written by Jennifer Pearce
Cotton has been used to create clothing for at least the last 7,000 years, with it now making approximately 50% of all textiles.
Jumpers, t-shirts, jeans, underwear and more are all usually made from this dirty, thirsty crop, but what effect is that having on our planet? And what can be done to ensure we can still rock our favourite garms without it costing the earth?
Aral Sea No More
- A country that has really felt the force of this thirsty crop is Uzebekistan, home to what was once the world’s fourth largest lake, the Aral Sea.
- During the 50s, they diverted fresh water to the Aral Sea, in order to irrigate their cotton crops. The process was an environmental failure and it took only 40 years for the lake to drastically shrink to 10% its original size.
- NASA recently reported that the Aral Sea has now almost completely dried up. The formerly thriving ecosystem has been destroyed and communities by the shore left in devastation, with a cancer causing cocktail of chemicals blowing from the irrigation system into their towns and a loss of fish for food and income.
As well as being a hugely thirsty crop, cotton is known as the ‘dirtiest’ crop in the world, requiring more pesticides than almost any other crop.
- The effect that this has on people and our environment is vast. The World Health Organisation estimates that at least 40,000 people worldwide die every year from pesticide poisoning, and at least 10,000 US farmers from cancers related to these chemicals.
- Humans are not the only ones feeling the repercussions – according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 63 million birds die per year from pesticides. The use of pesticides and insecticides is seriously unbalancing the food chain, putting multiple species at risk of extinction, especially bees and fish.
- Over-use of these chemicals means that pests build up immunity so farmers have to use stronger and stronger doses. Genetically modified seeds have also been adapted, that produce natural insect repellent and herbicide tolerance, but these also come at an awful price;
- 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years, partly as a result of going into debt to buy genetically modified cotton seeds.
GOING ORGANIC, the good bit
- Although organic cotton can still use a very small amount of chemical pesticide, natural alternatives are also used, such as companion planting with bug-repelling plants.
- Ethical farmers use the same techniques that have been used since way back to the first recorded confirmation of cotton growth – in 3000 BC.
- Crop rotation preserves nutrients and water in the soil and a knowledge of pests lets farmers gauge when to plant and harvest for minimal infestation.
- Ample plant spacing reduces nutrient and water usage, and proper water management techniques conserve water.
- Then, there are no harmful chemicals during processing and only natural dyes are used, if any.
- The entire process has minimal environmental and social impact.
Benefits of Organic: The stats
In 2014 the Textile Exchange created a life cycle assessment that found the following findings in the benefits of organic cotton.
- 91% less surface and groundwater used
- 70% percent less acidification of land and water
- 62% lower demand for energy
- 46% percent less harmful to global warming
- 26% less potential for for soil erosion
Do your bit by making sure you buy ‘Certified Organic’. This means that the whole process of your garment, from growth to production has been done without use of chemicals, as opposed to ‘Grown Organically’, which just means at some point no chemicals were used.
GOTS Organic means the cotton is certifed by “Global Organic Textile Standard”
What are we doing at FUUD?
Our new sweatshirt has been knitted specially for Fuud in the UK and is GOTS Organic Cotton blended with Lenzing Modal.
Our t-shirts are 100% Organic cotton
Our racer vests are Organic cotton and Modal.
Even the thread we use is 100% organic cotton!!
The fashion industry has been getting some seriously bad press recently as we discover more and more about the true impact of the fashion industry.
Here are a few facts and figures to get you started
- If the fashion industry were a country, it would be the sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, behind China, the USA, the European Union, India and Russia.
- The emissions it creates are equivalent to 372 million cars driving for one year.
- A 2017 report revealed that, in 2015 alone, the fashion industry consumed 79 billion cubic metres of water – enough to fill 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. That figure is expected to increase by 50% by 2030
- It takes 10,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of cotton, meaning it takes 713 gallons, that’s about 2,700 liters to make 1 cotton t-shirt, That’s enough to sustain one person for 900 days.
