Sustainable, organic, recycled... it's a lot to decipher.
At Raw Flora, we aim to be transparent and honest; we want you to understand why our clothing is the right choice for both you... and the planet.
The Fast Fashion industry attempts to capitalise on quickly moving trends in fashion, creating mass produced, cheap to manufacture garments which are often not built to last.
Raw Flora is a Slow Fashion brand. The slow fashion industry is made up of three main sectors:
What is recycled fabric?
The most commonly recycled materials are Polyester (PES) and Nylon. Both the virgin (unrecycled) and recycled finished product are exactly the same - the only difference is where the fibres originate from.
Virgin Polyester and Nylon are both made from oil - a non-renewable fossil fuel.
Recycled PES and Nylon are made from discarded products. Using these recycled materials reduces the need for landfills and lessens the amount of waste contaminating the oceans whilst saving excess water, contributing to a lighter carbon footprint.
Recycled PES is made from discarded plastics, such as empty drinks bottles. The discarded plastics can be broken down into PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) pellets which, when melted are formed into a thin fibre and then knitted into the fabric. Raw Flora do not currently carry any recycled PES garments.
Made from any item which contains large amounts of Nylon. Fishing nets, carpets and tights are all great examples. The items are cleaned and put through a regeneration and purification process to separate the nylon from other fibres that are present in these items. They then follow a similar process to Recycled PES to form the fabric. All of Raw Flora's Nylon is made by the leading recycled nylon brand: Econyl.
For further info there are so many great resources online. We recommend Textile Exchange if you would like to learn more about recycled fabrics.
What does Organic mean?
Using cotton as an example, organic means that no harmful pesticides or fertilisers have been used in the making of the cotton. These substances cause great harm to farmers and their surrounding land. Only cotton can be used on this land and so takes up a large amount of their property that could otherwise be used for other income sources or food. The substances also dry out the cotton, meaning vast quantities of water have to be pumped back into the cotton therefore resulting in large water wastage and excessive energy consumption.
How are fabrics sustainable?
Sustainable fabrics are a lot more common and are the best place to start to achieve an eco friendly world. They are made with conscientious decisions and can be approved standards through Oeko-Tex (see more info below). They are much better for the environment than a standard textile and should always be favoured. To clarify, organic fabrics are sustainable but sustainable fabrics are not necessarily organic. The best example of this is Bamboo.
Bamboo as a whole is a very sustainable fabric and does not require any fertilisers or pesticides. Cultivation of the plant does not use much water. It can be grown organically. However, in the making of the textile some chemicals ARE used and it's for this reason that bamboo fabric can-not be called organic. There is a lot of mis-selling when it comes to 'organic bamboo'. Many companies claim to make or sell organic bamboo textiles. This is simply not the case.
Bamboo will always be a very popular option for clothing as it's highly absorbent and, due to its microporous formation, the fabric is both warming in the cool and cooling in the warm. There are some studies which claim bamboo has anti-bacterial properties, however, more research is needed in this area and so we do not claim this.
Certification is usually given through Oeko-Tex or GOTS.
What is Oeko-Tex?
Oeko-Tex provide indepth inspections of fabric or garment manufacturing to give an internationally recognised standard. See Oeko-Tex to look at all of their different standards and what they mean. At Raw Flora, we use Standard 100 fabrics which means no harmful substances have been used in the manufacturing or dying of the material. This is perfect for people who are allergenic or have sensitive skin.
What is GOTS?
Organic materials are often given Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) approval. This proves, to anyone buying the material, that it's the real deal and you can trust what you read. It is not an easy standard to achieve and requires both time and considerable financial outlay.
The certification chain is where it gets messy. No manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer can claim to have GOTS or Oeko-Tex authentication without having the approval as a business, even if the product has not been altered in any way from the standard approved company they bought it from. Raw Flora are currently unable to gain Oeko-Tex or GOTS certification due to the cost. However, as we know the fabrics we sell are approved, we are more than happy labelling them as organic or 'better than most'. If you wish to see the certification from our wholesalers, please contact us and we'd be more than happy to help.