This month, the Soil association has been promoting and celebrating Organic September, a campaign designed to educate people as to the benefits of organic practises in agriculture and farming. With multiple events across the UK, they have been doing an amazing job of explaining what the term organic means; why you should choose organic products; what the difference is between ordinary products and organic products; and also in showcasing the benefits of buying organic for you, the environment, and the agricultural workers. If you want to know more about this, you can check out their website where you can find a lot of more information along with some delicious recipes. There is also some information dispelling some of the false myths surrounding organic produce.
For most of us, when we hear the word organic the first thing that comes to mind is food – vegetables, meat, fish, chocolate, milk, honey, etc. Only a few of us would think about anything different. However, I would like to tell you today about something else that can be organic – clothes!! Our clothes, when made by natural fibres, can also be certified organic products. And this is really important, because this certification makes our clothes ethical, yes! In one of my previous posts I talked about the fibres our clothes are made of and how organic cotton is one of the best choices out there to make sustainable and ethical clothes – if you want to have a look at it, you can find it here.
Basically, the growth and production of common cotton involves a lot of pesticides and insecticides, aka dangerous chemicals, that put at risk not only the planet and the environment, but also the lives of the people involved in their production (the ones involved in the growth and harvesting of the cotton and also the ones involved in the process of making the final garments with that cotton too). In contrast to this, certified organic cotton involves good agriculture practices, such as:
- maintaining the health of the soil by using more natural systems for crop rotation and to control pests;
- the implantation of ecological processes and the adaptation of those processes to fit local conditions;
- the promotion of fair working conditions with good breaks and pay;
- the provision of a safer working environment as no dangerous chemicals are involved in the process at all, including the finishing and dying of the garments – which is usually when the most hazardous of chemicals are used.
So as you can see, it is really important we check the labels of our clothes and look for seals and certifications that prove these good standards have been maintained during the manufacture of the clothes we’re shopping for.
Now comes the fun part – choosing the clothes!! Now that the winter is coming again (yes I know, it is a bit depressing, especially here in England) we are all going to need to check our wardrobes and decide which new pieces we are going to get for the winter. In my case, I haven´t bought anything new yet because first, I already have a lot of things and, second, this year I do not have a lot of money to spend on clothes – my budget is very low! Anyway, there is one thing I would really like to buy new for this winter – a dress! I enjoyed wearing dresses so much this summer that I would like to continue doing so this winter! I mean, I don’t have a winter dress at all…I have always been more of a trouser and jumper person during winter, but this year I want to give dresses a go and wear them during the cold months too. I have already been checking the website of my favourite brands looking for them and found out that there are a lot of beautiful dresses this year everywhere, and, even better, most of them are made of organic cotton!! A Win win!!
I can’t decide which one is my favourite so I’ll leave you here a selection of some of my favourite ones. Which one should I choose?
The first three are from People Tree and the other two are from Thought Clothing. These two brands have a lot of clothes made from organic certified cotton. Being really honest with you, they are probably my two favourite ethical brands as I think both do an excellent job when it comes to workers rights, transparency, and protecting and supporting the people and the planet. I know their prices aren’t cheap but I don’t think they are inaccessible either. A pair of trousers with a blouse and a jumper or jacket from Zara, H&M, Top Shop…. can cost you around GBP £100 and that is pretty much the same as a couple of these dresses. While buying from high-street retailers means you can buy more clothes, it is likely that you won’t wear them so much because being part of fast-fashion, they’ll become unfashionable really quickly and you’ll end up buying new ones sooner than you expected.
To end this post, I’d like to share with you some reflections I’ve made after a year buying only from ethical brands or second-hand shops. I realise that I now love my clothes far more than before and that when I wear them I feel empowered. They are much more in tune with myself and my ethics, like they reflect something that is inside of me. Before, I never experienced such feelings wearing clothes, so these feelings are completely new and I love it! I also pay much more attention to my clothes, taking care of them, making sure they do not get dirty or creased when I wear them or when I store them in my wardrobe. I definitely buy much less than a year ago when I started to pay attention to my shopping habits and when I do buy, I always have in mind sustainability and ethical practises – I always always check the labels!! I also realised that this year has been the first one thin which I have worn all the new clothes I bought and what’s most surprising to me is that I’ve worn them more than 10/20 times each. Are you surprised? I have to confess that this wasn’t the case in previous years – I think I was bad when it came to buying clothes and accessories; I was always buying compulsively and being influenced by temporary trends and fashion magazines which I no longer buy for obvious reasons.
In essence, I can now say that I feel the change this reform of my shopping habits has had on my life and I would definitely not like to return to my former habits. I am truly aware of my position and the role I play in the world as a consumer and I do not want to be part of the fast-fashion movement anymore, particularly since I learned about how it impacts so negatively on the people and planet. What do you think about this? Have you thought about changing your habits too? Please share your comments with me, I would love to read them! 🙂 🙂