What Are Natural Fibers?
Is your favorite shirt automatically organic because it comes from a natural source? Nope.
While choosing a natural fiber is a great idea. That doesn’t mean the final product won’t also come with a side of harsh chemicals.
The only guarantee of a truly comfy and eco-friendly t-shirt is by going organic.
In order to receive an official organic label, businesses need to adhere to two fancy-schmancy regulatory organizations. In the US, that starts with the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) which focuses on organic practices used during farming.
Then, the internationally recognized Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which certifies products that meet strict criteria during the entire process from farming practices, to processing, to the treatment of workers.
GOTS products are free from toxic pesticides, fertilizers, dyes, and other chemicals.
FYI, if a product is GOTS certified in the US, that means it has already been cleared by NOP. Though it will only carry the GOTS label.
Consider GOTS-certified products like this French market bag by Brooklyn-based Pillowpia or this adorable baby jumpsuit by Seattle-based Bébénca Organics.
Better on the Environment
Did you know that 83% of synthetic fertilizers used on crops end up polluting the environment? And 77 million farmers and workers are poisoned by toxic chemicals each year?
But with organic farming practices, those hazardous chemicals are taken out of the process. On top of that? Organic farming also produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Better for Local Business
Since many organic farmers are family-owned, buying organic helps the little guy.
And when you shop local with City Shoppe, you know your product isn’t only made locally, but in many cases, the materials used to produce it are too.
Another added bonus? Local materials mean fewer resources are sourced internationally. That drastically lowers the carbon footprint needed to ship them overseas. We call that a win-win.
Better for Your Skin
Got an intolerance to synthetic fibers? You’re not alone.
Synthetic and non-organic fabrics involve the use of toxic dyes which cause many people to suffer from rashes, allergies, and respiratory problems. Yikes.
Organic fibers are hypoallergenic, breathable, and an all-around better choice for your skin.
In fact, organic fibers are a solid choice for our animal companions, too. Take a look at these 100% organic cotton French bulldog pajamas by Illinois-based Frenchiestore that will make even Fido’s skin sing.
Used for over 6,000 years, cotton is hypoallergenic, breathable (which means it keeps you cool), and doesn’t absorb odors as much as synthetic fibers. It’s also easy to wash, less prone to pilling, and keeps its shape.
Made from the stems of flax plants, linen is another sturdy fabric that’s also three times stronger than cotton. It’s hypoallergenic, breathable, helps you regulate your temperature, and moisture-resistant. It will absorb 20% of its own weight in water, without feeling wet.
It’s also a perfectly durable material for bedding and living spaces. Take this lovely vines pillow by Pillowpia. Its cotton/linen blend is out-of-this-world cozy.
Wool comes from sheep, alpaca, and llamas—and it’s pretty darn amazing. Wool will help regulate your body temperature. It’s also breathable, has high UV protection, high elasticity, and is fire resistant.
Those aren’t the only sustainable, eco-friendly fibers on the market. There are plenty of other products sourced from recycled materials, like Portland-based TORRAIN’s mountain t-shirt.
To ingenious new materials like this exfoliating wash cloth by Portland-based Esteli Body made from agave plant fibers.
Or, blends that include any one of the fibers listed above, like this box hoodie by Nashville-based Project 615 which is a super soft cotton/polyester fleece blend.