WHAT & WHY LABELS
Do you ever have a hard time deciding which certifications on your clothing are most important? Or maybe what the heck they mean? Or if it really even matters? You are not alone!
Let's start with what we know.
Your skin is the largest organ on your body. What you lay across your beautiful skin does have an effect on your body. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the British Journal of Pharmacology published an article that states "drugs have been applied to the skin to treat superficial disorders, for the transdermal administration of therapeutics to manage systemic ailments and as cosmetics, dating back to the oldest existing medical records of man." The same article references studies proving this age-old belief.
Most clothing items that are purchased today eventually go into a landfill. So purchasing clothing made using biodegradable materials, ensures that if it must go to a landfill, it will biodegrade causing no harm to the environment.
We know what we purchase and put on our skin matters, so let's take a deeper dive into the labels you will find associated with our products. Just hover over each label for more information.
Two more important certifications to note are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and OKEO-TEX Standard 100.
As found on global-standard.com, GOTS "...stipulates requirements throughout the supply chain for both ecological and labour conditions in textile and apparel manufacturing using organically produced raw materials. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. In addition, it includes welfare standards for animal husbandry and prohibits genetically modified organisms."
Our Kid Mohair/Silk yarn is OKEO-TEX Standard 100 certified. As stated on okeo-tex.com, "If a textile article carries the STANDARD 100 label, you can be certain that every component of this article, i.e. every thread, button and other accessories, has been tested for harmful substances and that the article therefore is harmless for human health."
According to Eco Bloom, “Biodegradable refers to the ability of things to get disintegrated (decomposed) by the action of micro-organisms such as bacteria or fungi biological (with or without oxygen) while getting assimilated into the natural environment. There’s no ecological harm during the process." When one of our products is labeled biodegradable, you can rest assured that if this item does end up in on or in our ground, it will decompose without harming the environment.
According to RecycleNation.com, "Recycling is the process of turning waste into a reusable material or product. It involves taking common household items, such as paper, glass, and plastic, breaking down the materials, and using them to form another product that is often of lesser quality. For example, the quality of plastic and paper slightly decreases every time it is recycled. Upcycling, on the other hand, is a very specific form of recycling that turns waste into a material or product that is of a higher quality. You do not need to send items to a recycling center to be broken down if you want to upcycle. Instead, you just have to use your creativity to figure out new ways to repurpose or fashion items."
In the charter for the UCLA Sustainability Committee, sustainability is defined as: “the integration of environmental health, social equity and economic vitality in order to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for this generation and generations to come. The practice of sustainability recognizes how these issues are interconnected and requires a systems approach and an acknowledgement of complexity. Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.” To learn more about the sustainability of the cotton used to make our chosen yarns, watch this.
The Vegan Society defines "veganism [as] a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment." When you see this label on our product, it means that no aspect of the yarn itself, nor the process from the field to our products included any exploitation of or cruelty to animals. Specifically, in our Vegan Line of items, there was no Cochineal used in the dyes.
According to nongmoproject.org, "Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods." With "the absence of credible independent long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown." Because of this, many people avoid products containing ingredients that are genetically modified. If you see this label on our products, the fiber used has not been genetically modified in any way.
In order for a product to be labeled certified organic, it must go through a rigorous process wherein a third-party certification organization determines if the ingredients are grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming. All cotton sold as organic in the United States must meet strict federal regulations covering how the cotton is grown. In accordance with these laws and regulations, you will never see this label on any of our products. Our products have not gone through this process, but you will be able to see if the yarn used is certified organic.
This term means simply something that does not harm the environment. This is basically the overarching label under which all of the others fall. We consider our entire operation to be eco-friendly because every aspect from the growing of the cotton, to the upcycling of clothing to keep it out of the landfills, to shipping to your door in biodegradable packaging is mindfully planned with integrity, so that you can trust we're doing as much as possible not to harm the environment.
Possibly one of the most important labels to look for, according to fairtradecertified.org, "Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first. A choice for Fair Trade Certified™ goods is a choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers, workers... ...and protect the environment." For us, this means that the women spinning and hand-dyeing the yarns we use are paid more than the minimum wage for their country and are able to support their families through their work. Although our products cannot be certified Fair Trade, you can feel assured that all of our organic cotton has been certified as Fair Trade. Because of our commitment to transparency, when you are shopping, our descriptions will clearly state if the yarns used are certified Fair Trade.
This is a label that you will not see attached to our clothing because it is vague at best and deceiving at worst. The FDA has not even comprised a clear definition of the label for food purposes, so using it for clothing manufacturing seems to us as more like a marketing ploy than a helpful decision-making tool for consumers. Instead, we will stick to more accurate and measurable labels to the best of our ability.