I am not a practicing GREEN designer. I understand the importance etc, but it isn’t my niche. Because today’s Earth Day, I thought I do my part and post about someone you should know in the Green movement- O Eco Textiles.
I first came across O Eco Textiles and founders Leigh Anne Van Dusen and her partner Patty Grossman through my friends at TODL. I’ve had the good luck to spend some time with Leigh Anne and hear her awesome presentation about textiles and what is really green and sustainable. Frankly, I am a little pessimistic about all the Green conversations and marketing strategies out there. It’s interesting how linen and cotton have all of a sudden become “organic”; yet if you examine the textile process by its very nature it is not green.
But O Eco is… O Ecotextiles is probably the greenest producer of home textiles (primarily used for window coverings, upholstery and top-of-bed). In addition to the yarns, it’s about the process. O Ecotextiles is an “organic fabric”, not just an “organic fibre fabric.” Think of turning organic apples into applesauce: if the manufacturer mixes the organic apples with Red Dye #2, preservatives, emulsifiers, stabalizers then the final product is far from organic. The same is true of fabrics.
Leigh Anne and Patty researched the chemicals used in the textile process , finding there are 2000 chemicals used in the manufacturing process of making textiles from yarns. They have ELIMINATED USE of ALL THESE CHEMICALS in their manufacturing process (the “toxic yuck” as Patty says). Their resulting fabrics are acknowledged as beautiful and lush, and they meet / exceed all fabrics use standards.
Just the Facts, Ma’am
BuildingGreen.com named them as one of their Top 10 Products for 2008 – very big deal. These are selected by the editors of Environmental Building News and GreenSpec®, the leading national directory of green building products. Hefty criteria.
CEO Patty Grossman heads up the Textiles division for the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC)
Their attention to the environmental aspects of production doesn’t mean that they turn a blind eye to the finished product- using Belgian linen spun into yarn by a Master of Linen and long fiber hemp field retted by craftsmen who still maintain the old traditions.
Not to mention, they have entered into a partnership with So Far So Near collaborating on some fabulous printed textiles that are presented as a collection that works together to delight the eye and the hand – soft, beautifully colored and finished.
Leigh Anne and Patty say it best; some of their favorite points are
– Much of the textile industry has left the US and gone to developing countries.
– In India alone, textile effluent averages around 425,000,000 gallons per day. In a year, that would fill 240,000 Olympic sized swimming pools — water filled with detergents, degreasers, surfactants, bleaches, optical brighteners, size, desizers, dyes and many other types of chemicals.
– People don’t realize that the phthalates and ‘Bisphenol A’ and toxic chemicals that have just been outlawed in California in kids toys, well, the vast majority of textile printing dyes are full of that stuff. Phthalates is a class of chemicals that has a pretty unsavory toxicity. People who are very careful about not bringing toxic toys into their house can be putting kids to sleep in rooms full of this stuff because the fabrics are full of it.
– Doctors who treat patients for sick building syndrome increased by 40% in the decade of the 1990s. The chemical soup in our homes over the last 50+ years is causing or contributing to a plethora of issues — increased autism, one type of leukemia, male birth defects, childhood brain cancer, ADHD, asthma. And today 40% of all children have allergies of some kind
Bottom line – O Eco Textiles are beautiful and healthy – a hard -to -find combination.