Skip to main content
Natural Colour Cotton. What exactly is it?

Natural Colour Cotton. What exactly is it?

Fashion is probably the least transparent and most filthy industry, people & chemical-wise on the planet. But there are some exceptions. Natural Colour Cotton is one of them

One of life's great mysteries is the question of just how organic do you have to be to say you’re organic? The answer of course is 'it depends' and there is no simple answer. 

Fibre for Good's Carl Ludwig and Fiona Su make their garments with one of the only true organic cottons on the planet and the key reason they can claim that is because they don't need to use chemicals to create or manipulate the fibre. 

Fibre for Good produces and sells 100% organic, 100% chemical free, 100% biodegradable cotton babywear that uses up to 90% less water to produce than comparable commercially produced cotton garments. It is also softer. In fact, super-soft – think cashmere – and naturally hypoallergenic.

How do you make cotton without chemicals?

It's hard to conceive how some kind of chemical does not come into play with a cotton - like bleaches or dyes, for example, but Fibre for Good's cotton garments are Organic Natural Colour Cotton (ONCC). The cotton actually grows in three colours – Winter White, Wheat or Sage. It is quite literally picked, rinsed once after picking and spun into cloth. Regardless of whether a cloth is dyed with chemical or natural dyes, it needs to be prepared and then made colourfast with chemicals. We don’t need to do any of that, because the colour of our cotton is imprinted in the cells.

How organically does it grow?

Our particular cotton comes exclusively from Northern China, in a region where cotton has been traded via the famous Silk Road since 200BC. Natural Colour Cotton farmers have been growing cotton here for 13 generations, passing on regenerative techniques from father to child. They rotate crops and use their livestock to help manage pests and fertilise the soil, maintaining the health of the soil and locking in CO2. After they harvest the cotton, they separate the seeds and use them to grow the next crop, as they have done for thousands of years. 100% plant equals 100% biodegradable.

How does up to 90% less water use work?

Commercially grown cotton tends to need a lot of irrigation. Natural Colour Cotton is an ancient, drought tolerant variety of cotton, from a very arid region of the world. It hardly ever rains where it grows, and farmers use water from equally ancient aquifers only if necessary. We only wash the fibre after harvest, because it doesn’t need dying, therefore it requires no rinsing before and after dying or when making it colour fast.

It is through this method that up to 90% of water can be saved when comparing to commercially made cotton (BCI or Cotton Connect)  products. For example, a Natural Colour Cotton Romper requires 506 litres of water to produce. The same item in commercially grown cotton (GMO) requires 1688 litres . The water saving is approximately 1181 litres which is enough water to hydrate an adult for 319 days. If you then take this example to something like our Hospital bag, which contains 15 essential items the water saving is enough to hydrate and adult for 12 years.

Comparative water saving

Is organic natural cotton really softer?

The cotton in most commercially made garments is modified to produce higher yields and whiter fibres, however these modifications also reduce the natural softness of the cotton. The super softness of ONCC is due to its hollow core, which is able to absorb moisture and breathe. Minimal processing allows it to retain that softness plus natural hypoallergenic and anti-static properties, making it super-soft and healthier to wear.

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below: