We are witnessing a shift. More consumers are rising up and asking questions about what they buy, where it is from, how it was made, what is in it, who is behind it. Conscious consumerism is becoming the norm - from the foods that we eat and drink, the personal care products and cosmetics we put on our bodies, to the fabrics and textiles that we wear and have close to our skin.
Consumers are demanding transparency. They want to know non-toxic dyes are not being used, they want to know what chemical treatments are being used to make a fabric what it is, they want to know that fair and living wages are given to the people who make our clothes, they want to know what alternative textile materials and recycled fibres are available, they want to know the impact of what they wear, use and sleep on, they want to know their choices are having a positive impact on the earth and her people not destroying our world. And, as a result more companies (big and small) are rising to the challenge of creating beautiful pieces that nurture and conserve to meet these expectations.
“Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles.” ~ David Suzuki
In the organic textile world, we are seeing an emergence of fabrics that when they touch our skin and soul we are nourished by a story, a rarity, beauty and preservation.
Products that are timeless. These fabrics are not driven by a moment in time but made in recognition of simplicity of form, the basics, the fundamentals, made for life.
Products that are unique. The textile fabrics that we are seeing grace our bodies and our homes have a synergy with the environment and are not made whilst destroying it. There is a recognition, appreciation and respect for the earth, skilled craftsmanship and the artisan.
Products that have soul. There is a recognition of the maker, their hands, their lives, their story and the fabric is charged with meaning of where it came from and transparency of the entire process.
"It's not enough for me anymore that it's a beautiful piece - I want to know who made it and where it came from" ~ Emma Watson
The difficult part is navigating through it all and finding companies that maintain high environmental and ethical practices. It truly is a minefield and not something that we hear or talk about in mainstream. The words organic, natural and pure are bandied around but then with chemical processing, toxic dyes and weak legislation we end up with a highly toxic product without us even knowing it.
We have put together our top 3 tips to navigate through the shift towards conscious consumerism are:
Tip 1: Ask questions
Transparency allows you to know the truth behind textiles and the textile industry. Ask the brand or retailer how a fabric is made out of a plant and what chemical processes it has to go through to get to that state, ask what dyes are used, ask where it is made. Dive deeper. The more informed the better your choices and the bigger the impact on the planet.
Tip 2: Look for certification not just the word organic, natural or pure.
Strict certification like the leading Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) ensures that the original product and the end product is in its truest sense still in its natural organic state and does not contain or use any toxic cocktail of chemicals in the process.
Tip 3: Use tools and apps to help your research
In today's digital world, some amazing tools are available at our fingertips to help guide us through our journey into the world of conscious consumerism. Our top pick is the Good On You app - Good On You aims to address this minefield by rating 1,300 different clothing brands and highlights their record on three main areas: its impact on people, the environment and animals.
All Bhumi products are made from Fairtrade Cotton and adhere to the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) and dyed using water based GOTS approved dyes, which are free from AZO dyes, toxic chlorine bleach, toxic heavy metals, toxic formaldehyde, toxic aromatic solvents with no toxic colour fasteners to artificially lock in the colour with chemicals. All of our products are made with love for the Earth and Her People.
About the Author: Vinita is the Founder of Bhumi Organic Cotton and passionate about an Earth Life Balance.