We’ve made a commitment at Moonbird to only produce our garments in an ethical, sustainable way with fair treatment for everyone involved along their journey. Our goal is to use our business as a force for good.
The first important step in this journey was ensuring we sourced organic cotton.
Our cotton garments are made using 100% certified organic cotton. Our jersey tops (Tees, singlets etc) are 95% cotton and 5% lycra. We tried 100% cotton jersey but found that it didn’t hold its shape very well and wasn’t quite as comfortable. By adding a small amount of lycra we improved the stretchy comfortness and provided more shape stability. The addition of lycra also makes the garment last longer and as we believe in sustainability over fast fashion, we felt the trade off was worth it. You can expect your Moonbird garment to last season after season.
Moonbird fabrics are produced in India. All the dyes we use are within the GOTS approved certification rules and printed by hand. They are AZO free, colour-fast and environmentally friendly. We do not allow flame retardants or chemical finishers like formaldehyde to be used in any way.
Why is Organic Better?
Organic Cotton is not grown from genetically modified (GM) seeds and no pesticides or fertilizers are used during the growing cycle.
The two largest producers of conventional cotton are China and India where the cotton industry likely accounts for 50% of the countries pesticide use. A large amount of cotton is still hand picked and accidental pesticide poisoning is common among farmers and their families. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 20,000 people die 'each year' due to pesticide poisoning. Pesticides are expensive and farmers often have to borrow money in order to afford them. The only people available to lend this kind of money are often ‘loan sharks’ whose conditions include exceptionally high repayments. If there are any issues with the crop, the farmer may be left with such insurmountable debt that they take their own lives. Since 1995, 270,000 cotton farmers in India have committed suicide.
The use of GM seeds is seen as predominantly responsible for this epidemic. If you were a farmer and you were told that buying a GM seed would result in your crop making more money, you'd be happy right? Well, so they were.
When the GM seeds were launched in India, they were sold with a promise that they would lead to a decrease in pests because the seed had been modified to be resistant to the cotton bollworm. The farmers were told repeatedly and confidently that they wouldn’t have to spray any more With the cotton bollworm no longer an issue, crop yields would increase and pesticides would no longer be needed. Unfortunately, this isn’t what happened. The bollworm started to develop a resistance, plus one study (by Cornell Researchers) in 2006, proved that secondary pests which were normally controlled by pesticide had actually increased, requiring the use of pesticides at similar levels to non GM seeds. In reality the farmer is now making less profit than before GM seeds were introduced. They have to buy expensive pesticides plus expensive seeds and they have to do it every year because Monsanto has genetically modified the seed so it does not reproduce. This means the farmers have to keep coming back to buy more seed each year as they’re unable to self seed from the original crop. You could call it genius or you could call it something else.....
Did you know that the pesticides used while growing conventional cotton can cause skin irritations and are also carcinogenic?
Did you know that flame retardants used on non organic clothing have been shown in many studies to be linked to infertility, birth defects, lower IQ, and breast cancer?
Did you know that formaldehyde is often used as a chemical finisher, on non organic clothes, to prevent mould during transportation and to assist with crease prevention? Formaldehyde, even in small amounts on textiles, is known to cause eye and sinus irritation along with skin rashes. People who have a history of allergies may have more serious reactions.
There is a reason that the rates of allergy, childhood health and behavioural issues are increasing exponentially. Countless studies have linked health issues with the toxic chemicals we’re exposing ourselves to from our clothes and in the environments which we live. Globally at this stage, most governments are being resistant to taking a strong position on these issues. Europe has banned many chemicals that are still freely allowed within Australia and the USA. Our skin is the largest organ our body has and it absorbs everything we put on it. That’s why at Moonbird we feel it's better to be safe than sorry and we refuse to use any chemical that isn’t on the approved list for the GOTS certification process.
5 Additional Reasons Why Organic is Better:
- It allows the farmers to make enough money to live on, by reducing their expenses and providing a 20% premium on their sales.
- It eliminates toxins from our environment, meaning it’s better for farmers, better for animals and better for us.
- Diversity allows farmers to grow food crops to feed themselves. Conventional cotton is grown as a monoculture, meaning it’s the only crop grown. Farmers are unable to grow food in the same soil because the cotton pesticides are so toxic. Farmers have to buy their own food, rather than having the ability to be self-sufficient.
- Organic cotton is often rain-fed, not irrigated as in conventional cotton farming and therefore it uses less water.
- By eliminating the use of pesticides and fertilizers the process of growing organic cotton produces 94% less greenhouse gas emissions.