This month the Australian Government will submit a report on the use of potentially dangerous chemicals in clothing. It will recommend whether the chemicals, known as azo dyes, should be regulated due to their potential to cause cancer.
Earlier this year retailers Rivers Australia, Just Jeans and Pillow Talk recalled imported adult and children’s clothes that were coloured with azo dyes.
Fortunately businesses such as My Organic Uniform are not leaving it to chance and are one step ahead.
The certified organic clothing wholesaler is a newcomer to the organic textile market but is already making inroads into the school uniform and work wear industries.
The Australian Certified Organic company established by David Grant in 2013 has an approved suppliers list to access certified organic clothing and its storage facility meets the Australian Certified Organic Standard’s storage and cleaning requirements.
Its suppliers hold full organic certification with two international certifiers throughout each stage of production, from the organic cotton farm to the factories where the garments are produced.
Certified organic textiles are made responsibly – chemically, socially and environmentally. This means no poor working conditions, child labour or harmful chemicals are used to grow and process the cotton. The cotton for My Organic Uniform clothes is grown in China and Turkey.
There are different levels of certified organic cotton content in each garment. The 100% organic cotton clothes are fully certified organic (this includes work wear and some school uniforms), while – for the sake of durability – some of the school wear has a mix of 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester (plastic bottles mix).
The founder of Braintree Hemp, David’s long-term supplier of organic textiles in China – who supplies sustainable textiles to international markets – convinced him to enter the fledgling Australian market after seeing its success in Europe.
David’s daughter Laura Grant is the company’s marketing and sales manager. She says the business began with a firm focus on certified organic school uniforms.
“David has always had a strong interest in sustainable textiles.
“Schools became our focus because a lot of public schools have a green policy and want to be more sustainable. Buying certified organic uniforms is another way that they can achieve that.
“Raw organic cotton is purchased from the farm and woven into sheets that are dyed (with organic dyes) and ready to be woven into cotton garments,” Laura says.
It doesn’t cost more
Price is a major driver for My Organic Uniform, which is able to keep costs down through a good long-term relationship with its key supplier.
Laura says, “Schools have an interest in sustainability but if they are not making money out of what they are buying, it is not viable for them. There are quite a few companies in the industry so it was critical that we remained competitive.” Laura says the response from schools has been positive.
“Every school has a green policy that is government implemented but its success depends on the drivers in the school. We have organised sessions in schools where we have shown products and provided samples and the response has been wonderful.”
Orders are currently being placed for summer stock.
While the company aims to stock as many schools as possible with organic uniforms, Laura says education is just as important.
“We are not just selling a garment; we are educating future generations about the benefits of sustainable produce, whether it’s food or clothing.
“We encourage parents and citizens associations that purchase our products to educate children by telling them what they are wearing – that it is chemical free and made sustainably.”
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