Cotton - Conscious collaborations | The Forward Lab

Cotton is a natural fibre that when woven or knitted produces a soft, strong fabric that is breathable, absorbent & washable.

It is the world’s largest non-food crop, grown for trade by more than 80 countries:
> 6 countries produce 80% of world’s cotton (China, India, Brazil, Australia, the US).
And cotton represents half of the total fibre used to make clothing today. More than 90% of that cotton is now genetically modified, using vast amounts of water as well as chemicals.

Water usage is among the most dramatic. More than 50% of global cotton production takes place in areas under high or extreme water stress. Only 30% of the cotton produced comes from rain-fed farming.
As well as being a thirsty crop, cotton cultivation currently uses lots of chemicals: 4% of all world pesticides and 10% of insecticides are used in cotton-growing.

Around 15% of all cotton produced globally in 2015 was grown under a ‘preferred cotton initiative’ – a term coined by Textile Exchange for cotton produced according to certain sustainability standards and criteria

Why is organic cotton a better alternative?
Organic cotton is grown using cotton seed stock that is not genetically modified and without the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilisers or pesticides.
The key benefits of organic cotton, compared to conventionally grown cotton, are improved soil health, higher water quality and biodiversity, and significantly less resource depletion. There are also improved health outcomes and better economic returns for farmers if and when they can sell at the organic price.

Want to dig deeper?
There are currently several major standards or initiatives for growing cotton using sustainable or ethically based principles including organic cottonFairtrade cotton, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and the REEL Cotton programme. 
In addition, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has a heavy focus on cotton and addresses the social and environmental aspects of cotton processing and cotton garment manufacturing.
The Better Cotton Initiative by far dominates the alternatives in terms of output. 
Each programme has a different emphasis – be it geographic or issue-driven.

Our Boyfriend Forward look made from fleece focuses on a fabric made from 74% ECOTEC® (recycled cotton yarn) from Marchi & Fildi and 26% organic cotton from Tintex Textiles.
The finished fabric is produced by Tintex Textiles. However no dyeing process involved for this fabric thanks to ECOTEC® yarn production technology.

Marchi & Fildi is certified BCI, OEKO- TEX®Standard 100, GRS and FSC®.
Tintex Textiles is certified GOTS, OEKO- TEX®Standard 100, GRS and OCS.

Discover our Boyfriend Forward collaboration where one look is made from a blend of recycled and organic cotton.