Organically Jeaned: Change Up the Paradigm

Learned today that the European Union has rigid boundaries on the type of cotton they import – no toxic dyes, no cheap cotton laced with DDT, as several cottons from China and India were recently demonstrated to contain. The EU regularly tests their imported textiles carefully; we in the US do not.

One of the worst players? Your jeans.

They’re full of pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and defoliants. In California alone, over 7 million pounds of chemicals are used annually for cotton. Each pair of conventional jeans requires 13 oz of pesticides and fertilizers. That is very chemically intensive. Eek.

Here in the US, women on average have 8 pair in their closet.

There is one place in China, named Xingtang, Guangzhou, that produces 200 million pairs of jeans per year, and supplies 67% of the world appetite. Check out the pretty water coming out of the factory of this town and emptying into the “Pearl” River.

A Chief Medical Officer in Guangzhou said this water contains heavy metals that are “neurotoxic, carcinogenic, they disrupt the endocrine system,” according to Dr. Tony Lu and as reported by CNN.

“They cause cancer of different organs.” Dr. Tony Lu

So what about organic cotton jeans? What about jeans dyed in natural indigo?

Like any Berkeley girl, my first stop was Jeremy’s on College Avenue for three reasons:

  1. I love their prices particularly on samples and salvage;
  2. An addendum to #1: my husband is getting very suspicious of my spending on “research” for my year of living organically;
  3. It’s only 0.5 miles from my house – very low carbon footprint on my end at least.

First up: Two entire racks of Edun organic clothing, brought to you courtesy of U2’s Bono and his wife, Ali. They happen to have made the cut with Rogan Gregory for Top Ten best sustainable designer. All the cotton is from Africa which isn’t great for the carbon footprint part of my experiment but that continues to be a work in progress. Sometimes we get two legs of the triple bottom line and this company definitely supports social justice. Their third party auditing is detailed right here.

Best part is my new 100% organic jeans cost $20. Here they are in full glory.

Here’s what Tree Hugger has to say about Rogan:

Rogan Gregory has a good thing going. As the designer behind both Loomstate and Edun, he’s mixing hip apparel with organic cotton, fair labor and celebrity to make a tremondous mark on fashion. Loomstate helped set the bar for sustainably-minded designer denim by using only 100% organic cotton and sustainable farming practices. With Edun, along with U2’s Bono and Bono’s wife, Ali Hewson, Rogan brings the notion of sustainable employment to catwalks across the world and widens the apparel designs from simply denim to everyday casualwear. With both efforts, Rogan Gregory is helping to change the paradigm in the fashion industry and make it possible for “hip,sustainable” and “fashion” to happily co-exist.

For my organic experiment, I got 3 pair of organic jeans because I’ve decided they are my new wardrobe staple. For my patients, warning: prepare to see me in jeans at work soon.