100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
June 27, 2011 Jen Madsen of Stitch Simple emailed me this statement: ". . . we need, you know that 'dirty dozen' list for organic produce? How about a list of most environmentally friendly arts and crafts supplies or home décor items?"
I thought she was absolutely right! But how to rate, rank, educate and not overwhelm people is no easy task. Fabrics are so much more complex than fruits and vegetables. As the idea progressed, I contacted Leigh Anne of Oecotextiles. She has one of the most comprehensive and thorough blogs about textiles and the chemicals in them. She is my go-to for the chemistry and statistics so I asked if she would be willing to help. Thankfully, she agreed!
The three of us (Jen, Leigh Anne, and myself) knew that there was SOOOO much information that one infographic was not going to do. Our goal then became to put together a series and it was decided that we would start with BABY since that seems to be the most common entry point for people when it comes to organic fibers. I took a stab at the graphic, I redid it about 20 times. It stalled and stammered. My dear friend Suz enlisted her graphic design friend Alison who took a shot at revamping my sad attempt. It helped but also lost the entire fabric focus. We knew we lost our audience. Alison did the work pro bono and I thank her deeply for helping move the project forward in April of 2012 and highlighting where we went astray (focus!).
It stalled for months. I was sick of looking at it and frankly didn't know what to do. In September of 2012 I was contacted by Linsi of Spark Collaborative. We had a mutual friend Rachel Hulan who connected the dots. I bit the bullet and hired Spark Collaborative to take a shot at it. I sent them various versions, thoughts, and challenges. The name was changed from Worst Things/First Things to Textile Truths (duh!) and the layout started to pull together.
I sought help from Suz again (she is an editing wizard with decades of experience!), my friend Madge (a marketing maven and hiking tour leader extraordinaire), and a select few others (you know who you are!!). Changes: color changes, text changes, font changes, layout changes, pattern changes, alignment changes and more changes were made. Then I sent it to GOTS to make sure they would approve of the logo usage. Whew. It got their blessing and now . . . drum roll please . . .
IT IS OUT IN THE WORLD at last. Will it fill the need we aimed to address? Will anyone read it and care? Will it go viral and ignite different purchasing behavior? Launch a helpful series? Help all organic fabric companies to be better appreciated for what they are doing? Will it crawl under a rock never to be seen? I don't know. Time will tell. I can tell you that I am very grateful to have it no longer haunting my to-do list! I also want to acknowledge all of the kind, thoughtful people who helped in this journey. I LOVE YOU and COULDN'T HAVE FINISHED THIS WITHOUT YOU!
I VERY MUCH welcome your feedback (too late for changes to this version) and if all goes as hoped (and prayed for) we will be releasing other versions for: Home, Fashion, Pets, etc.
Please feel free to share this with anyone you think would be interested.
Buckets full of hugs and gratitude to each of you. It is my gift to the organic fiber community and the world. I hope you like it.
Over the last 7 years, I have watched the organic textile industry evolve and progress. I have been keeping careful tabs on the labels and what they mean. Authenticity and accountability for the environmental and social impact of textile production are why I launched Harmony Art and it has definitely been a journey!
Certification Status Report
2004 - OTA adopts American Organic Fiber Processing Standard (AOFPS).
2005 - Harmony Art organic design is founded. 40 different "eco fabric" standards exist.
2005 - Harmony Art chooses the OTA's AOFPS for her fabrics.
2006 - Global Organic Textile Standard - GOTS version 1 is finalized.
2007 - Harmony Art fabrics produced in India are 3rd party certified to GOTS.
2008 - GOTS logo (below) is introduced.
NOV. 2011 - Harmony Art applies for GOTS certification!
DEC. 2011 - Harmony Art warehouse is inspected by OneCert. (blog post)
2012 - It's official HARMONY ART BECOMES GOTS CERTIFIED and PRESS RELEASE is issued.
*What does this mean? Nothing and everything. Nothing because the fabric has already been made and certified to GOTS standards. Everything because we (Fox-Rich/Organic Cotton Plus & Harmony Art) are some of the VERY first distributors not only to sell GOTS certified fabrics but to BE GOTS certified.
So, what does that mean? Well, for ANY product to carry the GOTS logo ALL of the "chain of command" upstream need to be certified. Example: If you were to make baby clothes and you sourced GOTS fabrics and wanted to use the GOTS logo on your hang tags, your fabric supplier (not the fabric itself) would need to be GOTS certified AND your facility would also need to go through the certification process. This step now opens the doors for any of our customers to pursue GOTS certification themselves for their end products.
