong comment, I really appreciated it!

      Reply
  2. Hey Kathrin,

    I really like your post about organic clothes and what harm clothes can actually do to us. To be honest, that is the last thing that comes to my mind when I go shopping! Seeing a label saying “organic cotton” makes me think: “nice”. But thats it. I never really give a thought on where it actually comes from and how “organic” it might be.
    it is similar to organic food, don’t you think? After hearing of bio food scandals in discounters my trust in those labels sank to a minimum. It is really difficult to know what you buying -may it be food or clothes or furniture- and where it comes from. Even though a label is sticked to it.

    So all in all your post resembles a topic all of us should give more thought. Thanks of reminding me! 🙂

    Best, Emily

    Reply
  3. Hey Kathrin,
    as we discussed a lot about it personally, I just want to add something I found and after our discussion was of full interest: In the last days, I went shopping to look for a black leggings and went to C&A where I finally found some. Actually, the price difference was not a lot, but at least betweet 3-5 euros. When I found one that stated “Confidence in Textiles- Tested for harmful substances according to oeko-tex standard 100” and it should cost only 2 € more than the cheapest, I direclty decided to by this one. I found it very interesting that there is already something like a “oekotex standard” and was very sure that this 2-euro more investment makes sense. I think your post and our discussion showed its effect and I hope it will influence me over a longer period, as this harmful substances aren’t as avoidable as nicotine (just don’t smoke) or alcohol (just don’t drink) or other “materials” that damages our health. Good job!

    Reply
  4. Hi Kathrin!
    I really liked what you focused on. It was not one of those “Ifht decide to you do not wear organic, you are a bad person” posts. It rather focused on the disadvantages of this new material and how we as a consumer are often insecure when it comes to the question “Is that really organic?”.
    Giving an outlook on new alternatives you are still very critical.
    However, it would have been interesting to read about prices, conditions and stores that have organic cotton. Because after reading some might decide to switch to it. Maybe you could have included some information about that.

    Reply

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