Are Organic Fabrics Worth The Investment?
In order to create the perfect fabric for our pajamas, we worked closely with the experts at our certified mill. The end result of this process was a fabric that was just as soft as the one we had been using previously.
So why did we decide to make this shift? Because it’s something that strongly aligns with our company values.
After many trips to India to spend time with the people manufacturing our designs, founder Amy Voloshin became even more strongly committed to ensuring worker safety is considered in all aspects of manufacturing.
“It is our hope that by sharing our process and methods, we can make it easier for other entrepreneurs to adopt sustainability efforts in their own businesses. For our customers, we hope that you can sleep well in our pjs knowing that tremendous care went into the planning and production of our designs.”
- Amy Voloshin, Founder
While making the switch to organic cotton does slightly affect our garments’ price, we are confident that when armed with the facts about organic fabrics, our customers will agree it’s a worthwhile investment.
To help you learn more about the benefits of going organic, and the rigorous standards our fabric is held to in order to maintain the GOTS certification, we’re sharing some of what we learned as we went through this process to develop our new fabric and bring this more environmentally friendly material to market.
Why organic fabrics are really worth the investment
As a consumer trying to decide if organic fabrics are worth the investment, there are two broad categories of facts to take into consideration: the impact on the environment and the social impact.
There are many nuances to the environmental consequences of non-organic versus organic cotton. While there are many debates over whether organic is better or worse for the environment, one thing is clear. The damage done by the runoff from harmful chemicals used in the process of making conventional cotton causes significant harm to the workers who grow the cotton and the neighboring communities in which they live.
For us, the environmental impact of cotton is very important, but it’s the damage done to the communities of growers that lies at the heart of our decision.
Health risks of growing conventional cotton
Growing conventional cotton crops carries many health risks for workers and the surrounding communities. The fertilizers and pesticides used to help grow and protect the crops pollute the community’s water, soil and even the food supply.
Another key issue in the industry is that large seed corporations hold a monopoly on cotton seeds. We’ve seen (and read about) the devastating effects of these monopolies on communities of small growers all over the world. These commercial, genetically modified seeds are typically more expensive than farmers can afford and are not well suited to the environments they’re grown in, increasing reliance on fertilizers and pesticides. This makes the cotton more expensive, puts communities at risk for illness and increases pollution levels.
Compounding this problem is the issue of preserving cotton seeds. In traditional cotton production, the seeds from the year’s crop are typically preserved for the next season. Now, because many conventional cotton growers are using genetically modified seeds, this is no longer possible. Due to the GMO seed industry’s patent laws, farmers are required to buy new seeds every year – adding an additional financial burden and further challenging their ability to make ends meet. The result is devastating to small farmers and their families all over the world.
Not all organic cotton is created equally
While we firmly believe that choosing organic cotton helps fashion move in the right direction, it’s important to understand that not all organic cotton is grown and manufactured equally.This is why regulatory bodies and certifications exist. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. The standards include ecological and social criteria, which is backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
The GOTS standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibers. The rating system provides oversight to ensure that: Employment is freely chosen
• Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
• Working conditions are safe and hygienic
• Child labour is not used in the production of the cotton
• Living wages are paid
• Working hours are not excessive
• No discrimination is practiced
• Regular employment is provided
• Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
In order for the final products to be labeled GOTS Certified, operators from post-harvest handling to garment making, as well as wholesalers (including exporters and importers), have to undergo an on-site annual inspection cycle and must hold a valid certification.
Avoiding fast fashion and investing in organic cotton
If you’re at all familiar with our company and values, you know that we strive to create products that are made with a high level of craftsmanship and designed to last for many wears over many seasons of your life. This is one of the reasons we’ve put so much time and energy into choosing the right organic cotton to make our sleepwear.
This investment may mean that our pajamas are sold at a higher price point than other options, but this helps us ensure that we’re able to continue to provide living wages for all of the skilled workers who help to produce our sleepwear, both in the US and in Jaipur where they are manufactured.
The topic of organic fabrics can be especially tricky to educate yourself on, but after 20 years in the fashion industry, we strongly believe that it's an important topic to learn about. We think that as more companies move towards organic cotton, communities all over the world will reap the financial, social, and environmental benefits.