Most people out there, even the ones who are advocates, proud supporters and wearers of organic clothing, have only a vague idea of what actually defines organic clothing. This isn’t an easy area to define, as, in the words of the article linked above, there are no global or even U.S. domestic standards for organic or sustainable textiles. They go on to explain the issue in full detail, but the most plain definition one can provide is that organic clothing is made from materials raised or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards.
Now, there are numerous environmental benefits that come as a result of the rise of organic fabrics and garments made out of them. To a great extent we have the eco-conscious millennials to thank, as their power and influence has forced the fashion industry to steer in the ‘green’ direction and turn to organic and fair trade production. The question that poses itself is, aside from doing something great for our planet, what are our benefits, health ones in particular, of wearing organic clothing? That is the question we will do our best to answer today.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Of course, we have to begin with Cotton. Cotton feels amazing on our skin, it’s durable, you can wash it a million times and it will still look amazing. However, without the word organic, cotton loses its charm. Reportedly, more than 25% of world’s pesticides are used in ‘regular’ cotton production. That leads to pollution on the one hand, and for the consumer, that means wearing pesticide-processed clothes. These can cause allergies and irritation, not to mention that the lifespan of the garment is incredibly short and you can throw it out after just a couple of washes. This doesn’t happen when you’re dealing with an organic garment. These are even safe for babies and don’t cause any allergies or other health issues. Organic cotton apparel also reduces respiratory problems and smells pleasant. So, the next time you go shopping, examine the label closely.
NOT JUST A PRETTY PLANT
Yes, you’ve guessed it right – we are talking about bamboo clothing and its numerous benefits. According to Kate Carter, “Bamboo is frequently proclaimed as the world’s most renewable material: it’s naturally pest-resistant, grows incredibly fast and can actually help rebuild eroded soil. It takes just three or four years to go from seed to harvest and because the root network is so big, you don’t even need to replant – it just shoots right back up again. Bamboo, therefore, can be grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.” Of course, she does go on to say that many farmers do use pesticides, thus compromising the safety and organic property of the fabric. But when grown truly organically and turned into a clothing fabric, aside from the fact that it simply feels good, bamboo clothing also has natural antibacterial properties and allows the skin to breathe.
A FABRIC WITH A PROUD PAST
Linen is a fabric that goes back to biblical times as it’s even mentioned in the Bible and other Christian texts. To say that this fabric has stood the test of time would be a huge understatement. Now, with the rise of organic linen, the ancient fabric has become more popular than ever. One of its best properties is its ability to both absorb and release water quickly, and it becomes even softer and more pleasant on the skin (and the bed) with every wash. A helpful tip when buying something linen: in order to make sure you’re purchasing organic linen, look at the color first as the truly organic one comes in ivory, ecru, tan, and grey. After that, examine the label as always.
Although it comes in many shapes and form, the best form in which we like our Wool is the snuggly, cozy sweater. Some of wool’s best features are that it’s renewable, fire-resistant and doesn’t need chemicals. Still, the thing we most benefit from is wool’s magical ability to keep us warm when we need to and not too hot when we don’t. How does wool do it? Well, it has the role of a cooling barrier by which it plays thanks to its perspiration-wicking properties when it’s hot, while in the cold, it creates an insulating barrier to retain heat. Pure magic! There is by all means another health benefit and it’s the fact that thanks to a high level of lanolin, wool has awesome antibacterial properties.