Think of the most basic piece you own in your wardrobe and you'll probably think of your favourite cotton t-shirt. It's a staple item in most of our wardrobes and yet it's relatively expendable; a simple t-shirt is just one of those items we all own but buy often. And as simple as a cotton tee is, few of us realise that it comes from a more complex supply chain process.
Cotton is the most widely produced natural fibre in the world, and is harvested from green, bushy shrubs that produce 'fruit' in the form of cotton bolls. These plants are a thirsty crop with high water usage, and use a large amount of pesticides and insecticides. Once picked, they are transported to a cotton gin to be spun into yarn, and then sent to another factory to be dyed and woven into a knitted fabric. Only then will it begin to resemble the familiar shape of a cotton t-shirt.
The production and manufacture of cotton is clearly a complex process that has a significant impact on the environment, and amidst this are additional social and community issues, such as the state-sponsored forced adult and child labour in Uzbekistan, one of the world's largest cotton producers.
These issues form part of the reason that David Jones, along with nearly 200 other brands globally, has become signatory to the Cotton Pledge which is a commitment to not knowingly using cotton from Uzbekistan (Find out more about David Jones' ethical sourcing program
The use of organic cotton, which is produced without pesticides and fertilisers, have also increased amongst fashion labels and designers, including many David Jones brands such as Bassike, and newly launched label KitX. Paul Smith and Nudie Jeans also offer organic garments plus a myriad of other brands offering kidswear and bedding.
The movement towards sustainable and ethically sourced cotton is growing, and it's one to think about the next time we pull on our favourite cotton tee.
Shop some of our favourite organic brands: