Introducing my exclusive ElanaLoo x Fair Seas Supply Co. Collection of organic cotton, sustainably made turkish towels!!! We created this collection slowly and methodically with heart. By mindfully choosing recycled and organic materials and eliminating plastic from production to packaging, our intention is to help you tread lighter and equip you with something that will last.
You may have seen these turkish towels in my stories + images over the past month or so as they’ve been my travel companion since the day they arrived – I hope they’ll be the same for you! We are excited to share with you two sustainably made, organic cotton styles: The Kai + The Kona!
The Kai means “sea” in Hawaiian. Our oceans are my teacher, where I feel most alive and most calm simultaneously. With plastic washing up on our shores, it shares stories of our choices and their importance. And out in the deep, I learn empathy and love for the creatures who call it home.
The Kona is named after where we reside in Hawai’i nei, the place that welcomed me to slow down and savor life, teaching me what is really, truly important.
So with the launch of the collection, I wanted to unpack everything that makes these turkish towels really special. From our initial call about this collection, we were finding solutions to avoid plastic, making sure to use recycled and organic materials and keeping our earth in the forefront of our decisions.
It was quite the learning experience navigating what product-based businesses have to consider whenever sharing a collection with the world! I want to share that process with you and include some of the decisions we made in hopes that you’ll incorporate them into your business and consider these when purchasing.
What does creating a “sustainable line” really mean?
As I’ve shared before: sustainability, in terms of human existence, is multi-faceted and isn’t a one solution fix. Sustaining a very large population on a planet with limited resources comes down to us needing to re-educate ourselves and become connected with the earth we live on again.
– the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
– avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
The goal of sustainable fashion specifically is to reduce the harm to the environment caused by creation and distribution, to reduce the amount of waste, to prolong the lifecycle of materials, to increase the value of locally created products and to increase the value of timeless garments.
We are becoming more conscious of the vulnerability of our planet, our health, our social well-being and the consequence of our actions on the wellness of the next generations. As a direct result of our consciousness, a shift is happening across all industries, forcing innovation and demanding restorative, regenerative practices to be at the forefront of a businesses’ mission.
Sadly, the apparel industry’s production involves massive amounts of toxic waste and harmful environmental effects in all stages which makes the development of sustainable fashion not only an opportunity to captivate this large group of conscious consumers but also an absolute necessity.
I think it’s naïve to hope that humans will stop buying right this moment. It’s too deeply ingrained in our society that material goods = status or happiness or whatever people think. Through education though, we are proving that we can buy smarter and buy better and most importantly, buy less.
But, on the contrary, it is not naïve to think that we as individuals and we as businesses can do better. It’s not naïve to think that industries can change and adapt. It has happened, it’s currently happening and it will continue to happen. Businesses play a HUGE role in this and people that support those business also have huge impact.
We must hold businesses accountable. Educate ourselves. Be mindful of our impact.
Eliminating Plastic From Production, Packaging + Shipping
My first question for the Fair Seas Supply Co. founder was – what is our plan for the packaging/shipping? They were already dedication to a sustainably made, quality product but I needed to communicate the importance of not using any single use plastics anywhere in the production line or distribution.
At that time, they were using a recyclable plastic bag to package all roundie and turkish towels. My argument against this is that we can’t control what happens to something once it’s out of our hands – we can’t guarantee that customers will place that plastic in the recycling bin nor can we guarantee that it would actually get recycled. Sadly, 91% of the plastic ever created hasn’t been recycled. It’s still on this earth either in landfill or in our oceans.
We decided to eliminate the ‘recyclable’ plastic bags from their production line, starting with our ElanaLoo x Fair Seas collection, and opt for a reusable organic cotton drawstring bag which can be reused time and time again. Personally, I reuse these bags all the time for produce, shopping in bulk, buying bread, etc.
Many business owners are worried about the effect of buying sustainable materials will have on their bottom line. I totally understand that but also don’t think most business owners realize that it’s not that large of a gap. We completely debunked this worry. In an effort to be transparent, it was only $1.15 extra for the organic cotton bags and about 15% more for organic yarn compared to traditional. These little changes have HUGE impact on our planet and in our lives.
A recent study showed that 60% of consumers are willing to pay more for a sustainably made, organic product so you are delivering what people want. You can simply increase your price by less than $5 and completely cover these much needed, important changes.
With our turkish towel collection, we chose to keep our towels at a fair price and something very comparable to non-organic, not sustainably made products on the market because we don’t believe this is a luxury, we think this should be the standard.
