Summer might be coming to a close but we’re still dreaming of summer getaways while the heat is on – and Europe is top on our daydream list. Thankfully one of our sustainable favorites, Coyuchi, gives us a piece of summer destinations France and Belgium, where the organic flax that becomes their linen is grown.
That’s because their organic farmers use a traditional, now rare process called “dew-retting” or “field retting” to extract the fibers – a process where no chemicals are required, and no water is wasted.
To provide some context, the volume of water consumed by the fashion industry today is enough to fill nearly 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools, and this is largely thanks to linen’s near cousin in our wardrobes–cotton. Main cotton producing countries like China and India are already facing water shortages, and with water consumption projected to go up by 50% by 2030, these cotton-growing nations and the fashion industry may face the dilemma of choosing between cotton production and securing clean drinking water.
Organic linen, though traditional in its farming roots, is a revolutionary new way to wear our values as we transition from summer to fall.
Sustainable fashionista and Coyuchi’s Community Manager, Ciara Petruna, tells us what’s behind all that soft summer fabric:
“Many brands would be content with the level of eco-consciousness that Coyuchi has committed to, and – honestly? – most would accept a lot less. But Coyuchi wanted their linen to be 360º, certified organic. Linen has always been a uniquely earth-friendly fiber because flax – the plant from which it’s made – is an inherently eco-conscious crop. Hardy and pest-resistant, it needs very little in the way of fertilizers and chemicals to thrive, and little or no irrigation during growth.
Truly organic linen is rare because flax is not a huge industry. To stay afloat, many farmers raise other crops throughout the year, rotating the flax plants through their fields with each new growing season. To ensure that Coyuchi linen is fully organic from the soil up, the team sought out farmers who grow all of their crops organically, before, after and during flax season. And by committing to organic for their new Montara loungewear, Coyuchi is supporting farmers who grow a host of organic food crops, including wheat, legumes, fava beans, alfalfa and oats. It’s a bit more expensive, but leaves the farmer better off.
As organic farms thrive, their success makes a compelling case for other and more farms to ditch the toxic chemicals, too.
Increasing demand for organic over conventional fabrics can help to bring positive change to an entire system. It’s kinder to the planet and humans alike, while being every bit as beautiful, durable and year-round comfortable. We call that a win for everyone.”
Check out Coyuchi’s new line, and 3 other brands to know who use organic fabrics for your transition wardrobe:
Amour Vert’s Tencel comes from Eucalyptus and Beech trees, which grow quickly without irrigation and don’t need chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Style guru Man Repeller agrees that Tencel is a closed-loop fabric to look out for, while one of our capsule collection brands Reformation calls it, “the Beyoncé of fabric.”
Newsflash: Hemp can be stylish too! Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth and can sequester excess atmospheric carbon to help reverse climate change. By growing and working with hemp, Jungmaven has taken approximately 684 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, saved 1 billion gallons of fresh water and prevented 500 thousand pounds of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizer that eventually would have ended up in our food and water supply if their production relied on conventional cotton.
These shoes have probably hit up your Facebook feed in recent months. Growing favorite Allbirds uses a year-round merino wool from New Zealand that is ZQ-certified, which means it meets stringent standards of sustainable farming and animal welfare. The wool requires 60% less energy to produce than typical synthetic materials used in shoes while their B-Corp status tells us they hold and operate in line with social and environmental benefit in mind. Although B-Corp certification does not provide a guarantee of specific supply chain practices, this is a step in the right direction.