genetically modified cotton seeds were invented to have a resistance to bugs and to grow faster there for yielding more fabric. these are probably the only benefits of what we call regular cotton today.
but how does this industry effect the planet?
Farmers globally are sold the idea that they will yield more cotton and make more money. But this is not the case. They are sold the seeds then told that they need new more effective pesticides and fertilisers. A lot of farmers growing these crops live in very poor areas in countries such as India (produces the majority of the worlds cotton) . These farmers can't afford to buy the pesticides and fertilisers they are told they need by big American companies so they are sold to on credit. rising seed prices and falling sale prices of cotton mean that farmers are unable to keep up with payments and are forced into un imaginable debt. Since 1995 over 270,000 farmers in India have committed Suicide. There land is then claimed by the Corporations they are in debt to.
The problems don't stop there.
"We are already seeing the impact of high-intensity agriculture - the nutrients available in the soil are depleted rather than renewed creating, in reality, a 'drug addict': this year it takes 'x' amount of petroleum-based fertiliser to generate the yields required to be profitable and next year, they need 'x' amount more... " -LARHEA PEPPER- ORGANIC COTTON FARMER & MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TEXTILE EXCHANGE
The heavy use of these are spread through the air, run into rivers and start effecting the local eco systems. Including the population
3,000,000 people suffer the effects of pesticides poisoning each year, 20,000 subsequently die.
studies show that the average risk of brain cancer was 29 percent higher among subjects with occupational exposure to pesticides than subjects with no exposure.
In Large cotton growing areas in the US and Asia more and more brain tumours are being discovered in people either working or living locally to the cotton fields.
Formerly the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 68,000 km2. The Arel Sea has been shrinking since the 60's. Rivers that fed the sea were diverted to instead feed cotton production. Today the lake is 1/10th of its original size!
We are all guilty of purchasing a cheep multi pack of knickers on the high street. But what is the real cost?
On average a simple pare of knickers produces 1.9kg of Co2.
We work extremely hard to source the most sustainable fabrics and threads for our underwear. aiming to be fully biodegradable, producing s little Co2 as possible and supporting the local manufacturing movement. Thus not contributing to the environmental costs of shipping our underwear across the planet. Local manufacturing also creates more jobs within the industry here!
Vivienne Westwood "buy less, Choose well and make it last"
Diane Houston, Founder of luxury lingerie brand Gilda & Pearl, explains:
"The attitudes towards the purchase of underwear have, in recent years, been moulded by an industry that stresses affordability over quality. The ability to make clothes cheaply and quickly, regardless of the ethical or environmental ramifications, has been the driving force behind the fast fashion industry. In light of recent attempts to highlight the environmental impact of a consumerist culture, such as climate protests, TV specials and relentless and commendable coverage from the media, shoppers are beginning to prioritise longevity over price.However, when it comes to underwear, which many believe cannot be recycled and isn't accepted in clothes donations, the gradual movement away from fast fashion is yet to take effect. Instead, pieces that are designed to last little more than a few months make their way into the waste cycle at an alarming rate. The items of underwear that enter this cycle are not made from natural materials like cotton or silk but manufactured and fossil fuel reliant materials like polyester and nylon. The demand for cheap underwear stems from a misconception that underwear, as a rule, should be bought with the intention of throwing it away relatively shortly after. To make any real impact in tackling the fast fashion industry and its effect on the environment, this misconception needs to be overcome."
Questions we should ask before buying underwear.
Is it organic? There are many problems associated with cotton production, from the use of child labour to the widespread use of toxic pesticides. Look for 100 percent organic cotton.
Who made it? Transparency is something a lot of fast fashion brands do not have. What are they hiding? Why can this product possibly be so cheep? if these companies were to be transparent would anyone buy anything from them? (Probably not)
Is it polyester? Over 70 million barrels of petroleum are used to make polyester each year. It is the single most common fabric used in our clothes. It has been linked with marine pollution, contributing to the 85 percent of human-made material found along ocean shores.
Polyester is NOT a sustainable textile option. It is made from PLASTIC.
but the question lies around recycled polyester. Recycling and melting down used plastic and re spinning it into fibre. Five soda bottles yields enough fibre to make one extra large T-shirt. This sounds great ... It stops plastic from reaching our oceans, going to land fill or washing up on our beaches. Uses 59 percent less energy than Virgin Polyester and the quality is almost equal, and there is less extraction of crude oil and natural gas from the earth to make more plastic.
However it is still plastic !
most clothes will be polyester blended with other materials and is then near on impossible to recycle them. Pure Polyester cannot be recycled forever. Each time the strength of the fibres degrades and becomes weaker!
One fact that we cannot ignore is that however sustainable you are trying to be polyester will release micro plastics!
According to a study from Plymouth University, each cycle of a washing machine can release more than 700,000 plastic fibres into the environment.
It doesn't matter if garments are from virgin or recycled polyester, they both contribute to micro-plastics pollution.