Authentic Bloomtrigger Clothing

December 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

The T-shirt you’re wearing, where was the raw material grown? What chemicals were used to turn it into fabric? Was the factory worker paid a fair price for sewing it together?

I’d take a guess that most of us wouldn’t know the answer to these questions, and even if you try to find out, there’s not much traceability on the high street.

An alternative is to buy from the new range of Authentic Bloomtrigger Clothing. Sourced from Brazilian organic cotton, the price also includes three blooms to conserve your own section of the rainforest.

I’ve long been interested in knowing where consumables have come from and what was involved in making them so the launch of Bloomtrigger’s clothing is a good opportunity to dig a little deeper. What ecological impact does a new T shirt have?

Forum for the Future’s ‘Fashioning Sustainability’ report provides a brief outline of the social, environmental and economic impacts at each stage in the life of an item of clothing.Impacts of clothing
[Source: Fashioning Sustainability Report, Forum for the Future]

They also name the ‘intensity of cotton production’ as one of the key issues to be tackled when working towards a sustainable fashion industry. Therefore it seems right for us to focus on cotton production in more detail, especially in relation to Bloomtrigger’s clothing.

Cotton is the most popular fabric in production; it’s durable, comfortable to wear, easy to dye and can be made into different types of cloth such as denim or towelling.  “The global demand for this amount of cotton, cheaply, encourages large scale, intensive production.” [1]

Cotton is a very thirsty crop, often grown in drought prone areas where water is an already scarce resource.  The problem can be exacerbated further when combined with inefficient irrigation and farming practices.  With estimates varying between 256.6 [2] to 400 [3] gallons of water needed per T shirt, it’s clear there’s a lot more going on than you first thought when you picked up that T Shirt from the rail.

As well as requiring vast amounts of water, cotton is often grown as a mono-crop. This means only one crop is grown year after year, with no chance for fields to go fallow and recover. As you can imagine there’s no natural biodiversity which can lead to disease and pest problems. Agrochemcials like pesticides and fertilisers are used to maintain high yields.  Surrounding soils and rivers are damaged by the chemical run off so the effects of growing cotton are felt even further afield.

Making the choice to buy clothing made from organic cotton supports increased biodiversity and more sustainable farming practices. Evidence suggests that by farming organically the toxicity of a T-shirt is reduced by 90%. [4]

Whilst experts believe that organic cotton may actually require more water than conventional cotton crops, the farms supplying Bloomtrigger have certified high standard of farming practices.  The natural climate of Brazil also means crops are mainly likely to be rain fed.

With a Bloomtrigger T-shirt you can trace the supply chain in even more detail to uncover how your purchase directly and positively affects the lives of others. The cotton is grown in South Brazil and purchased by Aradefe Malhas who produce the finished fabric. A member of the Bloomtrigger team then buys the fabric which is made into T-shirts and hoody’s by a small team of seamtresses in Curitiba, Brazil.

It’s entirely possible that a similar T-shirt could be made from cotton grown in the USA, shipped to China for dyeing and sewing and then shipped to the UK for sale. [5] Compared to this, a Bloomtrigger T-shirt is produced on a small scale in a more sustainable manner with efforts made to reduce the environmental impact at each stage.

If you’d like to purchase some Bloomtrigger clothing you can browse the range (which also includes hoody’s made from 50% organic cotton, 50% recycled PET) here. Not only do you receive your item, you also get three blooms to plant and protect the Peruvian rainforest. In the future, there will be the chance to personalize your T-shirt by designing a personalised bloom which will then be printed onto the fabric.

“The sustainable garment of the future would be designed carefully and made from renewable material. It would be pesticide free and produced by workers in decent working conditions. It would be washed at low temperatures and have fashion upgrades to extend its fashionable life. Finally it would be recycled, reused or composted.” [6]

By Emma Law

Links:
[1] Fashioning Sustainability Report, page 4.
[2] Ask the Ecologist: cotton, hemp and bamboo – which is the green choice?
[
3] Treehugger: How many gallons of water does it take.
[4] Well dressed? The present and future sustainability of clothing and textiles in the United Kingdom. Page 54.
[5] Well dressed? Case study, page 28.
[6]  Fashioning Sustainability Report, page 2.

 

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§ One Response to Authentic Bloomtrigger Clothing

  • […] A quick browse through my wardrobe and I discover that my favourite dress is made in China (and I’m sure countless other garments) so it’s easy to see that we should all be taking an interest in where our clothing comes from. It’s particularly timely as I’ve just written an article for the Bloomtrigger Project about the ecological impacts of cotton production which you can read here. […]

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