We have just launched Gaia – a new model we are especially proud of.
It brings us closer to the dream of a fully natural and transparent production with its undyed, water-efficient, organic cotton uppers, embroidered eyelets and certified natural rubber soles.
We have had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of our partner Organic Cotton Colors to find out more about how they are able to create undyed fabrics with beautiful colors, while avoiding chemicals and promoting water-saving agriculture, how they care for the planet and the challenges that come from such a specific and increasingly popular textile production.
- Could you please tell us a little about Organic Cotton Colors and your team?
We are a company that focuses on the production and commerce of organic cotton in natural colors. Our approach is based on the production of cotton in off white, brown and green without the use of artificial coloring.
We work in close collaboration with family farms in Northeastern Brazil, where cotton is grown through regenerative agriculture. Our main goal is to promote sustainable agriculture practices, preserve the local biodiversity and support the communities.
At Organic Cotton Colors we are lucky to have a team that is deeply passionate for the project, and we believe that it is that passion that drives the project forward and allows us to attain the goals we have set for ourselves, with each member contributing in their own areas.
- How was Organic Cotton Colors born? What is your motivation?
About 30 years ago, we had the idea to start making and selling our own products under the same values that still guide us today to not dye or print our articles, and to provide clothing for a particular and often underappreciated group – people suffering from dermatitis, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and which do not tolerate certain toxins on their skin, but which are still present in many clothing items, even when crafted from natural fibers like cotton.
Our aim is to provide comfort and wellbeing to people wearing clothing items directly against their skin, from underwear, to socks, t-shirts and beyond.
- What are the biggest issues related to traditional cotton and what do you do differently?
Our differentiation as a company comes from always using our own material. We work closely with trusted suppliers in every step of production that are aligned with our values, and most of all, do what they do best. We are the link between all stages of production and we own the whole process, which allows us to provide fully transparent and trackable products, which adds value to our project.
- Do you have more than one type of cotton? Can you explain the difference?
We work with the best quality cotton, from our own organic plantations of undyed fabrics in Brazil, to our regenerative GOTS-certified cotton from Turkey, and as new addition for this year, organic regenerative cotton from Egypt, which has Fair Trade, GOTS, Demeter and other certifications.
- Why are some species more rare than others?
The rarity of a cotton species may be caused by many factors, from geographic availability to its adaptation to environmental conditions to its market demand and its growth history.
- Why is your cotton different from other suppliers?
Cotton has been growing naturally in a variety of colors for thousands of years. What we do is preserve the variety of naturally colored cotton, avoiding any genetic engineering or modifications, as well as dyeing processes, which are highly pollutant.
- Can you explain a little about your planting, spinning, weaving and manufacturing processes?
The production of organic cotton starts with preparation for plantation using organic methods and processes to combat weeds and plagues such as using organic compost, species rotation and biologic control. The seeds are sown in the appropriate season, usually Spring, and the plants are cared for as they grow.
Once the cotton plants have matured, it’s time to collect the cotton fibers, which for Organic Cotton Colors is primarily a manual process, as we hope to ensure the quality of the fibers and minimize losses due to mishandling in this phase.
After being collected, the cotton capsules go through a ginning process, in which seeds and fibers are separated. This can be done manually or by machine, and the result is the raw cotton which includes both long and short fibers.
The next stage is spinning, where the fibers are transformed into threads. We use combers to eliminate the largest possible number of short fibers and impurities. This is done to ensure the regularity of the threads so we can achieve better, more uniform texture, resistance and rugosity. The final results are brilliant, thin and soft threads.
Then we move on to weaving in looms, where the fabrics are created. We are able to create various kinds of fabrics with different properties, densities and patterns as desired.
Finally, it is time to transform the fabrics into clothing and other textiles. At Organic Cotton Colors we only work with trusted and ethical brands for this final step.
- How does OCC contribute to the local community, economy and sustainability?
The OCCGuarantee® project is completely innovative and unlike any others in Brazil. It allows us to always work with the same farmers. The number of families we reach grows every year, and we like to provide them with stability, so that they feel part of a bigger project and so we can avoid price inflation, which is very common in this industry, which many companies take advantage of, not compensating the farmers properly.
- What are your brand goals?
We aim to:
Preserve and promote the natural colors of cotton
Contribute to people’s health.
To generate the biggest positive social impact possible through our regenerative agriculture projects that attest our commitment to sustainable and ethical practices.
At Organic Cotton Colors we aim to make products that not only benefit our clients, but also make a positive impact in the world. We provide growth, spinning as well as weaving of organic cotton threads, manufacturing of fabrics and finished products using natural and ethical techniques that promote a better future for all.
It was a pleasure to learn more about Organic Cotton Colors and their processes. Our new model Gaia, which features their natural colored cotton, is now available for Spring/Summer 2023.