We first introduced the use of GOTS certified organic cotton in our Spring 2020 Ready to Wear collection, used throughout the collection in lightweight shirting to our exclusive woven stripes developed with artisan weavers in India.
Choosing GOTS certified organic cotton ensures we are aligned with the three pillars of sustainability; environmental, social and economic. So often we find that positive environmental impacts create better opportunities for people, socially and economically and organic agriculture is a great example.
Organic cotton is a more sustainable choice for a myriad of reasons. While conventional cotton is grown using pesticides and chemicals which degrade the soil, reducing the fertility of the land, organic agriculture has a positive, restorative effect. Through chemical-free farming practices, growers can enrich the land creating healthy, carbon-rich soils which require less water and mainly relies on rainwater. Pesticide runoff and the contamination associated with it, is avoided. Crop rotation encourages biodiversity and natural pest control which benefits surrounding flora and fauna. The social and economic benefits are also clear, organic cotton farmers are not reliant on costly pesticides, they can yield healthy crops with less water and their communities, often in developing nations, are safe from water and food contamination.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a far-reaching certification which ensures best practice from seed to final product. The standard sets requirements concerning worker rights and social conditions as outlined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and includes, but is not limited to fair renumeration and assessment of a living wage. GOTS certification also ensures better practices for fibre processing and dyeing, enforcing the use of GOTS approved colourants and auxiliaries and fabric mills must demonstrate environment management, including wastewater treatment.
While we acknowledge that organic cotton is not faultless, for example conventional cotton has been proven to yield more fibres due to the genetic modification of the seed. We do believe that GOTS certified organic cotton is a more sustainable choice that promotes better social and environmental outcomes, improving the prosperity and health of the people that grow, pick and process the fibre as well as for the end consumer.
Since we begun using GOTS organic cotton in July 2020, we can estimate a saving of 217’558 litres of water compared with using conventional cotton. This is based on data from the Textile Exchange’s 2014 Life-Cycle Assessment of organic cotton which has calculated water usage during the life cycle of a cotton t-shirt. A t-shirt made from conventional cotton uses approximately 8206 litres of water compared with water usage of 704 litres for the same t-shirt made from cotton grown and processed organically, a saving of 7502 litres.
As of Fall 22, styles using GOTS Certified Organic Cotton are the following: