Sustainable Basics: What is Organic Cotton?

Cotton is an incredibly versatile fibre and has many advantages compared to other materials, such as its ability to control moisture, insulate, is hypoallergenic and is overall durable and comforting to touch.

No wonder then, that between 30%-50% of all clothing is made of cotton. The problem is, the increasing demand for this crop is taking a serious toll on the environment and the communities that grow it. The main issues with cotton is the incredible amount of water and hazardous chemicals it needs to be produced. Luckily, all of this can be avoided by swapping to organic cotton.  

Water Consumption

3% of freshwater worldwide is used to grow and treat cotton. In order to make 1 pair of jeans and 1 t-shirt, you would need about 1kg of cotton, which requires 20,000 to 30,000 litres of water. It is an incredibly thirsty plant, and the fact that it is largely being grown in water scarce areas is not helping. In fact, water scarcity is deemed to be one of the biggest risks to society within the next 10 years according to the UN.

Chemical Usage

It is estimated that farmers who grow cotton use a shocking 25% of all the world’s pesticides and 10% of insecticides for their crops, which has serious implications for both workers and the environment. For starters, they infiltrate our soil and waterways, damaging entire eco-systems. It also has a negative health effect on the communities that grow it. According to the WHO, up to 20,000 deaths each year in the developing world are caused by pesticide and insecticide poisoning and up to 10,000 farmers in the US die from cancers associated with these chemicals.

Why Organic Is Better

Growing organic cotton relies on natural farming techniques and rotational cropping, which contributes to healthy soil, waterways and communities. It uses up to 91% less water than regular cotton, and the crops are also more resilient to both floods and droughts. Avoiding the use of chemicals and the use of rotational cropping improves the long term health of soil. It also helps build a sustainable economy for local communities, by providing safe and fair employment opportunities.

Our latest drop from Armed Angels features some of this season’s must-have basics made from their premium organic cotton. They are GOTS certified, which means all of the fibres used are organic and made in factories that meet strict environmental and social criteria. Farmers work in safe conditions and are paid a fair wage. Only low-impact chemicals are allowed whilst water and energy usage are closely monitored. In a nutshell, their pieces make the perfect ethically conscious alternative to high street cotton!

Malenaa Jersey Turtleneck, £39

A true essential, every wardrobe needs a staple black turtleneck. Crafted from 100% organic cotton, Malenna boasts a slim body skimming fit that’s super flattering. Tuck yours into high waisted mom jeans for a laid-back but smart off-duty look, or dress up with a midi skirt and heels for an evening out.

Medinaa Knit Top in Sandshell, £79

The ideal everyday jumper, Medinaa is a piece that everyone needs in their capsule wardrobe. Crafted from thick organic cotton, it’s perfect for layering under coats and blazers in the colder weather or simply wearing alone on those milder days. The neutral sandshell fabric ensures unbeatable versatility, meaning you really can wear it with anything. 

Fjella Cropped Jeans in Red, £89

An elevated twist on the classic jeans, the Fjella jeans add an instant pop of colour to any outfit. Flatteringly cut to fall mid-calf, the brick red cropped style look great teamed with contrasting white ankle boots. Crafted from 98% organic cotton, they retain their shape but have enough stretch to ensure optimum comfort.

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