The term ‛organic’ has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, from food to clothing. But what does it mean and do organic products really live up to the hype? Organic clothing is becoming more and more readily available and many parents are choosing it for their children, but is there actually a benefit?
To be certified organic, neither the growing nor the manufacturing process of clothes can use any harmful chemicals and none of the plants can be genetically modified. Cotton is one of the most common fabrics used to make baby clothes, however cotton production is one of the most chemically intensive processes in modern agriculture; because it is not a foodstuff there is no restriction on the amount and type of pesticides and herbicides used on it. Manufacturing cotton into fabric also uses thousands of tons of chemicals such as bleach, which in some cases can be poured back into the environment.
The result of this is that up to four kilos of chemicals can be used in the manufacture of just one t-shirt. But these chemicals do not just affect the environment – they can also damage the wearer, especially if that wearer is a baby. A newborn baby’s skin is thinner and more porous than an adult’s skin, so absorbs these chemicals more readily. From conception to age three is when babies’ bodies and brains grow the fastest, making them even more vulnerable to environmental toxins, which can stay in the body for years. Moreover, babies’ delicate skin is more susceptible to skin allergies, which can be caused or irritated by the range of herbicides, pesticides, chemicals and dyes used in the manufacture of clothes. Organic clothing is hypoallergenic and does not contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.
The amount of chemicals used to process traditional fabric also mean that it is less durable. Conventionally produced cotton is bleached, softened, dyed and coated in chemicals in production, all of which weaken the fibres and mean that a garment will begin to break down after 10-20 washes. The production of organic fabrics results in a product which is much more resilient, although no less soft and can withstand up to 100 washes before it starts to break down – especially important for messy babies!
Despite all these benefits, organic clothing is still seen by some as unstylish and boring. However, this is no longer the case. Organic clothing can be made from many different materials such as wool, cotton, hemp, soy and bamboo, so it is available in a wide range of styles and designs. And it is not all beige, either : safe dyes made from natural sources in a whole rainbow of colours are used to make organic clothing as colourful as any other clothing you could buy. Pregnant fashion is only one example of this new stylish organic clothing for babies.
To some, organic baby clothing may seem like a fad, but those who choose it can be safe in the knowledge that they are saving money with more durable items and protecting their baby from harmful chemicals and toxins in their clothes. The modern world is full of damaging pollutants, but organic clothing is one way that parents can protect their children.
(This is a Guest Post from Yummy Mummy Fashion)