Everything You Need to Know About Organic Cotton

Around 21% of the world’s clothing is made from cotton, a plant fibre grown primarily in Asia and the United States. But while cotton is a natural and biodegradable material, the explosion in cotton production has created surprising effects on the planet and its ecosystems.

Take a look into sustainable fashion, and one of the first things you’ll come across when it comes to cotton is the word ‘organic’. But what does organic actually mean? Here, we take a look into the definition of organic cotton, its impact on the environment, and how to make it a key part of your sustainable fashion toolkit.

What is organic cotton? 

Conventional cotton (aka non-organic cotton) uses 24% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of all pesticides. 

It is commonly grown using irrigated water and often using GMOS.

Organic cotton is grown without any of these harsh chemicals, mostly rain-fed and uses only natural fertilisers.

Certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) also stipulate that organic cotton can’t be grown using genetically modified seeds, which can threaten biodiversity.

Organic cotton even has social criteria that ensure a fair wage is paid for decent work, and protect agricultural workers from child labour, forced labour and restricted labour rights.


 

The Aral Sea

How is cotton linked to the Aral Sea?

Olga, the founder of I’mdividual, was born in part of the USSR, now called Kazakhstan which is home to the Aral Sea. 

This vast lake used to be the fourth largest in the world, at 68,000 km2 (over a third of the size of the UK!), but now sits at just 10% of its original size. 

Its fishing industry has all but evaporated, destroying local economies and impacting global ecosystems.

The Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s, largely because of irrigation for cotton crops when two rivers that fed the lake were diverted. The fashion and textiles industry, which uses over half of all the world’s cotton, has been blamed for this environmental disaster.

 

Cotton is very thirsty crop - it takes about 10,000 litres of water to grow just one kilogram of cotton; a single t-shirt uses enough water for someone to drink for 900 days!

But here’s the good news - organic cotton uses less water than conventional cotton - in fact 88% less water. Currently less than 1% of all cotton is organically grown, so the more we can invest in this more sustainable material, the better.

Organic cotton clothing

Here at I’mdividual, we use organic cotton extensively in our capsule collection, as the fabric is kind to the planet, and super-soft on the skin. Whether a crisp tailoring fabric for shirts, a structured jacquard for skirts or a smooth, stretchy jersey, organic cotton is a versatile and eco-friendly choice.

Explore our organic clothing options here:

                

The Classic Shirt | £220            The Jersey Top | £170

               

The Midi Skirt | £150               The Wrap Top | £255