The Beginner's Guide to Chemical-free Organic Products
Thoughts and considerations for those embarking on a chemical-free and sweatshop-free organic lifestyle
Chemical-free Organic Clothing & Home Products by Rawganique
Rawganique manufactures handcrafted chemical-free organic products that are geared towards chemically-sensitive customers. It doesn't hurt that our pure organic products can also be enjoyed by everyone else as a prevention against skin allergies and chemical sensitivities. Environmentally-aware customers love that our products are planet-friendly, human-friendly, and never tested on animals.
Many of our customers have been diagnosed with chemical sensitivity and skin allergies and are wondering where to begin. The same goes for customers who have undergone radiation & chemotherapy and want to limit further exposure to industrial chemicals in clothing and home products. (Many doctors specifically recommend Rawganique's chemical-free products to their post-therapy patients because we're known for making truly pure products since our debut in 1997.) And many more customers still just want nothing to do with chemicals in their daily lives if they can help it.
Since 1997, customers have looked to us to provide a no-nonsense comprehensive collection of chemical-free products for the wardrobe and home. As longtime homesteaders, we are not motivated by money. We are not a big business. And we are passionate about healthy and pure living. Our whole team is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible to make with just 100% natural organic fibres: organic cotton, linen, and hemp.
Start Close To The Body
The first and most important chemical-free organic clothing to own are the ones that directly touch your skin. Underwear, bras, T-shirts, and pyjamas especially should be organic and chemical-free, as there are many lymph nodes and glands throughout the groin and armpit area which could absorb the chemicals in clothing. And socks, too, should be chemical-free, as many people wear them all day.
Start With Unbleached & Undyed
No matter your level of sensitivity towards chemicals, start with unbleached & undyed natural or colorgrown organic cotton, hemp, and linen products. When we say natural (unbleached & undyed), we mean we do not use any dye at all on these products.
It goes without saying we also do not use formaldehyde or dioxin or any of the other finishing chemicals commonly used in the garment industry, organic or not. If you want more colors in your wardrobe, we offer natural dyes from fruits, vegetables, and bark as well as low-impact biodegradable fiber-reactive dyes. We also offer a full range of elastic-free organic cotton, hemp, and linen underwear.
We offer three types of bras. With Lycra (no elastic), with elastic (no Lycra), and 100% organic cotton camisole-type tank tops. All of our selections are clearly marked which is which. For bras to be supportive, they need a percentage of Lycra blended with organic cotton (no elastic needed). Or they have elastic, then the fabric can be made of 100% organic cotton. The elastic can be covered or uncovered.
If your sensitivity is of the proximity kind, then chances are you cannot tolerate even covered elastic. If you are allergic to latex, then elastic covered in organic cotton might be OK. If your sensitivity is of the contact kind, then any of our organic cotton, hemp, or linen covered elastic underwear will work.
Our purest chemical-free bras are the Charlize Elastic-free 100% Organic Cotton Bra, Vivienne Elastic-free 100% Organic Cannabis Hemp Bra, and our Angeline Elastic-Free 100% Organic Linen Bra, all of which are hand-made in Canada from organic USA cotton, organic European cannabis hemp, or organic French flax linen. You may also want to consider our organic cotton tank tops and camisoles which are made with 100% organic cotton fabric.
When In Doubt, Go For Elastic-free
We specialize in elastic-free chemical-free organic underwear. We offer a complete selection for men and women. Simply go to "Clothing" in the menu bar and select Womenswear --> Panties or Menswear --> Undies to browse our selection. Look for "Elastic-free" nomenclature.
Bed & Bath Are Important, Too
On average, we spend a third of our lives in the bedroom. It stands to reason that mattresses and bedding that outgas toxic chemicals are a major factor in our overall health. Most toxic chemicals and fire retardants used in even high-end conventional bedding continue to outgas throughout the life of the product. Rawganique.com started as a blog to share healthy living and homesteading tips. The avalanche of requests from readers for us to start offering organic underwear and bed and bath were so strong that we felt committed to creating truly chemical-free and pure products for everyone who needs and wants a pure environment to live in.
As self-sufficient off-the-grid homesteaders at heart, we are not motivated by money. Much of the price you see on our website goes towards raw organic products and sweatshop-free living wage labor. Our commitment to end-to-end purity control of our products have motivated us to stay small-scale and to continue making products by hand and not in the assembly line.
Of course, it costs more to use organic natural fibres and real artisans to create our products (we cannot stand the thought of workers earning just a dollar or two a day in sweatshops so that we can get half-hearted products at rock-bottom prices). The kind of purity we offer is well-nigh impossible to attain with mass-produced products.
The concern with purity in the bedroom holds true for bath products as well. PVC shower curtains contain so many chemicals in them, most of them toxic, and they keep outgassing until you throw them out. Towels directly tough your wet skin, so it's important that they are chemical-free.
What is chemical-free organic clothing? Or, The Problem With Fashion!
