You've probably heard the word "GOTS" and "OEKO-TEX" thrown around in the fabric world but what do these standards mean and is it important? Some of my customers have taken initiative to find out what it's about but many are unaware of why it's important for fabrics to hold certification such as GOTS and OEKO-TEX. If you sew for yourself, family or friends and passionate about learning more about the textiles you're using then read on.
The simplest way to explain it is they are standards that is managed by individual organisations which is recognised worldwide in the textile industry.
GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the world's leading textile processing standard when it comes to organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria.
In order to be certified, textiles must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic natural fibres. All chemical inputs such as dyes and auxiliaries used must meet a set of environmental and toxicological criteria along with waste water management treatment plan for any wet processing involved. The choice of accessories is limited in accordance with ecological aspects.
A textile product that is carrying the GOTS label "organic" must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibre where a product carrying the GOTS label "made with organic" must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibre.
GOTS certification covers the whole textile process include fair labour practices (no child labour!) and the assurance that there is no known toxic substances used as part of the manufacturing process and therefore safe for humans.
OEKO-TEX - Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX
The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used.
To obtain a OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, the textile needs to be free from more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health. The standard takes into account the following:
- Legal regulations, such as banned AZO colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel etc
- Other harmful chemicals that are not yet legally regulated
- Requirements of Annexes XVII and XIV of the European Chemicals Regulation REACh as well as the ECHA SVHC Candidate List
- Requirements from the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regarding lead.
- Numerous environmentally relevant substance classes
So, The Difference?
GOTS is a global certification that covers "organic" textiles while OEKO-TEX covers "organic and non organic" textiles. Both have strict testing standards in place. If a product holds a GOTS or OEKO-TEX certification you can be confident that the manufacturer has taken additional steps to put their product through testing to ensure it's as safe as can be at the time of testing.
Before having children my textile knowledge was limited and I wasn't aware of the environmental and potential health impact it has. If I saw a pretty garment I bought it without a second thought. After giving birth to my daughter in 2010 everything changed, I became a stay at home mum with too much time on my hands and the internet became my best friend.
Slowly I introduced cloth nappies into our daily routine (sudden I became passionate about my environmental footprint) and went on to integrate other environmentally friendly house hold items into our lives. It was during my cloth nappy making days that I really dived into the world of textiles. I learned about different fibre contents, the manufacturing process and it wasn't until I started making clothes for my first born that I started learning more about safety and sustainability.
Fast forward a few years and voila.
My love for learning and textile sees me running a small fabric business selling ethical knit and woven fabrics. Based on what I've learned I only source fabrics from reputable suppliers who are also passionate about protecting our environment and ensuring fabric is manufactured to the highest quality.
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