Previously we took a quick look at some of the most common organic fabrics available. Now we look at some of the downsides in using organic fabrics.
The biggest downside of organic fabrics is price. It costs more to produce organic fibers than to produce inorganic fibers. Certification is required, which costs money. Producing organic fibers is more time intensive, which raises labor costs. To produce organic wool, the livestock must be raised according to organic standards, meaning more land is needed per animal.
The question for clothing retailers is whether or not their target consumers are willing to pay for organic fabrics. If your target demographic is environmentally conscious and has enough disposable income to spend extra on a preferred product, organic may be the right choice for you.
If you are charging a higher price for organic textiles, you are responsible to confirm that your product is, in fact, organic.
There are strict national and international codes of practice in place for farmers who apply for organic certification. Farmers who sell organic fibers must adhere to exacting standards that stipulate that the soil as well as animals used for the growth of organic fibers must not be exposed to toxic herbicides, fertilizers, fungicides or insecticides. In the case of wool, in order for it to be certified organic, it needs to be created in accordance with strict standards for the management of organic livestock
It’s a simple sales principle – you need to back up your claims. To claim you have organic products, the fibers you are purchasing must be certified by an internationally recognised certification board. A highly respected standard for organic textiles is the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
If you choose to go the organic route with your textile products, be prepared to put the time, energy and money into acquiring a trustworthy certified product and proving your claims to consumers. You may want to consider hiring a trusted agency to help do the legwork for you.
Organic fabrics are becoming more readily available and interest in/demand for them is growing, particularly in western countries. If “eco-friendly” describes your target consumers, consider moving into organics – it may give you a leg-up.