Posted on April 03 2019
"Fair Fashion": a term that is becoming more and more popular. But what does "fair fashion" actually mean? At NIKIN we use organic cotton textiles instead of conventional cotton: what is the difference and what makes the first sustainable? You'll find the answers here.
Sustainable fashion: what is "fair fashion"?
Sustainable, fair produced and produced fashion from organically grown fibers is in vogue. Out of concern for their own health, but also due to their sense of responsibility and environmental awareness, more and more customers want to switch to clothing that meets the demands of fair fashion. But what is sustainable fashion? Where do you get products that are at best 100% "organic", and what should you look for?
Sustainability ecological and social
When talking about sustainable or fair fashion, different factors can be distinguished. Ecologically sustainable cultivation dispenses with the use of chemicals during cultivation and processing, strives to minimize the consumption of resources and makes use of mechanical harvesting methods. Products grown in this way are often completely biodegradable, do not pollute or significantly pollute the environment and have no harmful effects on the health of workers and consumers. Cultivation and processing are socially sustainable if appropriate wages, working hours and occupational safety are respected, if child labor is not part of the production chain and the employees are socially protected and can organize themselves, for example in trade unions. Organically grown fibers do not automatically lead to the "organic" garment. This is where the entire value chain is required.
The checklist for sustainable fashion:
✔ Cultivation without chemicals in the crop rotation waiving genetic engineering
✔ Socially sustainable cultivation and processing
✔ Reasonable wages
✔ Longer life of the garment
✔ Suitable for second-hand or vintage trade
Fair Fashion is more than just agriculture
If the garment is then ready and on the market, the sustainability is far from being fully utilized. This is shown by trends in upcycling and slow fashion. This is about the long-term use of high quality produced garments - just not the usual ex-and-Hopp the cheap fashion, but the long wearing and also the use as a second-hand garment or vintage fashion. The higher purchase price of quality garments is worthwhile in that they are much more durable and can be part of a "classic" wardrobe for many years. Conversely, the higher purchase price allows fair wages and better working conditions for employees in agriculture and production.
In upcycling worn garments get a new life: as a "raw material" for new creations, often even designer products from well-known labels, are from old clothes new pieces, even accessories such as handbags or shoes can be produced in this way.
High-quality, resilient natural fibers such as cotton are particularly suitable for sustainable cultivation and long-term use. And especially with organic cotton, consumers are doing themselves and the environment a lot.
Organic cotton: popular natural fiber from sustainable cultivation
Cotton - the cool white natural fiber is the stuff textile dreams are made of. Around 50% of all textiles in Germany are made of cotton. Particularly appreciated is the resilience of cotton and the fact that the plant fiber is so breathable - not only underwear, but also blouses, shirts, dresses or jeans are pleasant on the skin. Because cotton can absorb more than 60% of its own weight in moisture, you'll always feel dry and fresh in cotton over the hottest days. Jeans and T-shirts, but also designer pieces, are nowadays mostly made of cotton, the fashion does not avoid the use of the "white gold". And accessories are dependent on the fiber, towels for example, fluffy bathrobes, just everything from terrycloth is made of cotton. The fiber is soft and skin-friendly, rarely causes allergies and, moreover, consists of completely degradable cellulose. So everything in the best cuddly paradise? Not exactly...
Where does cotton come from?
The cotton plant is not a tree, as the name suggests, but a one-year-old mallow plant, which resembles a low shrub. The cotton fibers are the wooly filling of the seed capsules that contain the actual seeds. The plant grows slowly and has an extremely high water requirement - more than 2,500 liters of water are needed for a cotton garment. Since many productions rely on extensive monocultures that are replanted over and over again with cotton, the demand for fertilizers and pesticides is correspondingly high. In the medium term, this damages the soil and, of course, the health of workers in agriculture. And the fiber itself also has a chemical load.
In order to reduce these unsustainable and sometimes extremely dangerous side effects of global cotton demand, the cultivation of organic cotton is an obvious solution.
What is organic cotton?
Organic labels such as Öko-Tex or GOTS indicate that the cotton for a specific product was grown according to the guidelines for organic farming. In this case, the use of fertilizers and pesticides is prohibited. Fertilization is therefore with natural substances such as compost or manure. In addition to the fertilizer effect, this mode of operation improves the soil quality and humus content and increases the capacity for storing water. Therefore, cotton plants in organic farming require less water.
The pest control is done by "diversion maneuvers" such as the cultivation of sunflowers between the cotton fields - because they taste the cotton beetle much better. If you buy a garment made of organic cotton, you can save several square meters of soil in front of the chemical club.
Sustainable work is also done during the harvest - the fair-grown cotton is picked by hand without the use of defoliants. And afterwards you have to work with a crop rotation, so you have to cultivate another plant so that the soil will recover.
Especially for small farmers in India, Africa or South America, the cultivation of organic cotton is therefore a real blessing, especially since they can use the cores from the cotton capsules as seeds for the next sowing. Conventional cotton cultivation, however, often occurs with genetically modified plants that are sterile. In addition, organic cotton is usually traded fairly. However, only about 1% of cotton production worldwide is "organic" - so there is definitely a need for action here. This is best controlled by the consumer. Because he has the choice with Fair Fashion!