Today we’re so happy to welcome Jan DiCintio, the creative force behind Daisy Janie, to the Fat Quarterly blog.  Jan is an accomplished designer who, in 2006, launched 2 collections of digitally printed fabrics under her own brand name.  Equal to Jan’s passion for design is her passion for sustainability and environmental consciousness, which is why from day 1, Daisy Janie’s fabric collections have been offered exclusively on organic cottons.

We wanted to learn a bit more about Jan, her business, and the realities of organic fabrics.  She’s going to share some of her thoughts today, and will be back with us tomorrow to answer a few of our questions and kick off an exciting new Fat Quarterly Designer’s Challenge.

Oh, and Jan has provided us with our newest blog header, created in the style of Daisy Janie’s newest fabric collection, Shades of Grey.  If you’re reading this via a reader or feed, be sure to come check out our awesome new masthead!

Hello Fat Quarterly Readers!

The wonderful crew at FQ invited me to participate in a couple fun posts & projects taking place this summer, the first of which is this little ‘ole introduction post about my business Daisy Janie and the organic fabrics I self- produce. I love chatting up organic fabric, so I certainly couldn’t say no to this “open mic night” opportunity!

There is so very much about organic cotton fabric that is upstanding, thoughtful, conscientious, responsible, meticulous and downright magnificent, and I’m going to talk briefly about just a few of them. Before that however, here’s a quick definition of organic cotton fabric… since that’s typically the burning question.

What is organic cotton fabric?

Organic cotton fabric is a textile that has been grown from non-genetically modified seeds, without the use of toxic synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides and fungicides. The organic cotton fiber is then harvested, cleaned, spun and woven also without the use of toxic chemical inputs, like formaldehyde, chlorine bleaches, aromatic solvents and petroleum-based scours. This carefully implemented process creates systems that “sustain the health of the soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.” This is the minimum that has to be done to yield an organic cotton base cloth. Companies do not have to continue with organic procedures beyond this, but I have chosen to take Daisy Janie’s fabrics alllll the way through to packaging.

3 Awesome-Sauce Things about Daisy Janie’s Organic Fabrics

1. Daisy Janie fabrics go the whole nine yards in eco-friendly fabric production.

From planted seed to packaged bolt, Daisy Janie’s organic fabrics are 100% GOTS certified. The Global Organic Textile Standard is considered the gold standard of certification in green textile production. Basically, my fabrics take the organic cotton fabric a few steps beyond the definition above. The organic cotton base cloth is also printed, finished and packaged in a manner that is eco-friendly and meets the GOTS requirements.

With stringent, compulsory criteria for all phases of production, GOTS certification “ensures the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling, in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.” There are other standards companies may use, but they are typically a stepping stone to GOTS and are not nearly as comprehensive. Although it’s more expensive to follow the GOTS requirements all the way through the growth & production process, I opted for the complete package b/c it represents the same level of conscientious commitment I bring to all of my work. It just makes sense to me to go for the gold!

2. Daisy Janie’s fabrics are socially responsible.

Daisy Janie’s organic fabrics are produced in a Fair Trade Certified facility. This means that employment is freely chosen, working conditions are safe & hygenic, child labor is not used, workers are paid a living wage, regular employment is provided and harsh, discriminatory & inhumane treatment is prohibited. This seems like it would be a given in today’s society, but it is definitely not! Ethical treatment is not at the top of the priority list for Big Corporations, who seek to squeeze every penny of profit out of cotton production – at the cost of human lives and so much more.

3. So far, Daisy Janie’s organic fabrics prevented approx. 4500 lbs. of synthetic toxic fertilizers from entering the cotton supply chain.

It takes approximately 1/3 lb. of toxic synthetic fertilizers to produce 1 lb. of raw cotton fiber, and it takes about 1 lb. of raw cotton fiber to make 1 cotton t-shirt*.

Thinking of 1 yard of cotton fabric (36″ l by 45″ w), I’m sure I could make one shirt out of that single yard. So, based upon how much fabric Daisy Janie has had printed to date, I have prevented 4500 lbs. of synthetic fertilizers from entering the cotton supply chain. And from entering the soil, the air (and blowing on the wind to the food acreage), the waterways, the farmer’s lungs and skin – and so on.

Taking this one step further.

Consider ALL the other toxic chemicals that are used to produce conventional cotton ~ insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, formaldehyde, chloro-phenols, aromatic solvents, petroleum scours, toxic waxes, chlorine bleach, petroleum-based inks with heavy metals and so on. The quantity of ALL these substances that have NOT become a part of the cotton supply chain or ecosystem as a direct result of Daisy Janie’s use of organic cotton fiber & GOTS production methods multiplies astoundingly! My fabrics may be the proverbial drop in the bucket in the quilting fabric industry, but these numbers stand as a testament to my doing my part as a good human and a conscientious business owner.

* Source: Organic Trade Association