I live in Brazil, I'm not sure how many of you know that. I know some of my readers are based around the globe, but I think the majority of you are probably in the United States, where organic cotton fabric is available. I design for a lot of companies, but one of my favorites is Cloud 9 Organic Fabrics. It's cotton fabric, medium to light weight, used for quilting purposes.
One day, here in Brazil, I decided to have a go at finding organic cotton, I was just looking for some basic solids or muslin. It was incredibly frustrating. In Brazil they speak Portuguese (you can't image how many people ask if I speak Spanish after I tell them I live in Brazil), and I've been studying for four years now, and am a pretty decent speaker. I mess up a ton, but I think I can usually get my point across, and understand what the response is. But organic cotton! Here's about how my search went::
Sarah walks into store. Excuse me, do you have organic cotton?
What do you mean? Organic?
Yes, cotton that is grown organically, which is more sustainable for the environment, and releases less toxins in the production process.
Still, what do you mean, are you going to eat it?
No, I was planning on sewing with it?
You must mean bamboo. We have bamboo.
Is it organically grown?
Are you goign to eat it?
Goodness. I ended up with no fabric. Not even a nibble. I couldn't seem to get the idea past the guy that organic didn't mean edible. I think I had said something along the lines of 'grown more naturally', and he came back with hemp, bamboo, pretty much all alternative fibers. Close, but not organic. Yikes.
Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you would regularly buy normal cotton quilting fabric. It's got a cheaper price tag, which is great. And why pay the extra money for organic? So many reasons! We all teach our kids so that they can provide a good future for themselves, set good examples and help others, all to improve upon the state of the world. Traditionally grown cotton releases toxins and chemicals that effect the workers and farmers of the cotton, the land the cotton is grown on, and runoff from these fields pollutes our streams, rivers and eventually oceans.
There are so many more reasons, so to not repeat word for word, just go ahead and read this article. It's short, don't worry, an easy read. I hope it convinces you to take organic cotton into consideration the next time you're shopping for fabric. If you're interested in reading more, check out the GOTS website, this is the certification that Cloud 9's fabrics recieve. Also, for a really reader friendly description, check out Cloud 9's FAQ page.