How to shop for organic clothing


Looking for a way to be greener and live with less exposure to chemicals in your life? Look no further than your closet, says the Small Planet Institute's Anna Lappe. Clothing made with organically grown fiber is the way to go.

How to shop for organic clothing

Production of cotton accounts for 25% of the world’s insecticide use, plus other chemicals used in its production damage the environment and are linked to tens of thousands of illnesses among growers around the world. Feel safer by wearing organic cotton clothing, which is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic clothes are especially appropriate for babies and children who have increased vulnerability to toxins. Some organic clothing lines to try:


  • NAU produces clothing made out of 100% organic cotton, recycled fabrics, and a synthetic fiber made of corn.
  • EDUN sources environmentally responsible fabrics and develops sustainable communities through the factories where the clothing is made.
  • For 100% organic cotton jeans, consider Loomstate or Del Forte, where a portion of every dollar goes to the Sustainable Cotton project.
  • Maggie’s and Patagonia are dedicated to increasing the supply of organic fibers. Patagonia also launched the Common Threads Garment Recycling Program in 2005.
  • Levi Strauss launched an organic jeans line in 2006.
  • Organic clothes are costly, but if you have the financial freedom to purchase them, the benefits are well worth it.
  • If you can’t afford organic clothes, consider lightly-used clothing at consignment stores or used clothing shops.



Hi I'm Anna Lappe for With the organic food industry booming, more and more of us are able to choose foods that have been grown without chemicals. But what about the chemicals used to make the clothes we wear? Cotton production alone accounts for one quarter of the world's insecticide use and to make just one pair of those jeans you wear uses 2/3 of a pound of pesticides. The chemicals used in cotton production damage the enviroment and have been linked to tens of thousands illnesses of growers all around the world. It's no wonder that so many people are looking for organic cotton which is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

I'm going to tell you about a few companies that you can check out for organic cotton and other safe fabrics. Here we have lovely towels that are 100% organic and you can see they even have the organic cotton logo here so you know it's 100% organic.

We also have this baby's dress made out of 100% organic cotton. And it's really important when you're choosing clothes for young children and for infants to choose organic because children and babies are so much more vulnerable to toxins in the enviroment.

I'm wearing this sweater by a company called Nau, that's spelled n-a-u, that uses among a whole variety of fabrics 100% cotton fabrics as well as recycled fabrics. They've even developed a new synthetic fiber that's made from corn.

You can also turn to hipster clothing line Edun, which is spelled e-d-u-n, or nude spelled backwards, which sources not only enviromentally responsible fabrics, but also develops sustainable communities through its work in the factories where the clothes are made.

In the jean department, you can take a look at the eco-styles of 100% cotton Loomstate or the US made del forte jeans where a portion of every single dollar you spend on their jeans will go to the Sustainable Cotton Project.

Companies like Maggie's and Patagonia have been dedicated to increasing the supply of organic fibers for many many years. Patagonia also launched the Garment Threads Recycling Program in 2005.

You can also seek out the organic lines of companies like Levi's which launched a line of 100% organic jeans in 2006.

It may be getting easier to find organic clothes, but it's still harder than it should be. And the price point can be pretty steep. If you've got some financial wiggle room though, I say it's definetely worth it. If though you can't afford the higher price tag, you can always go the other eco way and choose lightly used clothes at cool consignment stores or used clothing shops.

I'm Anna Lappe for

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  • Anna Lappe

    Anna Lappe Co-founder, Small Planet Institute Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author and public speaker, known for her work on sustainable agriculture, food politics and social change. Named one of Time Magazine’s Eco-Who’s Who, Anna has been featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, O-The Oprah Magazine, Domino, Food & Wine, and Vibe, among many other outlets. She is the co-author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet. With her mother, Anna co-founded the Small Planet Insti more about this expert »

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