The cost of cotton

Cotton: The Mind Blowing Cost

Cotton: The Mind Blowing Cost

Did you know? It takes 2,700 litres of water to make a regular cotton T-shirt. With UN Water Day around the corner, we thought it a good opportunity to explain why sustainable fashion choices are so very crucial in a world where water scarcity is identified as a top 10 global risk.

Cotton is something we’ve come to take for granted. It’s used to make everything, from jeans and T-shirts to socks, bedding, underwear and make up removal pads. T-shirts are a huge industry for countries where there is fresh water scarcity.

‘I’ve heard someone describe wearing a regular cotton T-shirt as wearing three or four years drinking water from someone in the developing world.’ says the Founder of The Natural Edition, a fair fashion brand specialising in sustainable basic tees.

Organic cotton T-shirt

Cotton is the most commonly used fibre in for clothes, in the world. But it’s not as natural as you may think. Non-organic cotton is responsible for a staggering 16% of the world’s insecticides, more than any food crop uses, and 7% of the world’s pesticides.

This intense use of chemical deterrents damages ecosystems, soil health, waterways and also affects the health of cotton farmers. Not many people realise that for these reasons, cotton and organic cotton are worlds apart in terms of quality and impact on people and the planet.

We know that ‘buying organic’ is a better choice than buying non organic, but often, we’re not educated as to why. In many cases, buying a T-shirt doesn’t seem like a negative or unethical act, so buying an organic cotton tee seems unnecessary to many.

Only 1% of cotton produced worldwide is organic, however, the switch to organic cotton is one that has a positive impact on both planet and people.

The cost of cotton

‘We wanted to focus on the pieces that you wear the most and make a better version. Basics have been very much a poor quality after thought of the high street, buying better basics has a big impact, impact being a switch to organic materials plus ethical production. For us, it was important to focus on something that was worn regularly, our design focus was improving on what was already available in terms of quality and fit.

The Natural Edition

Many people don’t give much thought to their basics. They buy cotton tees and underwear for comfort and affordability. However, starting with the basics can have a hugely positive impact on both the planet, specifically the locations in which cotton is farmed and produced, and the people who work to supply it.

The UN introduced Water Day as an annual observance to highlight the importance of freshwater. Around 700 million people in 43 countries suffer from water scarcity, according to the UN. By 2025, reports state that two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under severely-stressed water conditions.

Choosing to buy organic cotton or regenerative fabrics such as hemp and linen makes a great deal of difference. These small choices advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.



Written by Emily Lavinia