Organic & sustainable in the handmade world by Kirstie from Bambee Organic
It is no secret that over the past few years there has been a distinct change in our society, with a wonderful shift towards eco-friendly, organic, sustainable, and fair-trade items. While this covers everything from the food we eat, to the bags we carry our groceries in, today I am going to focus on the organic and sustainable clothing options available to you and your family – and most importantly, explain what it actually means!
Are you often confused about the difference between sustainable and organic, or maybe just have no idea what either mean?
Well, a few years ago before I started my business I felt the same.
The main thing you need to know is generally in the handmade clothing world, all organic cotton clothing is sustainable, however not all sustainable clothing is organic.
Where the cotton is not organic, the sustainable clothing label often refers to clothing made from second hand, repurposed, or vintage fabrics. This is sustainable because they are using fabrics that already exists, they are not adding to the waste problems we are currently facing, and instead they take something that may have otherwise been destined for the trash and create gorgeous clothing.
I personally think this form of sustainable clothing is a fabulous concept! Conventional cotton is a huge market currently, and there is an absolute abundance of conventional cotton clothing that is being sent to the tip every day, sustainable clothing businesses who repurpose fabric which has already served its initial purpose and has been toughly cleaned, removing all of the nasties is a wonderful cost-effective option of updating your wardrobe without adding to the ‘fast fashion’ waste.
Organic cotton clothing is quite different, organic cotton farming is a very regulated sector, GOTS is one term you may often hear, it refers to the Global Organic Textile Standard.
GOTS monitors the entire supply chain and testing of organic cotton, they ensure that the cotton is grown in an environment separate to any harmful pesticides or chemicals, they ensure that only fair-trade labour is used to harvest the cotton, as well as during the manufacturing process, GOTS also only allow the use of dyes that are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. They have strict environmental and social policies which business must follow, including regulations relating to waste water, and irrigation.
Organic cotton is a pesticide-free, environmentally sustainable and ethical choice alternative to regular (conventional) cotton. The production practices of growing and developing organic cotton use far less natural resources, better preserves soil fertility and cleaner waterways, leaving behind a smaller agricultural footprint supporting a more biodiverse ecosystem and healthier communities.
What is the difference between organic cotton and conventional cotton?
Why does it matter?
The production of conventional cotton (all cotton that is not labelled as ‘Organic’) has a negative and unbalanced environmental impact. Conventional cotton production relies on the heavy use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides that promote chemical-resistant pests, pollutes the environment and reduces biodiversity. A typical cotton crop needs a LOT of water, for example 11,000L is required to produce 1kg of cotton, a typical adult t-shirt requires 450g of cotton; this water consumption is 91% higher than what is required in organic cotton farming. This intensive irrigation can lead to degraded soil fertility, and the dyes that can be used in an uncontrolled production phase can exacerbate negative environmental impacts.
Sustainably handmade products in Australia, which use repurposed fabrics are a wonderful option, as is organic cotton for those who are wishing to reduce their footprint on this world.
Interested to check out a couple of Australian handmade, organic and sustainable clothing businesses? Here are some of my favourites!
ps. We are the owners of BamBee Organic, so that recommendation is a little biased! hehe
Handmade Organic Cotton Clothing
BamBee Organic (my business!)
BamBee Organic is a small business run from our family home in country Victoria. Every item is handmade using GOTS certified organic cottons, and thread. We try to take an environmentally friendly approach in all areas on the business, we package all items in 100% biodegradable bubble wrap, which is suitable for recycling and composting.
REJ Clothing is a handmade Australian business that is meticulous with construction so you can trust your garments will be made beautifully. Rachel takes great pride in her handmade clothes and believes they should last and be able to be handed down and worn by many children. All REJ clothing is made from organic cotton, in her own exclusive prints.
Handmade Sustainable Fabric Clothing
Twice Loved Creations is a gorgeous business run by Bec (who is awesome by the way!), she is passionate about creating sustainable children’s clothing using vintage and reclaimed materials. Twice Loved Creations has been operating for 2 years and you can check them out at HERE.
Findis Designs is owned and run by the lovely Jade, she believes strongly in
sustainable fashion, and will reuse wherever possible. Her gorgeous garments feature vintage fabrics and linens, saving fabrics that would otherwise be unused, and transforming them into stunning pieces.
Kirstie from Bambee Organic
My name is Kirstie, I am a mother to a gorgeous pre-schooler and two very cheeky puppies, I am a wife to my amazing husband and I also happen to be a small business owner.
We live in a small town in country Victoria, and together with my young daughter I spend my days creating and crafting some pretty adorable children’s wear (If I may say so myself!).
I love supporting other small businesses and have met some of the most inspiring people through my journey of running a business in the last few years.
BamBee Organic (My business!!) has given me so much confidence, independence and purpose, for the first time I am proud of myself, I am proud of the woman I am, the mother I am, and every day I am excited to see what I am capable of.
If you are a small business owner who would love a little support – hit me up!
If you are looking at starting your own small business (even if its in the same field as mine) – Get in touch!
If you are a customer looking for adorable childrens clothing – I would love to help!
I am lucky enough to love what I do and would love to share that joy with you too.