GOTS Certified Cotton

Slow Fashion is built on the foundations of a low waste design philosophy and the use of organic fabrics. Predominantly dependent on fabrics like linen, cotton and Tencel, Slow Fashion labels go the extra mile to ensure that they source their materials from certified producers to maintain their quality standards. However, a certified fabric goes beyond just being a prerequisite for quality. It is also a measure of the strain the growth and production of the fabric have put on nature.

Off these fabrics, cotton is the most widely used. Cotton takes anywhere between five to six months to grow. After it is harvested, it is put through a ginning process and then processed into bales. At this point, the direction of further processing is decided, which is different for different types of fabrics. All in all, the field to fashion journey is long and tedious. To meet growing demands, the cotton crop is often treated with harmful chemicals. Organic cotton is grown without any intervening in this natural cycle.

If you’re wondering how to identify organically grown and processed cotton, what is the proof that the textiles and industries are manufacturing products using organic cotton and being responsible towards their profession and society at large? Well, the answer is simple. Look for a GOTS certification!

What is GOTS?

GOTS or the Global Organic Textile Standards is a globally recognized and accepted set of standards for all textiles made from organic fabric. It ensures and verifies that industries are working with organically grown plants and inspects the social responsibility of textiles toward the environment and the end customers alike. This reliable and transparent set of criteria was established in 2005 and was updated to Version 6 in the March of 2020.

What does the certificate review?

The Standard is inclusive of the entire supply chain process –  from the production of the fibre to the manufacturing and processing of the textiles. The criteria are categorised into Environmental, Social and Technical Quality and Human Toxicity. GOTS relies on a dual check system to ensure quality. The certificates issued are dependent on the percentage of organic fibre in the textile.

  • Label-grade 1: ‚organic‘
    ≥ 95% certified organic fibres, ≤ 5 % non-organic natural or synthetic fibres
  • Label-grade 2: ‚made with X% organic‘
    ≥ 70% certified organic fibres, ≤ 30 % non-organic fibres, but a maximum of 10% synthetic fibres (respective 25% for socks, leggings and sportswear), as long as the raw materials used are not from certified organic origin, a sustainable forestry management program or recycled.

What is GOTS Certified Organic Cotton?

Organic Cotton that complies with all the criteria outlines in GOTS can be granted this certified. This includes strict adherence to practices that have a low environmental impact, like the use of plastics for packaging, harmful chemicals or dyes, among other such stringent criteria. The work environment for the labour must be safe, they must be paid fair wages, the number of hours they work is capped and other measures have to be enforced to be in line with the social standard that must be maintained. The manufacturers that produce GOTS certified cotton must be in strict adherence to all the guidelines that are in the Standard.

Furthermore, the growth of the cotton fibre has to be organic and the finished fabric must be at least 70% organic to be GOTS certified.

Conventional Cotton vs Organic Cotton:

Conventional cotton is grown with the aid of synthetic agrichemicals grown in large farms with technological innovation to produce high-yield of this hybrid mono-crop. This type of cotton is grown from genetically modified seeds. This method of farming is has impacted our health and the health of the earth with the soil being affected the most.

On the other hand, organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and harmful pesticides. The crop is grown without the use of genetically modified seeds. The process of growing organic cotton replenishes and maintains soil fertility and promotes biodiversity. This type of pf crop cultivation has a low impact on nature.

The Benefits of the GOTS Certification:

The Global  Organic Textiles Standard applies to the entire supply chain, hence reducing the risk in every aspect. The thorough vetting process and the stringent standards of this certification ensure credibility. It also prepares companies for a strict regulatory environment that will enable a sustainable market in the long run. Further,  this certification of sustainability adds value to the product over conventional products.

Identifying the GOTS certificate:

The certificate is applied to the product so that it is visible to the customer while purchasing the garment. It can be seen on the hangtag, the label, the packaging, etc.