What is organic cotton? What’s the difference between organic and non-organic cotton (and why should I care)? And what do you mean your t-shirts also contain recycled plastic? What’s that about? Enquiring minds want to know.
Firstly, cotton has a history dating back 5,000 years and is inarguably one of the best natural fabrics to wear: it’s breathable, absorbent and washable. It’s a super flexible material. Did you know that other fabrics – corduroy, velvet, denim and flannel (to name but a few)—are made from cotton? What’s not to like?
Lots, as it turns out. Cotton is a thirsty crop and more than 57% of world production takes place in already stressed water areas. And a full 70% of the cotton grow today (a $41 billion industry in 2016) requires irrigation. And then there is the heavy insecticide and pesticide requirement. Add to that the social impacts of cotton farming (90% of cotton farming is done in low-income countries) and you get the picture.
Thankfully, 19% of the world’s cotton is now produced in a sustainable fashion. This organic cotton is often called “preferred” cotton. It’s grown without chemicals or fertilizers and uses 91% less freshwater plus only one-third the energy of conventional cotton. And it’s the only cotton we use at Obakki.
Then, we have recycled plastic fashion. Most of the recycled plastic material used in fashion today is known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate). And the good news is that it found in more than half the world’s synthetic fabric. Recycled plastics are being used in clothing by everyone from Gore-Tex to Gucci. And of course, in Obakki’s Essential Collection of T-shirts (along with organic, sustainable cotton).
Estimated non-renewable energy savings run 40-85% for companies using PET material in manufacturing. This contributes substantially to global warming reduction and the clothing you buy requires far fewer resources to get to the shelf.
But you still haven’t told me how you can put plastic in a t-shirt. You’re right. Melted plastics are turned into acrylic yarns and blended with organic cotton. It’s really a win-win with complimentary materials that are recycled and sustainable.
Recycled plastic products are being touted as a ‘solution to pollution’. The more recycled plastic comes into fashion demand, the less plastic will end up in our oceans and landfills. And at Obakki, we are committed to finding sustainable, ethical sources for our fabrics and other materials.
Because for us, it’s not just about selling a t-shirt. It’s about creating a lifestyle opportunity that you, the consumer, will embrace. An ethical lifestyle—where you wear clothing made from organic materials, you eat as locally as possible (remember the 100-mile diet) and you care about where everything you purchase comes from. Because the only way to change the destructive environmental path our society has chosen is by changing the way you are willing to spend your money.
By adopting a conscious lifestyle, you refuse to be an active participant in the destruction of our natural resources. And that’s ethical.