- One washing load of clothes could be shedding up to 17million tiny plastic fibres in to the sea.
- A recent study by the Ellen McArthur Foundation found that one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second. And the Copenhagen Fashion Summit reported that fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of solid waste dumped in landfills each year
Its not all doom and gloom though. In the past year sustainability in fashion has really grown and we predict that in the next few years it will be the norm for brands to be using organic, sustainable and recycled materials.
- In 2018 Lyst reported a 47% increase in in shoppers searching for ethical and sustainable items.
- Innovation in new materials, alternative fabrics, water saving process’s, natural dyes, organic and recycled fabrics are a hugely fast growing industry and there are really exciting possibilities on the horizon
- New ways of consuming clothing such as clothes swap, rent the highstreet, clothes that can be composted or completely recycled are also becoming widely used.
For the past year we have been learning, sourcing and designing our first eco collection. Its been one hell of a journey and it feels like we’v only just dipped our toes in.
We will be releasing regular posts from now on, on all the exciting and important information to enable you to navigate your way through buying the right fashion to ensure fashion is an industry that protects the environment and the workers in it.
Times a changing and we are on board for the journey !
We talk to Photographer Jenny Lewis about her book One Day Young, the journey of birth and death, and what she thinks about the environmental challenges facing the fashion industry at the moment! TUNE IN im so proud to have got the chance to talk to this great lady for our first FUUD Podcast
As we roll on in to 2019 and look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary next year, its time to take a look back at what Fuud has achieved in 2018.
It’s been a year of big changes at Fuud HQ. We have finally hung up our festival boots for good, ditched the sequins and feathers, and headed for pastures greener.
Running an eco brand has been a long-term goal for me, and being a sportswear brand a long-term ambition for Fuud. So, to have started on that journey and made significant progress feels like I’m finally starting to create the brand I’ve always dreamt of.
Fuud has been a constantly evolving creation since its start in 2009 and although it’s been 9years since the first tracksuit collection, it feels like this is what we should have been doing all along so it’s good to be home 😉
With the launch of our new Superwoman feature, we have already chatted to some amazing, inspiring women and have some total winners lined up for 2019.
Check out Nov & Dec at https://fuudlondon.com/blog/
Project Sewathon, where we got together local seamstresses and helpers to create re-useable, sanitary towels for girls in Malawi was an exciting start to a new group we will be running regularly in 2019… so look out for that!
One of our favourite highlights was taking part in the first Hackney Fashion Wick – what an amazing show of talent in Hackney Wick. Can’t wait to see how this grows!
With the first manufactured collection due out in 2019, all sustainably made from scratch in the UK. We are looking forward to the next chapter of Fuud skiwear and apparel.
Merry Christmas and Happy New year to everyone love from Fuud xxx
This month we chatted to Fab from Cuckooz and Cuckooz Nest about their amazing success creating a new type of boutique apartments and a revolutionary new workplace for parents!
- Directed and filmed by Justin Gardner Justin Gardner.co.uk
- Interviewed by Lou Fuud
- Assistant : Tula Thompson Price
- Track By Nick Gynn : Cheriff : Pleasure Club Records
We are hyped to bring you episode one of our brand new feature : Fuud Superwoman of the month.
This month we are celebrating a new talent killing it on the Grime scene; Tanya Cracknell aka The Grime Violinist.
We asked Tania to come into the studio to perform one of the new tracks from her EP, as well as a quick-fire interview to find out more about her and what inspires her.
We hope you enjoy and thank you Tanya for being our first Fuud superwoman <3
Find Tanya at insta/thegrimeviolinist
Track ID is Fast Fingers prod. @staroneuk from the new EP Grime Violinist Instrumentals available on all major platforms
- Directed and filmed by
Justin Gardner Justin Gardner.co.uk
- Interviewed by Lou Fuud
- Assistant : Tula Thompson Price