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Courtney Mihocik

Organic clothes important for you and the environment

Organic cotton is not just important for the environment, but for bodies too.  

These days going organic is a concept that many individuals are implementing in their daily routines. Be it growing fresh vegetables and fruits in their own backyard or shopping at stores that have organic sources, there’s concern regarding what we’re putting in our bodies. But what about what we’re putting on our bodies?

Cotton is one of the world’s most important fibers, accounting for more than half of the world’s fiber consumption. It’s the fabric that composes the majority of the clothes in our closets. But the mainstream push to organic cotton is a recent one, and companies are beginning to realize that conventional cotton-farming techniques have dire environmental impacts.

According to EcoFriendOnline, in conventional farming, before the seeds are even sown, they are usually treated with fungicides, pesticides and are mostly Genetically Modified Organism seeds. Farmers use herbicides and pesticides throughout the growth of the plants before they’re harvested with toxic chemicals to defoliate them.

This means that if conventionally farmed cotton completes its journey and ends up as your favorite “100 percent” cotton T-shirt, then it’s actually only 73 percent cotton. The remaining 27 percent is chemicals, binders and pesticides that make contact with your body all day long.

It’s important to note the benefits of organic cotton. Not only is it 100 percent environmentally friendly, but it reduces our exposure to toxins and carcinogens by protecting the soil and water sources from pesticide and herbicide runoff. Organic cotton is also softer than conventional, is hypoallergenic and even more absorbent.

In 1996, Patagonia debuted its first line of organic cotton sportswear. The company’s case study on organic cotton concedes that farming cotton organically is more expensive and does require a ludicrous amount of water, but if the transition away from conventional cotton doesn’t happen, the effects will dangerously harm the planet’s viability.

Patagonia isn’t alone. Other retail companies have jumped in the organic cotton game too. In June 2014, Textile Exchange, a company that advocates and creates standards for material sustainability, released its organic cotton report that outlines what countries and companies are producing organic cotton.

Retail brand names such as Nike, H&M, Puma, Williams-Sonoma and Target are the leading companies of organic cotton by volume in 2013, according to the report.

Other organizations, such as Better Cotton Initiative, have teamed with a slew of retail and clothing companies to help define what it means to be sustainable when growing cotton.

It’s important for us as consumers to step in and support retail companies that buy and source their cotton from organic farmers.

Not only will we be advocating for an environmentally sustainable retail market, but also the organic fiber from the soft cotton you wear will feel good on both your skin and on your soul. 

Courtney Mihocik is a sophomore studying journalism and a copy editor at The Post. Email her at or find her on Twitter at @CourtneyMiho.

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