Why has it taken us so long to take this leap you ask? Well, two reasons -- 1. We wanted to be sure the certification had the momentum to be THE organic fabric certification 2. It's expensive!
Why is this important? Well, remember "organic" food before the NOP logo? That's the stage we are in now and certification is an important step in keeping organic fabrics authentic and easily identifiable to the end consumer. We feel strongly that this step not only supports our customers but the organic fiber world as a whole.
The journey continues. To stay informed on a more day-to-day basis please "like" us on Facebook and watch our News page.
Thanks for being a part of this evolution.
As of today, December 28, 2011, Harmony Art organic design is officially certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards! Next week will mark our 7th anniversary as a strictly organic fabric company, and I can't imagine a better present. It's been a journey and it still continues but I wanted to take a minute to share this BIG news with you. Thanks for all the love and support along the way.
Last week I flew to the Carolinas to visit my warehouse and to be there for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) inspection. As you may have read in this post, Harmony Art has applied for GOTS certification through OneCert.
Above is a picture of our fabric stored at our warehouse in Starr, South Carolina. We have been using the same warehouse for several years now and it has been wonderful. Peggy (who handles shipping my rolls) is a real gem! The shipments are tracked and shipped in a timely and thoughtful manner. I feel incredibly happy to have them on the Harmony Art team.
Karlin was the certifier from OneCert who met us at the warehouse. The inspection took 3.5 hours. I knew Peggy and Michael kept a clean and well organized system so I was not at all surprised when in the exit interview under the section: Inspection Observations and Issues of Concern Karlin wrote, "Facility found to be very clean and records were organized and easy to trace. No issues of concern."
What happens now? Well, it's a bit of a waiting game. Karlin will submit her report and someone else at OneCert will review it for approval. I am told this process will take 2-3 weeks. My fingers are crossed that we will be able to start the new year with Harmony Art being officially GOTS certified. Stay tuned. I promise to keep you posted.
NOTE: If you are in need of a good warehouse in the south, feel free to contact me. They still have room for a few more customers and as you can guess I would highly recommend them!
When I launched Harmony Art Organic Design in January 2005, I was looking to create a business (really a job) for myself in my field (textile design) that I could feel good about. Reality was that in 2005 there were no fabric companies making organic cotton prints. Oh sure, there were a few pioneering companies like Patagonia and Green Babies that were making clothing using organic cotton printed fabrics but unless you were big enough to do your own production runs (1,000 + yards), you had no selection. This left small businesses and home sewers virtually without any organic fabric options beyond beige, oatmeal or granola. It also left this textile designer with next to no job opportunities beyond the toxic traditional ones.
In 2005, there were over 40 eco-textile standards to choose from. (Talk about confusing!) The OTA was writing their own Fiber Processing Standard and since then have worked collaboratively to develop the Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS. Just last month the USDA's NOP program acknowledged and ok'd the use of GOTS for textiles labelled as organic. (THIS IS BIG NEWS!)
What started as a quest for a job I could feel proud of, became a vision/mission to change the way textiles were produced. I wanted to help move the textile business from being one of THE MOST TOXIC industries to one of the most thoughtful. To that end, I would need many more companies to embrace organics!
Six and 1/2 years later... I am proud and honored and encouraged to report that indeed the textile industry has caught on! No longer alone, many independent organic fabric companies (Mod Green Pod, Oliveira Textiles, Cloud9, Daisy Janie, Birch Fabrics, etc) have started and with this spring's Quilt Market even the biggest names in quilting fabrics have joined the organic fabric team. Large fabric companies like Rowan, Clothworks, Robert Kaufman, and Michael Miller have released printed organics. Even the amazing and oh-so-popular and lovely Amy Butler has released an organic cotton collection. Quilt Market's latest trend report highlighted organic fabric's proliferation. Over the years, I have spoken directly or indirectly to just about every one of these companies and designers. I've watched it all and personally participated in much of it.
It is safe to say that organic fabric is no longer just shades of oatmeal and granola! Although still a small fraction of the conventional cotton being produced, organic fabrics are no longer fringe. They are a force (much bigger than me) to be reckoned with. It's been an honor and a privilege to be a part of this movement. It's been exciting and thrilling to watch it grow and expand. Thank you to each and every one of you who has understood, purchased, supported, encouraged, challenged and embraced this journey. Without a doubt it has been the people along the way that have made this movement happen. I am just one small part. I think collectively we have much to be proud of.
What do you think? Is the mission accomplished? Is it time for a new goal? I'd love to get your perspective either through this blog publicly or privately by phone or email. I look forward to your feedback.
With sincere gratitude,
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.