We didn't make it easy. Our first partner, a textile company from Austria with a production site in Bulgaria, unfortunately filed for bankruptcy exactly during our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Luckily we had at least a little more than 300 shorts in stock and - after we reduced the marketing a little - we were able to provide all supporters with the shorts they ordered. They went all over the world, from Texas to Singapore and Australia.
But then something had to happen, a new production partner had to be found. After contacts to possible production partners in China, Portugal and again Bulgaria, we finally decided on Turkey. Why? First samples from China did not meet our quality requirements, the communication with Portugal was unfortunately not easy. Probably we had simply not contacted the right partner. The possible Bulgarian partner unfortunately reacted too slowly. In the end, as a new brand with small quantities it is of course not easy to find a good production partner at all. Nobody wants to make small quantities and therefore a request from a start-up is not given priority. But hey, we didn't let that get in the way of our plans and continued to look for contact to possible producers.
Our first collection was 85% cotton and 15% polyester. From the beginning we were not really enthusiastic about polyester. But we were advised to use it because of its shape retention and drying properties. With little know-how about fabrics and production, we simply relied on the advice. That was fine at the time, most brands go this way. Just have a look at the labels of your clothes in the wardrobe. You will find out that the majority of all brands use polyester. But we have learned a lot from our research. Namely that there is also another way. And it makes a lot of sense: 100% organic cotton.
Conventional cotton uses huge amounts of water. To produce a single t-shirt you need thousands of litres to produce the necessary cotton. Organic cotton uses much less water.
Global consumption of non-organic cotton releases huge amounts of greenhouse gas into our atmosphere, about 220 million tonnes a year. 1 tonne of conventional cotton fiber produces 1.8 tonnes of CO2e. The damage caused to us and the environment by growing non-organic cotton is enormous and is a real threat to us and our planet.
Statistics show that conventional cotton producers use as much as 25% of the world's insecticides and more than 10% of the world's pesticides on their crop. These chemicals can end up in our water systems, food and farm animals which eventually lead to being in our own bodies as carcinogens which can potentially lead to cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 20,000 deaths each year are down to pesticide poisoning in developing countries.
Our commitment for organic cotton
We have committed ourselves to using only organic cotton in our new range. Choosing organic cotton means that we do not support the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and genetically modified organisms used in the cultivation of conventional cotton. The threat of chemical influences in agricultural production has become so serious that more and more people have become aware of the need for change in recent years. The trend towards more environmentally friendly production methods is supported by a wide variety of stakeholders: Organic farmers who want to distance themselves from the excessive use of chemicals, forward-looking companies who have to reorient themselves under the pressure of stricter regulations and tougher competition, and increasingly well-informed consumers who are demanding more social and environmental responsibility. That could be you by the way.
Organic cotton from Turkey - Egedeniz
In the course of our research we have found with great enthusiasm that Turkey is one of the leading countries in the field of organic cotton. In Turkey, organic production has a long tradition in agriculture. Cotton has been produced organically for many years and Turkey is known as the largest exporter of cotton in the world. The main growing areas are located in the southeast and extend to the west of Turkey in the Izmir region. All cotton is hand-picked and processed manually.
And so we simply wrote to a few companies in Turkey and asked about the possibilities, minimum order quantities and other important points. For many we are naturally first uninteresting as a small brand and so we do not get an answer from everyone.
But we got a very friendly answer from Lara, an account manager from the company Egedeniz. She obviously had no problem with the fact that we are still very small. She offered to send us fabric and product samples and to produce first samples of our shorts along our cutting data. No sooner said than done. Shortly afterwards the first samples and hangers (fabric samples) were with us. We were thrilled!
GOTS & HIGG INDEX ACCREDITED
Just because a garment is labeled as green, sustainable or eco-friendly does not make it organic. Cotton clothing is only organic if it is certified to an organic cotton standard.
OCS (Organic Content Standard) provides third party assurance that the organic content in your clothes can be traced back to source, while GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) traces the organic content in your clothes and ensures that it is processed socially and sustainably.
All of our organic cotton is GOTS accredited: this means that it has been approved by the Global Organic Textile Standard, an organisation which aims to ensure the validity of organic materials - from the harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling.
Our partner Egedeniz is the leading company in Turkey who has own projects in organic cotton. It has contracted farmers for organic agriculture, following all processes through fiber, yarn, fabric and manufacturing of finished garments. Their agricultural programs are GOTS certified who ensure that all agricultural practices are in accordance with European Union Regulation (EEC) No. 2092/91 on production of agricultural products. All processes from cotton to the end product are followed in accordance with the rules of Sustainable Textile Standards of GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards).
As well as GOTS accreditation, they are certified by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index, measuring and guaranteeing their performance against environmental and ethical targets.
This means that when you buy organic cotton from us, you know that it was produced every step of the way without harming the environment, by people working in safe conditions and paid a fair wage.
Our visit to Izmir
In the meantime we were also on site in Izmir and took a closer look at the production. The one with the dark glasses is not from Egedeniz, but our founder Andreas, who has simply adapted his style a bit ;-)