The cotton fiber has been used, regardless of class or nationality, for thousands of years, “with traces of cotton over 7,000 years old recovered from archaeological sites.” (source) It is truly versatile, it can be used either as a fiber, or in food, and it ca also be used very efficiently; for example one bale of cotton (approximately 480 pounds) can produce 215 pairs of jeans, 1,217 men’s t-shirts, 249 bed sheets, 21,960 women’s handkerchiefs, and, what do you know, 313,600 $100 bills. (source)
More than anything we appreciate cotton for being a natural product. Yet,  with more and more chemicals being used as pesticides and technological advances allowing us to, produce natural fibers artificially, cotton fibers are becoming less natural and more chemical. Hence the arrival of the mighty ‘organic cotton’. With consumers becoming increasingly informed regarding their purchases, fashion brands did not hesitate to adopt this new trend.
With almost everything being said and done, few pioneers still exist in fashion. Yet the ecological fashion sector can still surprise us. Paul David Hewson, maybe best known as Bono, is one of these surprises. He is the co-founder of EDUN a company that not only produces organic cotton, but does so with the aim of building and encouraging sustainable communities. More speciafically, Edun’s aim is to create „beautiful clothes using ethical conditions” (source) and to help „create long-term sustainable employment in the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.” (source)
“Sustainable apparel” is an umbrella concept that includes some or all of these practices (source):

* Use of certified organic natural fibers (wool, cotton, linen)
* Use of highly renewable fibers (bamboo, soy)
* Use of low-impact synthetic or recycled fibers
* Use of non-toxic or reduced-toxicity fiber processes and treatments
* Use of low-impact or natural dyes
* Design and color choices aimed at longevity rather than planned obsolescence
* Fair trade, ethical labor practices, and elimination of child labor and other exploitation
* Reduced energy use throughout the product life cycle
* Minimal or environmentally appropriate packaging

And fret not, because EDUN’s not the only company jumping on this eco-friendly bandwagon. Stella McCarthy is making a point about creating eco fashion, and also is American Apparel. Also, surprisingly or not, Wal-Mart, Zara, H&M and C&A are among the “retailers offering the largest organic cotton product ranges worldwide.” (source) And although they usually use it in fabric mixes, Levi’s, Gap and Nike are some of the major buyers of organic cotton (source) in the fashion sector.
The discussion regarding organic cotton is an important one, and the issue of eco fashion is even more vital. With most people being for it, and even some indifferent towards it, the matter is open to discussion. Yet with delicate matters such as these, isn’t the quality of what you put next to your skin what ultimately matters?
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