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  3. [COLUMN] Vol.2 Why does it have to be organic cotton

Why does it have to be organic cotton?

Recycled sari tote bags of VEGANIE are all made from organic cotton fabric in India.

I was asked from producers if I would like to change to ordinary cotton for cost saving (In fact, normal cotton will be a half of basic cost of organic cotton.) but I believe that to be successful and meaningful brand, VEGANIE’s must stick to its core values and principle. So we have politely rejected this suggestion.
Most of all, there is a nonnegotiable reason why we use organic cotton for bags as much as possible not only for its “comfort touch” or “feeling of quality”.

Why does it have to be organic cotton?

India is one of biggest cotton production/harvest country next to China. We have so many kinds of farm products in the world but about 25% of agro-chemicals are used in cotton farms. (http://www.ota.com/organic/environment/cotton_environment.html)

What is worse, there are still lots of child labor problems in cotton farm business, children strew the chemicals from their naked hands to the farm, it causes serious skin problems with workers by touching and inhaling chemicals.

In cotton fields contaminated with pesticide, microbes and other naturally occurring life that help sustain the soils fertile and help products grow up, cannot live, it means, in time the death of field/land. Workers who have little knowledge of farming, they increase the amount of chemicals with ignorance. This vicious spiral contributes to factors that lead to farmers commit the suicide in the end, it is said that 270,000 people since 1995 in India have killed themselves related their unmanageable debt inked to insecticide, GM cotton issues. (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/gallery/2014/may/05/india-cotton-suicides-farmer-deaths-gm-seeds)

Hearing this story makes people feel terrible but actually how many organic cotton made clothes do we have in our closet including myself. How many people can say confidentially “ I am buying only organic products now and forever”. Even I don’t have the confidence to say that. The emotion from “Kawaii” or “cool” when I see a apparel product can easily defeat the sense of ethics or issues in the world to influence my buying decision as buyer. It is a common psychology to whole world I guess.

Why does it have to be organic cotton?

Our recycled sari bags are made with Sasha handicrafts in Calcutta, India. Organic cottons are certificated with GOTS. Bags are stitched by women producers in Baroipur where is a village in Bengal, 3 hours far from Calcutta. In that village, women are working with fair trade association for producing the products to improve their lives while staying and sustaining their village.

When I visited that community, I had a most favored (VIP!) treatment from them. One woman leader kindly guide us to their room and treated us a home style lunch. I was so surprised they were energetic to do their work and raise their children both, one woman was stitching the fabric with sewing machine in left hand and holding some one’s child in another hand.

Why does it have to be organic cotton? なぜオーガニックコットンなのか

There are few people noticing that is organic cotton when they are buying our tote bag. Most of customers are buying as they found it kawaii or useful as an eco bag. I feel it is also nice that customers realized that was an organic cotton product after they come back home by checking a tag and appreciate their purchase decision even more.
Doing better unconsciously. It is the most sustainable way in this world at last, isn’t it.

(Written by Chiaki)