#KnowTheProcess: Organic Cotton
At LALF we believe that sustainability can be vegan as well as organic and not just in our kitchens. The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest businesses after oil, and that needs to change. Which is why when we started our journey we knew that the first issue we wanted to tackle was cotton. According to the World Wildlife Fund, it takes more than 20,000 litres (roughly 5,283 lbs) of water to produce 2 lbs of traditionally farmed cotton, not to mention the amount of pesticide and insecticide that are used in the process. It was with these statistics in mind that we set out to do things differently, with the goal of being transparent about our process, from top to bottom.
When searching for the right agricultural partners it was very important for us to ensure that they were truly vegan, organic, and sustainable in their practices. No easy feat considering that organic cotton represents only 1% of the cotton grown worldwide. After an intensive search we found farmers in Peru and Brazil who utilize ancient native techniques that hold up to the standards we had set for ourselves.
Our partners use cotton seeds exclusively derived from other organic cotton plants; there is never any modification done to the seeds, not even to alter color or yield. The plants have varying natural colors including white, beige, brown, and green. Which we utilize as often as possible, only using certified organic, natural dyes when altering the color of our fabric.
In the farming process the organic cotton seeds are planted amongst an array of other crops that are rotated throughout the seasons but includes plants such as beans, potatoes, and peppers. This creates a miniature canopy, protecting the cotton plant from a number of insects that are repelled by the other crops. As added protection for the cotton, our farmers use a liquid mixture of natural ingredients such as bell peppers, onion, garlic, and various herbs as repellent. Our partners also never use any traditional irrigation methods, choosing to utilize only natural rain water for their crops.
Choosing to set a new standard for our cotton was the first natural step in creating LALF. The benefits of how we source our cotton go beyond the usual organic and sustainable labels, establishing a holistic approach that we hope will set a new status quo.