I am going to begin this post by saying I am not here to preach – I am as guilty as anybody else for buying my clothes from anywhere and everywhere, mostly wherever I can get the best bargains. I recently learnt how beneficial buying organic cotton, clothing and food can be to so many people and our planet. I would like to share with you what I have learnt and also a little bit about the company I source my fabric from.
When related to farming or food, the term ‘organic’ simply means the production has not involved any kind of pesticide, fertiliser or chemical. I used to mock my Mum for being snobby about wanting to buy organic fruit and veg, claiming it was absolutely no different to the normal stuff and just cost more. My young, naive self didn’t realise that although the cost is slightly higher, it reflects a product that has been produced in a far healthier manner – both for us, the environment and those who are farming it.
I’d always been aware that pesticides and fertilisers are harmful to the planet and that there can still be traces left in a product when it reaches the consumer. However I had absolutely no idea until very recently just how destructive they can be to the farmers. After a bit of research I discovered that since July this year, at least 50 farmers have died from the effects the chemicals had on their bodies and an additional 800 have been admitted to hospital. That is in just 3 months. I couldn’t quite believe it, so continued to scour the web and the same figures came up over and over again.
As I said at the start, I’m really not here to preach, but I don’t think people are aware of the true extent of non-organic farming. I’ve always shopped on the high street and am guilty of buying from shops that not only use non-organic fabrics but most probably aren’t fair-trade and pay their workers below the minimum. I am now on a mission to try and become more aware and help others to understand the problem by creating a company with strong ethical and ecological views. This begins with sourcing organic fabric, and I would like to tell you a little bit about where it comes from…
The company was started by a couple that had been selling fabrics for years, and gradually became more aware of how harmful it is for farming communities to use chemicals on an everyday basis. Their two mills are in India and Turkey, and their bamboo comes from China. All three sites are certified by a body called GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) which is the leading textile processing standard world-wide and follows both social and ecological criteria. (I’m going to interrupt myself here by stating that although I’m going against my own beliefs by shipping fabric across the globe, I have such strong admiration for this company and believe the good they are doing for the communities currently outweighs that.)
The farmers that produce the organic cotton each own enough land to enforce crop rotation to regularly cut the cycle of pests. By farming organic, the crops may be smaller but there are no major outgoings for fertilisers and pesticides, which in turn isn’t supporting mass chemical companies and means the farmers are receiving a higher profit for their goods. Above everything else, they are also living much healthier and happier lives. Along with setting up a charity to support weavers employed by the company, 10% of all profits are given out to staff and to support local initiatives. They also offer interest free loans to local businesses. Their ethos is that they run the company for fun and to provide a more satisfying and personal way of trading.
I hope this has given you a small insight into why it’s so important to be more aware of what you’re buying and where it’s come from. I’m not here to say that I’m going to throw away everything I own that isn’t organic, or that I’ll be checking every single label before I buy, or that I’m going to become some kind of preaching eco warrior – because I’m not. But I am going to start by making small changes and making more of an effort to source organic products and support fair-trade companies where possible. I really hope I can inspire some (if not all!!!) of you to do the same, beginning with shopping at Lovesay and Mo….!