Organic Fiber Products Moving into the Mainstream - Organic Trade Association
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Organic Fiber Products Moving into the Mainstream


GREENFIELD, Mass (Jan. 7, 2000) – Almost unheard of just a few years ago, apparel and other items made from organic fibers can be found at a wide range of retail outlets including stores, catalogues, and the Internet. Well-known international clothing manufacturers and small businesses, for instance, are incorporating organic cotton into their apparel. In addition, organic cotton appears in a variety of personal hygiene products, home furnishings and more.

Organic fibers, which include cotton, wool, hemp, and flax, are grown using a system of farming that builds healthy soils and a healthy environment. As a result of increasing interest in organic cotton, 1999 U.S. organic cotton planting increased 9,364 acres in five states in 1998, to more than 16,000 acres in seven states in 1999, according to a recent survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association’s Fiber Council. Organic cotton is currently grown in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas.

"By using organic fiber, manufacturers of clothing, personal care products, and home furnishings can support a system of agriculture that meets consumers’ desire to preserve and enhance the environment," says Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association. "This way, consumers are given a choice—the apparel and fiber products they want to use grown in harmony with the environment they want to preserve."

Additional examples of the growth of organic fiber use include:

  • Patagonia, the Ventura, California, based manufacturer of sports and adventure travel clothing, has been committed to using 100% organic cotton in its clothing since 1996.
  • Sportswear giant Nike now blends 3% organic cotton into half of its domestically produced cotton T-shirts.
  • In May, student fashion designers at the San Francisco Academy of Art College presented "Fashion 99" which highlighted organic cotton in women’s wear and other fine designs in what was the first of several international fashion shows featuring organic cotton on the catwalk.
  • Personal care products made from certified organic cotton—cotton balls, tampons and more—are now available at chain stores such as Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats, Trader Joe’s, and Lublaws.

Consumers interested in supporting organic fiber production and a healthy environment can take the following steps:

  1. Choose organic fiber products for everyday use.
  2. Use T-shirts (or other shirts), tote bags, baseball caps, aprons and other items made from organic fiber to promote clubs, events or organizations. Visit the OTA web site ( to find a list of companies that sell promotional items made of organic fiber.
  3. Ask additional retailers to carry products made with organically grown fiber.

January 7, 2000

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