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Organic Clothing Standards, Retailers, Stores & More
Unlike, food and personal care products, there are no U.S. or global standards for organic textiles. Although natural fibers that come from plants and animals can be certified ‘organic’ by the USDA, those fibers undergo a number of processes in order to create textiles, or materials, that will be used to make clothes.
A number of harsh chemicals are used to weave, clean, dye and finish materials. This makes it difficult to deem clothing organic even if the original fibers were in fact from organic sources. However, many organizations around the world are now working to create global standards for what can be labeled organic clothing.
OTA Organic Clothing Standards
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) in America has made great strides in establishing 4 levels for organic clothing labeling.
100% Organic – all materials used are grown organically, even the threads. All processes used conform to the OTA standards.
Organic – At least 95% organically grown fibers used and all processes adhere to the OTA standards.
Made with Organic (specific fiber products) – At least 70% of the fibers used were organically grown.
Less 70% Organically Produced - The garment may or may not have some organic fiber content. May be manufactured using processes that don’t follow the OTA standards.
Organic Clothing Materials
The fibers used for materials are basically the only thing that is currently certified organic in clothing. Organic clothing comes in a variety of materials. Just how many materials may surprise people. Below are examples of materials that can be organically harvested to create organic clothing.
Where to Find Organic Clothing
Luckily, organic clothing has become more popular in recent years and the availability has improved greatly. Now, you can find organic clothing almost anywhere in the U.S.
Online – The internet is probably your best resource for finding organic clothing providers, both locally and anywhere in the world. There are a number of websites that sell organic clothing and cover trends within the organic clothing industry.
Farmers markets – Farmers markets aren’t just for people looking for organic foods. You can also find eco-friendly products that support sustainability. Bonus: you’ll be supporting your local economy.
Retail stores – Organic clothing has become so popular that even major chains like Wal-Mart are selling affordable options. Other retail stores that typically sell organic clothes include Target, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Bloomingdales and many more.
Check the labels to make sure the garment really is organic and to what degree. It also helps to research manufacturers to learn about the processes they use to make their organic clothing, because as you now know a lot more to think about than the fabric.