It may sound like a talkative monkey, but Gossypium is something even stranger- a clothing company that puts farmers first.
Their name comes from the Latin for cotton, and expresses their unexpected belief that the way clothes are made is as important as how they look. All their clothes are made from 100% organic Indian cotton woven on handlooms to prevent wasting energy and the build up of cloth mountains and without the use of any GM seeds.
The cotton they use is grown by farmers supported by the Agrocel farmers centre. Based in Gujerat, Agrocel helps farmers grow their crops completely organically with technical advice, support and regular visits. The 60 farmers are paid a fair, above market price for their produce, and have a long-term sustainable relationship with the company.
Abigail Garner, a director of the company, set up the first clothing collection for Traidcraft and knew how important it was to treat not just the farmers well, but the earth too. Instead of chemical colours, Gossypium uses vegetable dyes, a time-consuming but high quality alternative. No waxes or chemical treatments are used to spin the cotton.
The clothes are stitched in India and Gossypium is working towards total transparency and independent monitoring. Thomas Petit, a company director explains that in the meantime they visit the factories themselves, We try and use the same factories as fair trade organisations use. Where this isnt possible we visit the factories ourselves?. They have also set up an education fund linked to the garments, each item stitched means more money to buy books for local schools.
Gossypium has its own fashion and print designer who adds a fresh edge to the ethical and environmentally conscious company. Their yoga collection is particularly popular because wearers know they are helping others while they reach their higher plane! The collection is already stocked in 30 shops throughout the UK. Its growing fast and is very popular, says Tom.
Their childrens clothes are perfect for sensitive babies and their sensitive parents who prefer not to wrap their offspring in chemicals, and the hardwearing material withstands the games of the most robust kids. For adults the emphasis is on simplicity and comfort, but never at the expense of fit or style. We especially like their slash neck tops and strappy vests.
Gossypium is bent on not just altering the fashion industry but turning it on its head to give power to the producers. Because of this, all profits are shared between Agrocel and the design/sales part of the company. The aim is to get as many farmers into Agrocel as possible, giving them the freedom to work without endangering themselves with pesticides and to be paid fairly for their work. The unique combination of ethics and style will ensure pretty soon everyone will be talking about Gossypium.