Organic Fabrics

Plants are a great gift to us... providing food, dye, medicine, shelter and clothing, thanks to collective knowledge passed down since the dawn of humanity

It is with passion that Earth and Elle chooses non-toxic, natural and organic fabrics to clothe your body.

 

FABRIC ARCHIVE

 

HEMP
Cannabis sativa

Kind Qualities:
✓ Does not require chemicals and pesticides to grow or process
✓A hemp crop leaves the soil healthy for any other crop to produce well
✓ It is fast growing and can produce up to 250% more fibre than cotton on the same amount of land
✓ Durable and outlasting fibres

More Facts and History Notes:
✓ The working conditions are ethical in China's industrial hemp industry, where the majority of the globes’ hemp fibre is produced. Watch a video about China's hemp industry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2DdE97UCrQ "China appears to have the longest continuous history of Hemp cultivation (over 6000 years). France has cultivated Hemp for at least 700 years to the present day, Spain and Chile similarly. Russia was a major grower/ supplier for hundreds of years.” Source: https://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v13/2/history.html
✓ Hemp seeds and hemp oil are well known as nutritious food, while cbd oil/smoke/ointments derived from hemp are known for medicine, then there is hempcrete for building, hemp plastic… hemp for textiles and paper.
✓ Hemp is a seriously versatile, sustainable useful plant for humanity. 
✓ The first remnant of hemp cloth was found by archaeologists all the way back to 8,000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia (current day Iran and Iraq) making it likely the oldest plant cultivated for textiles. Hemp had a huge influence on society up until the war on drugs in our current century, but it's making a come back with modern innovations and legalization in certain countries across the globe.

 

FLAX / LINEN
Linum usitatissimum

Kind Qualities:
✓ An annual plant, requiring little watering
✓ Hardy and naturally pest-resistant
✓ Requires little to no pesticides, herbicides and fungicides
✓ Weeds are removed by hand and hoeing
✓ Grows in lush soil, requiring a bio diverse environment to begin with
✓ Durable and outlasting fibres

More Facts and History Notes:
✓ As early as 3,000 B.C. , linen has been processed into fine (finer than anything woven today, at 540 threads per inch) white fabric and used to bundle ancient Egyptian mummies.
✓ Flax seeds and flax oil are well known for their edible and nutritious properties, while it can also make beautiful fabric

  

ORGANIC COTTON
Gossypium hirsutum

Kind Qualities:
✓ GMO seeds are NOT allowed in organic cotton farming
✓ Weeds are removed by hand and hoeing
✓ Uses natural predators for pest control
✓ Plants are defoliated with the seasonal freeze
✓ Soil fertility and biological diversity is maintained
✓ There are minimal chemicals used to process and dye organic cotton fabric
✓Less water is required to produce organic cotton

More Facts and History Notes:
✓ Workers on organic cotton farms and processing factories are generally treated and paid with better social responsibility than of conventional cotton.
✓ Shreds of cotton bolls and cloth were found in a Mexican cave by scientists, dating back 7,000 years. There, cotton grows wild.
✓ Cotton shreds have also been found in the Indus Valley of India, Pakistan, dating back to 3000 BC. It is believed that the first cultivation of cotton began in India, later spreading to Mesopotamia, Egypt and Nubia.
✓In the 1st century, Arab traders introduced cotton to Europe, in Spain and Italy.


STINGING NETTLE
Urtica dioica

Kind Qualities:
✓ Most nettle fibre is produced in Nepal from wild growths
✓ No intervention with the plants is required for growing wild plants- nature just does it
✓ Cultivated nettle possesses the same growing properties as hemp and linen
✓ Durable and outlasting fibres

More Facts and History Notes:
✓Fresh, raw nettles have little spikes containing histamine that sting the skin when you touch the plant. In nettle fabric, the spikes containing the histamine have died completely. There is no chance of nettle fibre stinging you. 
✓Nettle fabric feels just like hemp or linen.
✓The earliest traces of nettle clothing have been found in the late Bronze Age in Voldtofte, Denmark.
✓ Nettle cloth is mainly produced in the Himalayas, Europe (evidence from Scandinavia, Poland, Germany, Russia, Scotland) and China and Japan, referring to ramie cloth.
✓ Young stinging nettle leaves are well known for making nutrient rich tea or cooked greens, while the older stalks make beautiful fabric.

 

TRANSPARENCY

 

FABRIC BLENDS, THEIR ORIGINS AND CERTIFICATIONS

Hemp stretch
Composition: 53% hemp, 44% organic cotton, 3% spandex
Origin: China
Certification: GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard

Hemp jersey
Composition: 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton
Origin: China
Certification: GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard

Woven linen
Composition: 55% organic linen, 45% organic cotton
Origin: China
Certification: GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard

Nettle crochet 
Composition: 100% wild stinging nettle
Origin: Nepal
Certification: None.
Wild nettle is harvested by the men, hand spun and crocheted by the women of the Kulung Rai tribe in the foothills of the Himalayas. We purchase it directly from our partners in Nepal, who buys it from the tribe itself.

FABRIC MILLS

At Eco Fashion Week Vancouver 2017, we had the privilege of listening to a talk by the president of our fabric supplier, Paul King. In addition to supplying Oeko-Tex Standard certified fabrics, he visits each and every fabric mill he purchases from, ensuring workers at the mills are paid fairly and work in an ethical environment. Perhaps comping as a surprise, he even mentioned that working conditions at the mills he visits in China are superior to some in the US. Of course, we'd love to see for ourselves when we have the means. 

A NOTE FROM THE OWNER

I know that large scale organic farming isn't the end-all-be-all for sustainability, related to food and fibres. Biodiversity, TRUE organics... regenerative agriculture is and that is knowledge that the world is catching up on. However, textiles are far more complex than food. I believe that an organic certification for fabrics is a really good step forward and think it's a great way to give designers, brands, and conscious customers more access to sustainable and ethical materials. Whether you believe that organic fabrics are sustainable compared to other fabrics or not, you can rest assured that organic fibre farmers (and bees) are exposed to little to no toxins, and are leading healthier work lives and doing less harm to their farms' surrounding eco systems. -Rachelle