Cotton and its impact

Cotton is a staple material of the fashion industry, representing about one third of the fibre used to produce clothes and other textiles worldwide. As consumers’ awareness of sustainability increases, so does the popularity of the material. Many believe to be making an eco-friendly choice when buying clothing made from cotton - after all, it’s natural, renewable and biodegradable. But despite these favourable attributes, the environmental and social impact of conventionally grown cotton is far worse than one might expect. And even organic cotton, which is receiving more and more attention from sustainable fashion lovers and well-known brands alike, might not be the ideal solution.. 

Conventional cotton is not as sustainable as often believed, and although organic cotton is a way less harmful option, it might not be the perfect solution for the fashion industry either. In addition, keep in mind that the processing (cleaning, dying, etc.) of both conventionally and organically grown cotton can make use of toxic chemicals too. When choosing to buy organic cotton, it’s therefore helpful to look for third-party certifications, such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), which ensures that a garment has been processed in line with both environmental and social standards - from seed to finished product. 

It’s important to keep in mind that even if all the cotton worldwide was produced organically, it would still cause our planet some harm - unless we considerably slow down our consumption. As a consumer aiming to make more sustainable decisions, it therefore is best to buy certified organic cotton, but also to practice a slower approach to fashion - by making fewer and more conscious purchases, taking care of your clothes and encouraging others to do the same.