In conjunction with Fashion Revolution week, we would like to share our picks for the best organic cotton underwear, and explain briefly why it is important to choose such underwear.
While many of Styleforum users pay close attention to the quality of the items they buy and even to the type of material employed – oftentimes preferring natural materials to synthetics – not all cotton is made the same, when examined in ethical and environmental contexts.
Today, only 15% of the global production of cotton is organically grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals.
People working in industrial cotton fields are exposed to carcinogenic agents that correlate with increased likelihood of developing brain tumors – most of which result in death. Additionally, there have been an increased number of suicides caused by financial ruin brought about by the debts the farmers have to multinational corporations on account of the the pesticides they provide. As farmers use pesticides, they continually need to increase the use of these chemicals in order to see the same effects as the first time they are used on account of increased tolerance.
This does not only happen in India and other developing countries, but in the United States as well. Some of the leaders in the organic cotton market within the United States were impacted personally by the use of industrial chemicals found in large-scale agricultural production.
LaRhea Pepper has worked in a cotton farm for all her life, and she dedicated her life to switching to 100% organic production after losing her husband to cancer: “My husband grew up on a chemically intensive farm in south Texas and his father died of Leukemia at the age of 57.
Terry was diagnosed with a brain tumor–a glioblastoma multiforme–when he was forty-eight and I had to say goodbye to him just 2 years later. We were partners in transforming our farm from a low-input ‘almost organic’ to certified organic in 1991–we worked hard to build the organic cotton market for us and others as well. Promoting organic, as THE way to farm and be responsible stewards of our land was an important priority in our lives. It is no longer important to me–it is imperative! Agriculture MUST change and LIFE must be the focus,” she told viewers in an interview for the movie The True Cost.
Organic cotton is not only a more ethical way to grow the most utilized textile fabric in the world–it is a higher quality product for the final customer: with organic cotton, people are less likely to develop allergies and prevent irritations that may occur from wearing cotton treated with chemicals, especially in areas where the fabric is in direct contact with the skin.
Now that you’re a slightly more familiar with some of the important reasons to support organic cotton producers and brands that source their cotton from these farms, let us explore a few options in case you’re considering upgrading your underwear drawer with organic cotton options. Here is a selection of the 5 best brands that manufacture organic cotton underwear for men:
PACT Underwear ($9)
All PACT apparel is sweatshop free, and ethically produced. You can order online (they usually have specials and discounts on quantities) or you can buy them at Target.
I LOVE BAD ($24)
I Love Bad’s underwear is made with a blend of organic cotton, hemp, and lycra – all pesticide and chemical free, and organic. The elastic band-free design alleviates stomach congestion and other discomforts. Their products are made in Southern California using low-impact dyes.
Bgreen offers ultra-soft, stretchy underwear made of organic cotton. All their items are organic, fair trade, and made in the USA.
NATURAL CLOTHING COMPANY ($24.99)
This is a small business run by a husband and wife from the state of Washington. They make underwear employing organic cotton and they commit to a fair trade, ethical business model.
Cottonique specializes in underwear for individuals that have particularly sensitive skin and/or allergies; they pay lots of attention to the materials to make sure that even people with latex and spandex allergies can wear their underwear. They also offer elastic-free options that include a drawstring, made of 100% organic cotton.
If you have already switched to organic cotton, feel free to share your experience and your opinion on the matter. We would love to hear from you and discover more brands that produce ethically made, sustainable clothing.