THE NATURAL FIBERS THAT WE USE
ORGANIC COTTON – It was during the fifteenth century that the great potential of southern Chinese cotton came to be widely cultivated and textile industries flourished. Cotton is a unique crop in that it is both a food and a fiber.
MERINO WOOL – Domesticated for nearly 12,000 years, sheep wool is a unique natural fiber that comes in a variety of textures and weights. Most of all, wool is comfortable, with excellent insulating ability to keep you warm or repel heat in warm environments.
CASHMERE – This fiber is so luxurious that the Arc of the Covenant of the old testament was lined and curtained with it. Sixty percent of the world’s supply of cashmere is produced in China.
SILK – The coveted secret of silkworm cultivation began in China over 5,000 years ago and was once used as the primary currency for commercial trade between Asia and Europe. The strongest protein fiber for its weight; silk is stretchy, resilient, breathable and warm.
LINEN – One of the most natural and environmentally friendly fibers in the world. Linen is a renewable resource: every part of the flax plant is used in textile & paper industries, oil paints, soap, & food. A pure product of nature, linen is a strong, luxurious fabric that feels great against the skin.
RAMIE – A bast fiber used in China and Southeast Asia for thousands of years, ramie is strong, lustrous and silky with qualities similar to hemp. Ramie is also known as China-grass, rhea and grasscloth.
HEMP – The oldest cultivated fiber plant known, hemp has a history of use in textiles and fabrics dating back as far as 8000 B.C. The reasons for hemp’s continued popularity throughout the years are still applicable today and are the basis for the renewed interest in cultivation and use.
TENCEL – A cellulosic fiber made from wood pulp, tencel is produced by a special solvent-spinning process using a non-toxic solvent that is 99% recoverable and recyclable.With all the characteristics of a luxury fiber, Tencel has exceptional strength, fluid drape and the luster of silk.
SOY – Cultivated in China before 3000 B.C., soy was classified as one of the five sacred crops. Used years ago by Henry Ford to make a wool-like fabric that once upholstered the seats of his cars and fuel, soy has also been used for plastic, paint and ink, and now clothing.
BAMBOO – Although bamboo is just grass, the plants can grow to giant-sized timber bamboos that exceed 100 feet. In many parts of the world, bamboo is used for food, fodder, construction material and a wide variety of useful objects from kitchen tools to paper products.
RECYCLED H2O BOTTLES – With a growing concern for waste reduction, consumers have started the PET plastic recycling process, beginning with curbside recycling bins. Now those bottles are being processed into fiber to make yarns and textiles.
Frequently asked questions:
1. In what country or countries are your fibers cultivated?
All fibers are from Mainland China. This reduces carbon emissions by avoiding the shipment of fiber from other countries into China for textile and garment production.
2. In what country or countries are your clothes and or accessories manufactured?
All production takes place in Mainland China. This reduces emissions by avoiding shipment of finished textiles to other countries for production.
3. Where does production take place?
Production takes place in the actual factories; no work is jobbed out to individual homes where work conditions and child labor is very difficult to monitor.
4. Please describe the working conditions.
Factories have modern machinery, proper lighting, clean drinking water, good food and clean restrooms and are either newly built or in the process of expansion or building new factories. All factories are ISO certified meeting national and international work condition criteria. Factory workers must be of 18 years to work in the industry. OSL farms and factories do not use child labor.
5. How do you maintain contact with your producers and how often do you visit them?
OSL has full time Chinese speaking staff living full time in Mainland China. The production team visits all processing farms and factories throughout the year, maintaining guidelines and carrying out inspections. Since 1997 the current President and CEO has spent over 3 years in China monitoring all production facilities evaluating the criteria of work conditions and sustainable practices.
6. If an hourly wage is applicable to production, how does that rate compare to (a) the national minimum wage, (b) a “Living Wage”?
Factories are in compliance with national wage guidelines, which offers a base salary considered “living wage” with incentive to make more by productivity, which will allow workers to make up to 20% above the “living wage”.
7. Do you have a contract/agreement with your producers? Do they receive training, bonuses, dividends or opportunities for advancement?
OSL maintains contracts with all farms, spinners, producers and factories. Workers receive training, incentives & opportunities for advancement.
8. What are the health and environmental concerns associated with the production process? How are they being addressed?
Instead of conventional cotton…we use organic cotton
Instead of AZO chemical dyes…we use low impact AZO-free fiber reactive dyes
Instead of plastic buttons…we use tagua nut buttons and shell buttons
Instead of plastic tags…we use twine
Instead of chlorine bleach…we use hydrogen peroxide
Instead of formaldehyde…we use nothing
Instead of tree paper…we use recycled paper
Instead of tree cardboard…we use recycled card board
www.oftheearth.com 877.683.4367 of the earth -farm to fashion-
1. Is your cotton organic?
All the cotton used in the OSL product line is certified organic by a third party certifying company that is NOP USDA and EU standard approved.
2. What part of the hemp plant is used?
The inside of the stock of the plant is broken down with low impact solvents to create long fibers that are spun into yarn.
3. What part of the soy is used to make fiber?
The non-GMO bean is pressed into food grade oil. The left over cake is processed into an isolated soy protein which is spun with a low impact, biodegradable alcohol to create an ‘eco-poly’ yarn.
4. How do they process bamboo?
The inside of the stock is spun with a low impact, biodegradable alcohol to create an ‘eco-poly’ yarn.
5. Why do you use Spandex?
We are using spandex in our active wear and fashion collection to offer stretch in all the right places making the garment more comfortable. OSL is in the process of seeking out lower impact fiber that can give the same results as spandex.
6. What is Ramie?
Ramie is a grass fiber similar to hemp and linen and is processed in the same way.
7. What is your dye process?
We use low impact AZO-free fiber reactive dye in dye factories that have state of the art dying equipment that cleans the water prior to returning to the water table.
8. Are the silk worms used?
Yes, silk worms are used and harvested in the process of obtaining silk, these worms are then used for food. OSL is looking for a vegan process to silk.
9. Are all of your fibers organic?
The organic cotton and merino wool for 2007 season are certified. All other fibers are naturally grown or eco textiles. OSL is in the process of obtaining organic certification for all fibers cultivated or low impact certificate of processing of eco-fibers.
10. Is the denim rinse eco?
Currently we are using the lowest impact process developed for denim production. OSL is looking at even more eco certificates for finishing of all textiles and is constantly pushing the envelope in this area of production.