THE MAKE | organic cotton
Many of us choose to eat organic food whenever possible and have switched to natural beauty products. Doesn't it make sense to translate these lifestyle choices to our wardrobes as well?
In order to be considered organic, cotton must be grown without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and on land that has been treated given time to heal from said toxins for at least 3 years.
There are dozens of reasons to choose organic over conventional. Here are a few :
01. It comes from an actual real-life plants (and is non-GMO), meaning the plants genetic makeup has not been modified in a lab using genetic engineering or transgenic technology to be resistant to pests or "stronger and healthier", aka completely unnatural.
02. Organic cotton leaves a smaller environmental footprint, it uses 62% less energy than conventional cotton due to the production of fertilizer alone.
03. Conventional cotton uses 16% of the worlds insecticides and 7% of pesticides (that's A LOT). Organic cotton uses none.
Sure, a farmer can grow a lot more cotton with the use of chemicals. That is, in the first few growing seasons ONLY — until the soil becomes dirt (aka infertile, stripped nutrients) for future crops, and the ground water becomes contaminated. The land then requires GMO seeds to grow in unnatural and infertile conditions, and more water from outside sources. There is no limit to land and it's growing capacities when growing organic crop.
Take Egypt for example, a major cotton-producing nation (I mean who didn't lust for Egyptian cotton sheets in the early 2000's). By implementing advanced organic farming techniques, Egypt has cut down its usage of artificial fertilizers and pesticides by more than 90% and achieved an overall 30% growth in production. We should all be more like Egypt when it comes to how we treat our land.
04. Organic cotton uses less water because 80% rain-fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources. And, the absence of chemicals means water that runs off or soaks into the earth is clean and safe for the surrounding communities.
04. The largest cotton producing nation is India, where we run 90% of our productions. Only 1% of cotton grown in India is organic, and we couldn't be more proud to support that 1% whenever possible (and in turn support this percentage to go up). By utilizing readily available materials we further support the country and it's people where we choose to make our clothing. By choosing organic, we take it one step further to protect the country and it's people from harmful production methods.
05. Here's the only con (but keep reading because I'm going to spin it into a positive) : Organic cotton costs 30% more than regular cotton.
Maria Stanley is a higher price-point collection. I've made it my goal in 2020 to open the conversation of the why and how I choose to make my clothes, in hopes this explains the higher price point (I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for").
By choosing to produce the way that I do (organic fibers, natural dying using the earth, slow and trusted production methods, fair wages — just to name a few), I'm taking action in what I see is wrong with the industry (the opposite of all mentioned above, and more common than you would think), and taking part in what I, and so many like-minded designers, hope will be a "new normal". It's possible if we keep going in this direction there will be no such thing as conventional cotton, only organic cotton. Organic cotton will be the norm, and there will not be a 30% price increase.