Located in a refurbished Verizon facility in Fairfax, VA, close to our country’s capital, OTA member company MetaWear has launched the first GOTS-certified ethical manufacturing and dye factory in the United States.
This cutting-edge solar- and geothermal-powered manufacturing facility provides cutting, sewing, dyeing and screen-printing to produce certified organic cotton T-shirts.
Using seaweed-based inks and paying its staff a livable wage, the MetaWear operation was recently certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the world’s platinum standard for the processing of organic textiles.
“MetaWear is extremely proud to be paving the way for today’s U.S. textile industry. We adhere to the most stringent global processing standards, and offer earth-conscious, socially responsible and screen-printed apparel—perfect for promoting companies’ brands and messages,” says Marci Zaroff, ECOfashion pioneer and MetaWear co-founder and President.
GOTS—the textile industry’s counterpart to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic food standard—covers the growing, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading and distribution of all textiles made with at least 70 percent certified organic fiber. As with organic food standards, a textile product carrying the GOTS Organic seal must contain a minimum of 95 percent certified organic fibers, while one with the “made with organic” label must contain a minimum of 70 percent certified organic fiber. GOTS-certified textiles must be produced without toxic and persistent pesticides, GMOs, formaldehyde, chlorine bleaches, heavy metals or other chemicals detrimental to humans and the environment but typically used in conventional cotton t-shirts and textiles.
MetaWear uses Fair Trade-certified organic cotton to produce promotional custom T-shirts for men and women. In addition, it uses “Seaink,” a proprietary dye process that uses a seaweed-derived base.
“With Seaink, MetaWear can avoid the harmful impact of standard dyes without sacrificing color vibrancy,” according to CAS Shiver, MetaWear co-founder and technical mastermind behind the ink development as well as the solar and geothermal energy practices used for the operation.
In addition to being GOTs-certified, MetaWear produced the world’s first Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) Certified fashion T-shirt for lifestyle brand Under the Canopy, also founded by Zaroff. It was unveiled at the Cradle-to-Cradle Innovation Institute’s recent Fashion Positive launch. C2C certification focuses on material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social justice.
GOTS facilities grew by 18% in 2014
The number of facilities worldwide certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) grew by more than 18 percent in 2014, from 3,085 to 3,663. GOTS certified facilities are now located in 64 countries around the globe.
GOTS is recognized worldwide as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. Growth is evenly spread across all market segments, including mass market and big brands. GOTS certification allows consumers to purchase items certified organic from field to finished product.
Countries with the greatest increase in GOTS certification during 2014 were India (+388), Bangladesh (+89), Germany (+32), Turkey (+21), and China (+18).
The top 15 countries with the highest number of GOTS certified facilities are India, Turkey, Germany, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy, South Korea, Portugal, Japan, France, United States, United Kingdom, Austria, and Hong Kong.
“The growth in certifications demonstrates that GOTS has become the standard of choice for brands and retailers to efficiently manage their organic fiber supply chains,” said Claudia Kersten, GOTS Managing Director.
Such certification also verifies a company’s commitment to sustainability, as opposed to unverified self-claims.
According to OTA’s 2015 Organic Industry Survey, the market for organic fibers is the most rapidly growing U.S. non-food organic category, growing to $1.1 billion in 2014, up 18 percent from the previous year.
The number of U.S. companies gaining GOTS certification in 2014 increased by 20 percent over 2013, and included Burt’s Bee Baby™, Boll & Branch, IMM Group, Loomstate, Maggie’s Organics, MetaWear, Michael Stars, Organics and More, Portico, Synergy Organic Clothing, Under the Canopy, PACT Apparel, Welspun, and Xamax. These companies make a wide array of products, from apparel for babies through women/men, to beds and bedding, and personal care products.
In March, GOTS released a new edition of its Licensing and Labeling Guide to address changes made in the latest version (4.0) of the standard.
GOTS was developed by leading international standard setters—the Organic Trade Association, Japan Organic Cotton Association, International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany), and Soil Association (UK) to define globally recognized requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles. For more information, visit www.global-standard.org.
New Fiber Council forming
At its April meeting, OTA’s Board of Directors approved the establishment of an OTA Fiber Council based on OTA Sector Council operating guidelines. The application for the new sector council was first reviewed by the OTA Board’s Community Relations Committee, which gave its support.
Marci Zaroff, President of Portico Brands and Founder of Under the Canopy, submitted the request along with seven other OTA member companies that have expressed interest in participating. Besides Zaroff, those expressing interest include Sandra Marquardt of On the Mark PR, Bená Burda of Maggie’s, Scott Nash of MOM’s Market, Tara Cappel of MetaWear, Dale Read of the Specialty Sleep Association, Barry Cik of Naturepedic, and Melody Meyer of UNFI.
The aim is to create a cohesive voice across fiber categories within OTA, and to grow the organic fiber sector overall.
The first in-person meeting for the council will be held at Natural Products Expo West. Those interested in becoming part of the Fiber Council are encouraged to contact Gwendolyn Wyard, OTA’s Senior Director for Regulatory and Technical Affairs. //