Eco-friendly Clothing with a Conscience

Natural and organic fabrics mean better fashion for Patagonia.

| July/August 1999

  • A Sinchilla® fleece pullover woven from post-consumer recycled plastic soda bottles. Patagonia estimates it saves a whole barrel of oil for every 150 of these garments manufactured.
  • A shirt made of 100% organic cotton.
  • A Sinchilla® fleece pullover woven from post-consumer recycled plastic soda bottles. Patagonia estimates it saves a whole barrel of oil for every 150 of these garments manufactured.
    Courtesy of Patagonia
  • This Seedling™ infant’s outfit is constructed from factory scraps remaining after the manufacture of adult clothes. In the first five months of manufacture, this single product line prevented 160 tons of quality materials from heading to the landfill.

Patagonia’s Eco-Attire Protects You— and the Environment

A trusty pair of walking shorts, perfectly seasoned blue jeans, a cheerfully loud Hawaiian shirt: Our favorite piece of clothing is often made of cotton.

Many people choose cotton clothing for its soft, natural feel, but is cotton truly “the fabric of our lives?” A peek into the cotton industry reveals farming practices that chemically sterilize the soil, drench cotton plants with insecticides, defoliants, and synthetic fertil­izers, and expose workers and the environment to dangerous toxic substances. And studies indicate that it takes about one-third of a pound of harmful chemicals to grow enough cotton for one T-shirt.

Fortunately, there is a better choice: organic cotton that is grown using safe, nontoxic farming methods. Natural fertilizers and compost enrich the soil, beneficial bugs control pests, and hand weeding gives cotton plants room to flourish. As consumers learn about this alternative, experts contend, they will demand clothing with less environmental impact, and organic cotton will become more widely available.

Patagonia, the outdoor apparel company that has built its reputation on durable, high-performance products, is determined to affect change in the cotton industry. In 1996, this maverick converted its entire line of cotton sportswear to 100-percent-certified organic cotton to support the growing market for softer, safer clothing. Coincidentally, it also located its headquarters in Ventura, California, just three hours from the state’s Central Valley, one of the largest cotton-­producing areas in the world.

“. . . forward-thinking companies like Patagonia are discovering that the principles of harmony and balance that govern the natural world also are key components of sustainable enterprise.”

“Because organic cotton is currently more expensive than cotton grown in the traditional manner, we wanted our employees to understand why we made the decision to switch,” says Lu Setnicka, Patagonia’s Director of Public Affairs. “So together we toured the cotton farms in the ­valley to see firsthand the impact of agribusiness on the landscape. It shocked us.”

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds