What is GOTS certified organic cotton anyway, and why buy into it?

Acronyms often have a way of sounding important but intimidating (at least to me). In my quest to manufacture the best possible children’s socks in the market, I encountered so many acronyms in apparel manufacturing. It was overwhelming at first, but after some research it quickly became clear to me which certifications or acronyms were truly relevant and which were not. This would have never happened if I hadn’t decided to venture into the world of apparel (or sock) manufacturing and I’d like to think that I am a reasonably ‘educated’ consumer. As a result, it is only fitting that I start Q for Quinn’s official blog with clarification on what GOTS certified really means.

A general description of the certification can be found here. It is a worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. It has set down requirements across the entire supply chain (from fiber to sewing the garment) for both ecological and labor conditions in textile and clothes manufacturing.  All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet stringent environmental and toxicological criteria for the certification to hold.

The use of chemicals in clothing, even in baby / kids clothing is astounding. As a new mom, I spent a number of hours scoring the internet for the most chemical-free products for baby and I was astounded with what I found. While there were a lot of options for chemical-free skincare products, chemical-free clothing, toys and other baby gear were much harder to come by. The sad reality is that even knowing where a product is made doesn’t guarantee it is chemical and harmful substance free. A recent study by the NAFTA environment protection agency found dozens of Canadian-made and imported products, including baby bibs, mats and blankets contained chemicals with known links to cancer and hormone-related illnesses. My son, goes through 3-4 bibs a day and has worn a bib since he was a few days old. He literally wears a bib all day, every day! I feel worried knowing that his bibs could've contained harmful chemicals  I was shocked and saddened to hear this and unfortunately, this is the reality of the world we live in now. I know that it is impossible to give a chemical-free life for my kids but the least I could do is make a well-informed purchase and business decision to choose GOTS certification when available.

 By choosing a garment made from GOTS certified cotton you are not only choosing to keep away chemicals from your baby’s skin but also minimizing the impact of your purchase on our planet. GOTS certified garments have serious environmental benefits. Sitka.ca has summarized these benefits well:

  • The chemicals and pesticides used in the processing of conventional cotton is harmful to workers and our planet
  • Organic cotton uses far less water than regular cotton
  • If you buy a shirt made from organic cotton or wool and you wear it until the end of its life, you could throw it in the ground and it will compost. If you throw away a shirt made from petroleum, it’s going to continue to pollute the environment and will probably live in a landfill forever.

Thank you to all the brands and conscious consumers who are making the choice everyday towards GOTS certified organic cotton.

FAQ related to this post:

What is GOTS certified organic cotton?

GOTS is a worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. It has set down requirements across the entire supply chain (from fiber to sewing the garment) for both ecological and labor conditions in textile and clothes manufacturing.  All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet stringent environmental and toxicological criteria for the certification to hold.

What are GOTS certified organic cotton socks?

These are socks made from organic cotton yarn that is GOTS certified and in a facility that is GOTS certified, ensuring that every part of the production process is upheld to the standard. 

Why should you buy GOTS certified organic cotton clothing?

Beyond being green and taking care of our planet, buying organic clothing for our kids is important because of the following:

The use of chemicals in clothing, even in baby / kids clothing is astounding. As a new mom, I spent a number of hours scoring the internet for the most chemical-free products for baby and I was astounded with what I found. While there were a lot of options for chemical-free skincare products, chemical-free clothing, toys and other baby gear were much harder to come by. The sad reality is that even knowing where a product is made doesn’t guarantee it is chemical and harmful substance free. A recent study by the NAFTA environment protection agency found dozens of Canadian-made and imported products, including baby bibs, mats and blankets contained chemicals with known links to cancer and hormone-related illnesses. My son, goes through 3-4 bibs a day and has worn a bib since he was a few days old. He literally wears a bib all day, every day! I feel worried knowing that his bibs could've contained harmful chemicals.

Furthermore, another study found an out 9/10 baby socks in the market contained traces of BPA and Parabens. Two known hormone disruptors. The new evidence of chemicals in baby clothing is astounding especially for those accessories like bibs and socks that babies usually put in their mouths. Sadly this is the reality of the world we live in now. I know that it is impossible to give a chemical-free life for my kids but the least I could do is make a well-informed purchase and business decision to choose GOTS certification when available.

What does OEKO Tex Standard 100 mean?

The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used.
In plain English, this standard assures us that the garment (textiles or fabrics) has been tested for any harmful chemicals (of more than 100 substances) and certified free of these chemicals and safe for use. 

What is the difference between GOTS certified and OEKO-Tex Standard 100?

The OEKO-Tex certification is about how the fabric is processed (as opposed to grown), including things like dyes and finishes. Every part of the garment, including stitching, zips, buttons and coatings have been tested.

Organic certification means that textile and fabric products are grown according to strict ecological and toxicological guidelines - without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. OEKO-Tex certification does not necessary mean that the fabric is grown organically, however GOTS certification on the fabric and facility making the garment also means that this garment has been fabricated and made without coming into contact with any harmful substances right from the source to finish. This is why buying GOTS certified garments is still the absolute safest and most eco-conscious choice for you and your kid.

Are Q for Quinn socks GOTS certified or OEKO-Standard 100 certified?

Every pair of our socks is made in a facility that is OEKO-Standard 100 and GOTS certified making our socks the safest and most eco-conscious purchase decisions for your family?

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