I’m trying to incorporate as much “green” into my lifestyle as I can, which currently includes finding clothing made with organic cotton. I love tee shirts and socks which I affectionately call my “comfort clothing”. These staples became part of my “Work-At-Home Mom” attire for years while working as a medical transcriptionist. You won’t find me at home without them.
What is organic cotton? Per the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Cotton Facts, “organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.”
I was shocked to learn the inhumane conditions workers (women and children) face on a day-to-day basis at sweat shops. There are no unions to ensure worker’s rights, fair wages, or even safety. The Organic Consumer Association’s Clothes for a Change Campaign provides valuable information about our clothing industry. I found the following facts to be rather disturbing, but it also forces me to rethink where I purchase clothing and shoes in the future.
A United Nations study in 1997 found that in 80% of developing countries, manufacturing wages are now lower than they were in the 1970s and early 80s.
Hourly wages paid by clothing giants such as Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Esprit, Liz Claiborne, Kmart, Nike, Adidas, J.C. Penney and others in China’s “special economic zones,” are as low as 13 cents an hour, well below the estimated 87 cents an hour minimum living wage for an assembly-line worker in China.
More than 200 American textile mills have closed since 1998.
On a more positive note, while researching companies which manufacture or sell organic clothing, I stumbled upon Maggie’s Functional Organics and I’m so glad I did. To add to my delight, I found out this company is located right here in Michigan.
Some enlightening information about Maggie’s Organics found on their website:
Since 1992, Maggie’s Organics has used certified organic fibers in all of their products and upheld their commitment to working with business partners that provide sustainable working conditions for all of their employees.
Currently Maggie’s abides by the OTA
(Organic Trade Association) recognized American Organic Standards for Fiber: Post Harvest Handling, Processing, Record Keeping, and Labeling.
In an effort to uphold a commitment to social responsibility, Maggie’s Organics is proud to have played a critical role in the creation and development of The Fair Trade Zone
, a sewing cooperative in a highly impoverished area of Nicaragua. Ravished by Hurricane Mitch and a series of other natural disasters, the inhabitants of Nueva Vida, Nicaragua, found themselves forced to work in sweatshops if they found employment at all. A partnership with Maggie’s Organics and an NGO, Jubilee House, has helped them build a dream – The Fair Trade Zone. The Fair Trade Zone is now a successful and independent business, which is 100% owned by its workers.
Kudos to Maggie’s Organics. More companies should follow your lead. This is definitely the type of company consumers should patronize. Maggie’s Organics offers tees, socks, tights, baby items, and a new loungewear line Visit Maggie’s Organics website. Definitely worth your time. The following descriptions were taken directly from website.
Maggie’s Organics Short Sleeved Tee, $11.20 – Maggie’s Short Sleeve Women’s Tees are 100% certified organic ring-spun cotton jersey. They are sewn at the 100% worker-owned Fair Trade Zone in Nicaragua. These tees have a comfortably fitted silhouette and an attractive jewel neckline.
Maggie’s Organics 3/4 Sleeved Tee, $12.00. Our 3/4 Sleeve Women’s Tees are sewn at the 100% worker-owned Free Trade Zone in Nicaragua. Made of 100% certified organic ring-spun cotton jersey with a fitted silhouette and an attractive jewel neckline.
Maggie’s Organics Unisex Long Sleeved Tee, $15.00 to $16.00 – Description: Our 3/4 Sleeve Women’s Tees are sewn at the 100% worker-owned Free Trade Zone in Nicaragua. Made of 100% certified organic ring-spun cotton jersey with a fitted silhouette and an attractive jewel neckline.
Maggie’s Organics Unisex Short Sleeved Tee – $13.00 to $14.00 – Certified organic cotton. A great tee shirt!
Maggie’s Organics Cotton Crew Tri Pack, $19.00 to $19.20 – Contents: 89% Certified Organic Cotton, 10% nylon, 1% Lycra. Description: Our classic best selling Organic Cotton Crew Socks…available in special tri-packs! Perfect for med or women and versatile enough for dress or casual wear.
Maggie’s Organics 99% Cotton Crew, $8.00. Contents: 99.8% Certified Organic Cotton, .2% Lycra. Description: This version of the Cotton Crew Sock contains only .2% Lycra (at the very top of the sock only). The rest is CERTIFIED ORGANIC COTTON!! This is the best product we have for individuals with acute skin sensitivities. Available in 4 sizes to fit everyone. Because we have omitted synthetic fibers in this sock, it has a looser fit. Please take a look at our sizing chart, as these socks are sized differently from the rest of our socks.
Maggie’s Organics Camisole/Pants Lounge Sets, $37.00 – Made with 100% Certified Organic Cotton. These Lounge Sets are great for yoga, lounging around the house or running errands on the weekend! “Pull on” elastic waist pants. Made in Costa Rica or at the co-op in Nicaragua.
*Please check Maggie’s Functional Organics website for Availability/Size Charts.