Alex Crane We are building an apparel brand from natural fibers.This month they added a new item to their collection, biodegradable porto shirtA unisex design with three standard colors to choose from. While most cotton shirts are biodegradable, Porto shirts are handcrafted in Portugal from 100% organic cotton, colored with toxic-free, mineral-based natural dyes, and made from natural, not plastic. It has a corozo nut button.
Crane explains why not all cotton shirts are created equal. The answer, he says, is in the details.
Isha Chabra: What would you classify as biodegradable?
Alex Crane: “Biodegradable” to us means that you can put a shirt in your compost pile and it will turn into dirt within a year. From fabrics to trims to dyes, every part of the Porto shirt is made from natural materials that biodegrade without adding toxicity or waste to the planet. It does not reduce the durability or wear resistance of the product. It’s good to make products that remain part of the earth’s natural cycles. So clothes will help grow new crops one day.
Chabra: What are some common reasons why cotton shirts are not biodegradable? I’m guessing buttons, but is there anything else?
crane: Technically, all cotton shirts are biodegradable. The big difference is toxicity. The majority of cotton shirts are made from conventional cotton that has been soaked in pesticides, dyed with chemical pigments, and washed with petroleum-based fabric softeners. Porto shirts, on the other hand, are made from pesticide-free organic cotton, dyed with natural pigments derived from minerals, and finished with natural organic fabric softeners. And corozo buttons made from seeds. As a result, when porto shirts decompose, they actually improve soil quality. Also, just to clarify, the biggest difference is between natural materials (such as cotton) and synthetic materials (such as polyester). Most clothing is made from non-biodegradable synthetic fibers.
Chabra: Why is this important in fashion? Why did you take the time to make this shirt?
crane: Asking people to consume less will not solve the climate crisis. It’s a great idea, but basically, humans like to earn something. We’ve been making fun things since the stone age. The best strategy, therefore, is to innovate new ways of consuming that are actually climate-friendly. Biodegradable products are an excellent choice for her two reasons. 1) Make dirt, not garbage. Imagine a world where your consumption creates renewable goods instead of messes that future generations must clean up. 2) Keep microplastics away from skin and water. In time, you’ll realize the self-harm of making everything out of plastic. But it goes without saying that the less plastic we wear, the better.
Chabra: Do you know the finishing chemicals that are commonly used to give fabrics a soft feel or make them water repellent? Does that apply to your brand as well?
crane: yes! We know that the majority of fabric softeners are petroleum based.We triple check that our fabric softeners are made from natural enzymes.
Chhabra: Why aren’t other brands following this path? Fees?
crane: I don’t think people are asking for it yet. Organic food has been a niche market until it isn’t. Same with wellness products. I am convinced that the next frontier is clothing. We need to help spread the message that plastic-based clothing is toxic, won’t decompose, and remains dependent on fossil fuels. Every time you wash polyester clothing, microplastics are leached out and eventually become water and food. As a result, we eat a credit card’s worth of plastic each week, according to a recent study.
Chhabra: What was the most difficult part of designing the Porto shirt?
crane: Dyes are a true game changer and, to date, have been the biggest hurdle to creating fully biodegradable products. tend to. That’s why it was so cool to discover mineral dyes – they’re unlike any natural dyes we’ve worked with before. And now that we’ve found it to be a viable option, we aim to make the rest of our collection fully biodegradable by 2025.