Since the beginning of the year Lava Ink has been on a mission to create a reliable supply chain for locally produced organic products and fabrics. The result……. mens and ladies fitted t shirts in a natural colour only, which I personally think is pathetic.
This is an indication of the mode and of thinking that the South African Clothing Industry and its consumers are in. Here is a real opportunity for us to compete against imports by offering ethical clothing as apposed to cheaper, environmentally damaging clothing. We need to create a substantial demand for ethical clothing and production processes because at the moment the task to supply organic, requires the manufacturer to be involved in primary manufacturing stages such as dying. This is because the demand for organic fabrics is not enough to motivate stock production in various colours and types of fabrics.
How does clothing production influence our envrironment?
The following was taken from EcoSpace and highlights the effects clothing and fabric production have on the environment.
When was the last time you checked the tag of your t-shirt to look for more than just a size or price? Do you know what your clothes are made of or who made them? The answers to these questions may surprise you, as inputs of clothing production have significant effects on the physical and social environment.
Take a look at the cotton industry. Insecticides used in conventional cotton production are the most hazardous pesticide to human health, causing behavioral changes, increased cancer risk, and even death. Cotton’s second best selling insecticide, Aldicarb, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin! Who knew wearing cotton could be so dangerous!
Not only do clothing choices impact human health, but they also affect the environment. Fertilizers used in conventional cotton production harm the environment. Nitrogen synthetic fertilizers cause leaching and runoff and emit gases that contribute 300 times more to global warming than CO2. It takes about 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizers to grow one pound of raw cotton, and it takes that pound of cotton to make one t-shirt. That’s a lot of fertilizer, a lot of greenhouse gases, and a major detriment to the environment!
I responded by making the comment that large retailers should stop treating organic as a marketing strategy but rather as an environmental and industrial one. If large retailers start investing in our local Industries for ethical reasons, with the intention of greening their supply chains, real change is possible.