For sustainably made, compostable/biodegradable options, look into these companies:
Why Organic Cotton?
I want to focus on the effect traditional cotton has on the planet and the people involved to share the importance of organic cotton in contrast.
Traditional Cotton’s Effect On Our Planet
Water Consumption + Chemicals
Cotton is the thirstiest crop in the world. It requires a shocking 2,700 litres of water to produce a single t-shirt! To put that outrageous figure into perspective, that’s enough water for one person to drink for 900 days.
On top of the insane amount of use of water, the production of conventional cotton uses 16% of the world’s insecticides; more than any other crop in the world. Pesticides and insecticides infect local waterways, destroy the environment, harm animals and contaminate food and water supplies from runoff. Toxic pesticides and insecticides are linked to many birth defects, diseases and terminal illnesses including cancer.
People still hand-pick cotton in many developing countries. In countries like Uzbekistan and India, it is usually children who do this backbreaking work, taking them away from pursuing a life-changing education while running the risk of injury and illness.
Welcome The Alternative: Organic Cotton
Organic cotton, if sustainably and ethically produced, is a lovely alternative to conventional cotton (as is linen, hemp and other organic fibers). It does not require pesticides or toxic chemicals to grow, making it a much better alternative to traditional or GMO cotton. Organic cotton also uses less energy and water than traditional cotton.
Chemical-free agricultural land even stays fertile much longer than land which is damaged by constant use of pesticides which means that most organic cotton farmers have a longer cotton commodity lifespan than otherwise.
The benefits are clear. Avoiding pesticides and insecticides means:
- That the health of workers improves dramatically
- Communities can live in relative health with access to clean water and food supplies
- Land unaltered by chemicals has a longer lifespan
- We cannot be harmed by these chemicals as customers
These are the reasons why this is so important for Fair Seas to use organic cotton for the turkish towels they create. Look for brands certified with GOTS (see more below why this is important).
Organic Cotton Difference in Turkish Towels
“We love the beach so much, we want to help protect it.”
– Tiffany Shown, Founder
Since it’s creation in 2015, Fair Seas Supply Co. has let their values influence their actions. By using organic cotton, grown without pesticides and insecticides and with less water than traditional cotton, they have chosen the more regenerative, sustaining option.
The organic cotton sourced for their towels is from the Aegean region in Turkey. Cotton from this area has extra long fibers, making it much more durable and long-lasting. With each wash, your towel will get softer and more absorbent. These turkish towels are more lightweight than a terry cloth towel and will dry much faster.
As always, if you want to have a better impact on the people involved and the planet, I recommend buying less and buying better quality that will last years and years.
Our production partner for the ElanaLoo x Fair Seas turkish towels collection is GOTS certified as is Fair Seas Supply Co. themselves! This certification not only ensures chemical-free materials but also ensures good working conditions at the factory level!
What is GOTS?
GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard and is the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers, such as cotton. Their vision is for organic textiles to become a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people’s lives and the environment.
GOTS covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of textiles. Only products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers can become GOTS certified. Here’s an infographic to understand more.
So what environmental and social criteria does GOTS look at?
- All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meet basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability
- Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
- Packaging material must not contain PVC
- Raw materials, intermediates and final textile products must meet stringent waste limits
- Working conditions must be safe and hygienic – sounds very basic but is important!
- No discrimination in the workplace
- Working hours are not excessive and pay rates must be fair
We as consumers are increasingly looking for products that are better for them and for the environment. The search for ‘organic’ products began in the food industry and is now reaching the fashion industry, with more and more brands starting to offer organic options.
Although using the word ‘organic’ can be in incredibly persuasive: beware of greenwashing and of fashion brands claiming to ‘do better’ when they are still not addressing other vital issues. Looking for the GOTS certification can be a great identifier because they have very specific, high standards for businesses who apply.
It was awesome witnessing and hearing about Fair Sea’s experience with this. They had a lot of hoops to jump through but are still over-the-moon thrilled that they decided to get certified!
In conclusion, here’s what we outlined as important to us in this collection:
- Using only organic fabric materials for both the towels and the bags they come in
- Eliminating all plastic from production and distribution
- Using only recycled and biodegradable packaging
- Getting GOTS certified – both our production partner + Fair Seas Supply Co.
- Ensuring safe and positive working conditions for those the husband and wife team who are creating the towels with us