Clothing industry certification. What does it all mean?
So, you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and you come across this great Instagram account with really colourful posts, and hashtags all about sustainable clothing and eco apparel, and they’re talking a lot about being inspired by nature, and oh look they have 100% organic cotton clothing too! Hmm what does it all mean, and can they stand by all of these fancy hashtagged claims?
Well, read on and I will do my best to explain a bit about the certifications which we can proudly display on our website and attribute to our clothes.
Vegan Clothing? Really?
Most people don’t eat their clothing so why do we at 21DW Design have “Vegan” certification displayed on our website for our clothing?
Firstly, Veganism is not an extreme diet as a lot of people may think. It’s a lifestyle choice which is all about avoiding products derived from animals and which are processed using animal products.
Our main clothing supplier is PETA certified, meaning that they, in their own words “do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and pledge never to do so.” So combined with their commitment to using materials which did not harm any animals, and were not derived from them, gets a huge thumbs up from us and hopefully means a lot to you too.
Hand in hand with the Vegan certification goes the “Cruelty Free Non Animal Tested” certification, which is from PETA also.
This one's self explanatory, but just for clarification this certification means that no animals were harmed in the making of our clothing, no chemicals or dyes used while making our clothing were tested on animals and no animals were forced to wear mini replicas of our t-shirts to see what their friends thought!
I am not Vegan, although I turned vegetarian after watching the fantastic documentary “Cowspiricy”. I am a self confessed meat lover, but Vegetarianism and Veganism lifestyles are more aligned to my beliefs as a ecopreneur and incorporating the Vegan certification into our clothing was a no brainer for me.
100% Organic Cotton? Why bother?
Let me tell you why…Organic cotton is a natural, GMO-free fibre that uses less water than standard cotton. On top of that, its production doesn’t involve the use of harmful chemicals (no fertilisers or pesticides woohoo!) and encourages rotation of crops to keep soil healthier, more fertile and maintain healthy humidity. The waste from the cotton ginning process (getting the cotton fibres from the seeds) is also recycled for the animal feed industry.
Our clothing supplier’s organic certification is from GOTS or “Global Organic Textile Standard” label. This is currently the most strict certification for textiles made from organic fibres. GOTS tracks the entire chain of production from farm to factory: from harvesting of the cotton, weaving of fibres, assembly of items, to the final product before printing. It certifies that the cotton used in 21DW Design’s clothing is GMO-free, is grown without the use of chemicals and is processed and dyed without using any banned toxic substances. GOTS also ensures compliance with the labour standards of the International Labour Organisation throughout the chain of production. Now ain't that something!
Fair wear? Never heard of it!
Guess what, me neither, until I set up this business! The best way to describe what Fair Wear certification means is to think of the more widely recognised Fair Trade certification and what that means for consumables such as coffee and tea.
In a nutshell “Fair Wear Foundation is an independent multi stakeholder organisation that works with garment brands, garment workers and industry influencers to improve labour conditions in garment factories.” (Quote taken from Wikipedia).
This means we can guarantee that there has been absolutely no dealing with so called sweatshops who often have poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labor, and a lack of benefits for workers. Sweatshops mass produce garments for the fashion industry at the expense of their workers human rights.
Lastly our clothing has the OCE Blended, OCS 100 certs and the Global Recycled Standard. I am not going to go into both OCS certs in detail for fear of putting you to sleep, but they basically guarantee that the material used in our clothing is Organic.
So far so good right? We think so! But does all of this mean a higher price? Quite simply, yes. Although, we at 21DW have taken on most of this extra cost.
Hopefully I have been able to shine a light on some of the certs that our clothing manufacturers have earned. And now that you're armed with a better understanding you will be able to go find that #veganclothing #sustainablefashion sweater with the awesome design by a fantastic Irish artist, and wear it proud to your next dinner party.