I actually have three long-sleeved, white cotton shirts in my closet currently. I love the feel of cotton, the breathable aspect of the fabric, especially as I live in a very warm climate, and I love the versatility of the long sleeves. You can button them and pull up the cuffs, or unbutton the cuffs and roll them up. In cooler weather, you can obviously wear the sleeves down.
Lately though, I have been doing a little bit of research regarding the sustainability of cotton. It is a natural fiber, and it does biodegrade after time (as sometimes, chemicals can be used in the process of creating the fiber). However, from planting to harvesting, enormous amounts of water is used. Even when growing cotton organically, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, the amount of water is astronomical, and that sort of makes this fiber a less sustainable option than other natural fibers available.
Because of our focus in 2020 to be more focused on Slow Fashion, I want to be more aware of the clothes I bring into my closet. This is not only looking at how much I buy and trying as far as possible, to avoid fast fashion, but also taking into consideration the fibers used to create the garment, and the process taken from start to finish of a particular garment.
Hence my research on linen. I found out that linen is grown from the flax plant. It was the first fiber ever to be woven into fabric! And that was long before fast fashion, so it caught my attention. As it’s grown, it does not need to be irrigated. Yay! That’s a win already. The process taken to create the fiber is the fiber is combed from the stalk and then spun into yarn. This process is what makes the fiber quite a luxury feel. If left untreated, this fiber is also completely biodegradable. Check! It is a strong fiber, and is long-wearing. Another win! I want to keep clothes for longer. When organically grown, no pesticides are used. Yet another win! The workers aren’t harmed and any run-off doesn’t harm the environment.
For those of you who have been following MSJ for a while, will know I shop off a list. On that list, is a white, button-down linen shirt. When I find the right one, I will replace my cotton one. I won’t just be throwing my cotton one away. It will go into our store: Belle Whimsy, (https://www.instagram.com/belle_whimsyclothing/) as it is still in great condition. Someone else can love it and appreciate it, keeping it in the cycle for longer.
I will definitely keep you updated as to whether I find my shirt or not. Watch this space.