Since the introduction of the purchasing category ‘organic’ in the 1940s, there’s been an ongoing discussion asking the question, ‘is organic worth it or not?’ Is the word ‘organic’ just a selling point or will it benefit our lives?
When Jess started 3RD ROCK in 2010, she set about to answer this exact question, an important quest for a brand based around ethical standards, like us.
Organic Cotton: The Lowdown
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying organic, as a brand or an individual, such as what does the word ‘organic’ on the label really mean? Is there more or less energy being used to make that organic product?
"Both organic and conventional cotton have their own pros and cons, and it is very hard to measure which is the absolute best. Growing organic cotton is a more sustainable process while regular cotton is more effective in terms of the use of land and water."
After discovering that more than 10% of all the world’s pesticides and insecticides are used in cotton production, regular cotton just didn’t seem like 3RD ROCK at all..As Jess strived to found a company based on ethical values, when she first-hand witnessed the negative sides of the non organic cotton production industry, it was a no-brainer. 3RD ROCK clothing would be made from organic cotton.
In a study by The Textile Exchange that analyzed whether organic or conventional cotton was more sustainable, organic proved to be the winner. It contributes less to global warming and the production is less harmful to the water and biodiversity.
Basically, organic cotton is better for farmers, safer for you to wear and overall better for the environment.
Organic cotton is featured as the foundation of many of our top selling products, such as the Margo, Bataboom, Mercury, and SuperNova trousers.
Image: Founder & Head Designer Jessica chats with employees at a factory in India who produced some of our SS19 lines.
Q: What exactly makes cotton Organic?
A: Organic cotton is cotton grown without chemical pesticides and it also cannot be genetically modified. Organic cotton is grown the most natural way possible.
We pay a higher price, to give you an alternative choice.
We knew the choice to pay a higher price for organic cotton would mean complications. Organic cotton is roughly 30% more expensive than conventional cotton. But because we understand the detrimental effects of conventional cotton on the planet, we knew it was the right choice for us.
Full disclosure, it is harder to be organic. Not only due to the increased cost, but also from a logistical standpoint. You have limited suppliers, limited countries producing organic cotton, longer lead times, and higher fabric minimums. But for us, the benefit of sustainability outweighs the cost.
We still manage to make our business model work using organic cotton, as anyone can. It is much more affordable than most businesses would like to admit.
Farming organic contributes to a more sustainable quality of life for farmers by creating less dependency on big multinationals, less debt and fewer contamination and respiratory complications from pesticides, and also contributes to soil fertility.
The impact on the environment and the farmers is the price we aren’t willing to pay.
Q: But how does Organic Cotton survive without pesticides?
A: Natural pesticides and fertilisers are used instead of chemical ones. For example, chilli, garlic & cows urine are mixed and sprayed onto the crops to deter insects
Shop our top Organic Products
It’s Worth the Money, Plus It’s Really Soft
Beyond no health risks or environmental damage to the local growers and their land, studies suggest organic cotton is less irritable on your skin.
Think of buying food to eat grown with pesticides, then consider wearing cotton on your skin that has been grown with pesticides. It’s the same idea. You can still absorb trace amounts of pesticides from your clothing into your skin. This can cause irritation, especially if you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis. You’ll also see organic cotton is becoming the prime choice for babies and toddlers, who certainly have soft and sensitive skin.
Q: Does Organic cotton perform better on the rock than regular cotton?
A: Organic cotton has been thought to be more durable than regular cotton, because the chemicals used in processing damage the cotton. Organic fibers are more robust.
What This Means for You
Although it may be a placebo effect, a benefit we certainly can’t forget, is that organic cotton often feels extra soft on the skin and is more comfortable.
Technically, there are not scientific studies to back this one up, just happy skin and comfy folks who love organic cotton.
So there you have it, the story of how we became organic. After Jess did her research, knowing that organic cotton is better for farmers, safer and softer for you to wear, and overall better for the earth’s sustainability, 3RD ROCK was fully on board for being 100% organic for the long haul.
Thanks for reading. We're 3RD ROCK. We design and manufacture sustainable climbing clothes & activewear that's made to move and made to last. Using recycled ocean plastic, organic cotton and upcycled materials, we're making items that help protect the very environments we depends on for our adventures.
We've been awarded "Most Ethical Climbing Brand" by the Ethical Consumer trade body out-performing Black Diamond, Prana and even Patagonia!
It's our way of saying "no" to fast fashion, "yes" to protecting the climate and "absolutely" to a life spent outdoors.