• Approximately 25% of all insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides used in the world are used to grow cotton.
For Your Shopping List
Shopping for eco-friendly clothing is a real challenge. Most stores still don’t carry much that is made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo. If clothing is made from organic fabric, ideally it would also be “fair trade,” meaning the workers would be adults – not kids – who were paid a fair wage for their work, and treated to fair working conditions.
In reality, organic, fair trade clothes are hard to come by, especially at the mall. Three stores where you may be able to find eco-friendly clothing on the rack:
Patagonia (and other sporting goods stores) sells vests and jackets made from Synchilla fleece, which is spun from recycled soda bottles.
REI sells organic cotton shirts and jackets.
Nau offers men's and women's sportswear and business styles made from merino wool, organic cotton and almost two dozen new eco-fabrics it has created.
Clothes Made From Scrap offers sportswear, hats and totes made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.
Sportif (reasonably priced organic cotton skirts, Capri pants, hats, halter tops, shorts, tank tops, hoodies)
Cottonfield (organic cotton t-shirts, pajamas, yoga wear, skirts, dresses, plus clothes for men)
Rawganique (reasonably priced hemp and linen tees, yoga wear, cardigans, nighties, camisoles, underwear; men’s clothes also available)
Blue Canoe (organic tops, tees, yoga apparel, skirts, pants, lingerie)
Bamboosa (tees, tank tops, long-sleeved jerseys, yoga pants, men's tees, baby clothes made from soft bamboo)
Esperanza Threads (organic cotton camisoles, blouses, dresses, jackets, cardigans, t-shirts, nightgowns, babywear, golf shirts, sweats, and more)
Maggie's Organic Clothes (organic cotton socks, tops, loungewear, t-shirts, pants)
Sahalie (hemp and cotton long- and short-sleeved t-shirts, dresses, pants, shorts, shoes)
Gaiam (underwear, loungewear, active wear and casual wear)
Peaceful Company (organic underwear)
Decent Exposures (organic cotton bras)
EcoBody Wear (women's "boy shorts," bikini undies, bikini with lace, and bras; men's briefs and boxers)
Sustainable Skivvies (links to more than a dozen additional brands offering intimate earth-friendly apparel)
Grace & Cello Eco Jeans – a more reasonable $85 a pair
Certified Jeans (men's and women's jeans made from organic cotton grown in the U.S. under U.S. labor laws)
Earth Shoe - sandals, activewear, couture, boots, wide-width and vegan options
Green Toe shoes by Simple - sandals, flip-flops, loafers made from recycled car tires, newsprint and plastic bottles
Nike - organic cotton and recycled rubber components in tennis and other sport shoes
Alternative Outfitters - lists shoes made with synthetic or natural materials for the vegetarian in the family who prefers to live life completely "cruelty free."
EcoBodyWear - organic cotton crew, quarter-length and short-top socks
Maggie's Functional Organics - organic cotton and wool crew, dress and hiking socks; tights; baby and toddler tights
Teko Socks - made from wool, corn, recycled polyester and organic cotton
Boll Organic - organic cotton men's dress shirts with button-down or spread-collar styles and button cuffs.
Earth Speaks - jackets and coats that should pass muster in most offices
Linda Loudermilk - edgy pantsuits, dresses and tops you can wear if you want to make a bold statement
Margaret O'Leary - stylish dresses, sweaters and jackets
The Green Loop - made from designers around the world; blue jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, lingerie, swim and sportswear and business attire
No Sweat Apparel - includes shoes, socks, outerwear, t-shirts, tank tops, polo shirts and more
Living Ethically - clothing and shoe company
These tips can make buying pricey organic cotton clothing more affordable:
• REI offers member discounts and coupons on various items throughout the year; watch on-line and in-the-mail notices. REI also pays dividends based on how much you spend at the store in a given year. The dividends can help defray the cost of expensive items and create a sort of “revolving fund” to strengthen your clothing budget.
Remember: Quality is worth more than quantity. Buy one or two high quality, organic items rather than several cheaper synthetic or standard cotton products.