I was chatting with an editor at Refinery29 some weeks ago, and she said, “You know what I want to know? Why organic t-shirts are so expensive.”
So I went to find out. The result is this story for Refinery29, where I talk to Rhett Godfrey of the organic t-shirt company Loomstate:
Searching for a basic tee? Forever 21 has a relaxed-fit one for $6.80, Gap does it for $20, and you could get another at Nordstrom for $18. Or, you could get this organic-cotton tee from Loomstate for a cool $40.
Yo, why the price markup? It should be said that this is by no means the most expensive white tee out there (just peruse the likes of rag & bone or Theory). But, since everyone seems baffled by having to pay much more for organic clothing, we decided to settle the question once and for all. Why is that organic cotton T-shirt so expensive?
We talked to Rhett Godfrey, the coordinator of sustainability initiatives at Loomstate, who shared with us what goes into his company’s typical organic-cotton tee. “It’s labor. That’s the answer,” Godfrey says. “The majority of the price increase occurs at the farm. And, it’s mainly because of weeds.”
At a conventional farm, crops are sprayed with pesticides to suppress weeds and pests. This is a problem. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, pesticides are a factor in an estimated 1 to 5 million poisoning cases each year across all agricultural sectors, which results in 20,000 reported deaths. And, cotton production especially requires high amounts of the toxic chemicals, accounting for an approximated 16% of the world’s pesticide use …
Read the rest at Refinery29, and make sure to share the R29 story and/or leave a comment on the story there. (Because the better it does, the more encouraged R29 will feel about covering these sustainable fashion topics!)