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05/19/2009 06:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
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So, do you know what's in your knickers? Probably not. Creators and sisters, Jenny White and Verity White, made this film and featured it on to spread awareness about the toxic materials that are used to make your knickers and other everyday clothes. With this video, they hope to ultimately change the way we consume.

The White sisters were motivated by these two facts:

1. We are running out of oil and water.
2. The textile industry is one of the largest and most polluting industries.

So, here's the deal. Most all conventionally made textiles (clothes, bedding, furniture, towels...) are made with toxic, poisonous chemicals. Let's take a closer look at the fabrics we most commonly use.

Cotton is the most widely used natural fiber. As a matter of fact, we use enough cotton to supply everyone on this planet with 18 pairs of pants! With all of that cotton comes A LOT of pesticides and GM crops, which directly harms the environment and our bodies. These chemicals are so harmful that they are responsible for hospitalizing about 1 million farmers each year. Yikes!

Many clothes are made using polyester, which comes from oil. And guess what? Once polyester is made, it is here to stay. Polyester can't biodegrade. So that little black dress you were thinking about buying...don't worry, it's not going anywhere.

PVC is another material widely used in our clothing. Unfortunately for us, PVC's leach into our skin transferring harmful toxins that are linked to cancer.

Leather isn't a safe option either. Most leather is dyed or tanned with Hexavalent Chromium 3 or 6, which is a carcinogenic heavy metal- not something you want to stick your foot into.

So what can you wear?! Well, luckily since the demand for "clean" clothes has increased, there are a wide variety of options. Look out for organic and fair trade cotton. Organic cotton wastes less water than conventional cotton growing techniques and uses natural pesticides.


One of my favorite eco-fashion lines is Mr. Larkin, launched by Cassie Larkin in San Franscisco. You will find pieces made out of milk fiber, a material similar to wool developed in the 1930's.

Linda Loudermilk is another favorite. Some of the fabrics she uses actually have healing properties! She uses materials made from sasawashi, bamboo, sea cell, soya and other exotic self-sustaining plants. Sasawashi comes from kumazasa, a plant found in the highlands of the Mainland of Japan and Hokkaido. Sasawashi products take natural antibacterial, deodorant effects from the kumazasa plant.


And we can't forget Velvet Leaf. The line was started by two sisters who have a great sense for feminine casual style. Their clothing line is ECO SKAL Certified, an International Control Union certification. Velvet leaf uses 100% certified organic cotton, and manufactures with certified factories that use low wastage dyes, fair labor, and sustainable practices.

Another great option for soft fabric is bamboo. Bamboo uses almost no water and doesn't require agro-chemical interface. Hemp and hemp silk are great alternatives too. Hemp is able to grow without the use of pesticides and biodegrades at the end of its life. Keep a look out for organically produced silk and vegetable tanned leather. Both options are much more environmentally friendly than their counter-parts. Soy and wool are great materials to produce thick fabrics.

So there you have it. Take off those toxic knickers!

Creative Solution: Shop for organic cotton.

-Eco Warrior

Also posted on Creative Citizen.