Today, most conventional clothing, footwear, bed, bath, and home products (and even some so-called organic ones) are made with ever-more toxic chemicals such as dioxin, formaldehyde, and chemical dyes. These chemicals are used to make clothes look and feel good, to wrinkle-proof or waterproof garments, to give clothes every imaginable color and shade, to make mass-manufacturing faster and more efficient, and to stabilize and homogenize fabrics. But as more and more people are finding out, these toxic chemicals can wreak havoc on our respiratory and immune systems by reportedly causing rashes, asthma, immune system dysfunction, or worse.
There is no denying that modern clothes are fashionable. They look good, feel good, and much of it can also be purchased inexpensively (we'll get to sweatshops in a minute). But the downside is that, as living organisms, our bodies can absorb and be affected by these industrial chemicals.
Small Is Beautiful
Because we stay small-scale by choice (so can still pay attention to every detail), we are able to handcraft our products from end-to-end without consideration for requirements of large-scale machinery. We grow, weave, knit, and sew in-house so we can be sure of purity in production. It takes time to handcraft things: for example, it takes one of our seasoned shoe artisans one whole day to hand made one pair of hemp shoes.
Been there, Done That
In the 1990's, we found ourselves in a predicament: we developed severe asthma as well as rashes, eczema, and psoriasis that wouldn't go away, no matter what we tried.
We read and read and asked and asked, hungry for any info that would help our conditions. Then it dawned on us!
The Moment of Clarity: Natural Fibers Are From Plants, Too, Just Like The Fruits and Veggies We Eat
For many years, we had been eating organic foods exclusively because we were concerned about pesticides and GMO and preservatives and what they might do to our health. But we never thought about what the pesticides and chemicals that are used to grow GMO cotton would do to our health via our skin, which as our largest and porous organ could absorb these toxins. Our longtime diet of homegrown fruits and vegetables had purified our bodies to such an extent that we became more sensitive to toxic chemicals found in everyday products.
Just as fruits and vegetables can be grown organically, without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, so can natural fiber plants such as organic cotton, flax linen, and cannabis hemp. We specialize in making good-looking, comfortable products from organic cotton, linen, and hemp.
Why Not Soy Or Bamboo?
We don't make any products with soy (much of the world's soya bean crop is tainted with GMO - genetically modified organisms) or bamboo (to go from the beautiful hard bamboo wood to soft fiber requires so much chemicals and acids that the resulting fabric can no longer be called bamboo — it's human-made rayon: this is why bamboo fiber is so new; it's modern chemicals that allow for the processing of bamboo wood into fabric).
The Fibers May Be Organic But The Processing May Not Be
When organic may not be organic. In organic foods, vegetables that are organically grown should also not have chemical wax applied to them on the retail shelf. So why would manufacturers be allowed to apply finishing chemicals and formaldehyde on organic clothing? But some of them do! This is why we are adamant about handcrafting products end-to-end, from growing, to fiber processing, to knitting, to weaving, to sewing. That way, the whole process is small-scale and chemical-free. It's much more work, very limited margin, but this hands-on process yields unique and pure organic products, which we are passionate about.
To protect yourself, always ask where the fiber is grown and where the clothes are made. More often than not, it's in one of the sweatshop and mass-production countries, in which case many of the toxic chemicals and sweatshop labor may be involved. Many retailers simply say "Imported" on their products. From where?
We Look To The Past
In manufacturing, we ask ourselves the question: how was this garment made before the industrial revolution and rampant use of industrial chemicals? Then we learn to do the same. That's why our products have a heritage, handmade feel to them. The same goes for our organic bodycare line: we go back to time-tested recipes from the old world, with few simple ingredients. Many of our organic bodycare products are made from just one organic ingredient. How's that for simplicity and purity?
It's In The Process(ing): Long Is Better Than Short
Natural fibres are classified by staple length - the longer the strand, the stronger and higher quality the final product. This is why, at our European hemp fields, we dew-ret hemp stalks in the field. Then we mechanically comb the long strands, with no chemicals. In China, where the bulk of the world's industrial hemp is grown, for efficiency, the hemp is most commonly broken down into a pulp with acids Then ring-spun just like cotton, thereby destroying most of the true character of baste fibres such as hemp and linen. In the process, many acids and chemicals are often used to process hemp fiber in China.
We do one better! Our Chemical-free Organic Clothes are also sweatshop-free. Made in USA, Canada, & Europe.
We respect all forms of life: humans, animals, and our common planet. We cannot in good conscience manufacture our organic products under sweatshop conditions. It would be an oxymoron. For this reason, we handcraft the bulk of our products in our atelier in Europe under strict European fair labor regulations. The rest of our products are made in the USA and Canada. All are sweatshop-free. Because we believe in equality and human dignity. Our team of 50 artisans are family to us. Most have been with us since the beginning.
Pure Can Be Finicky
Our emphasis all through is purity first and foremost, then function and comfort. We create styles in our chemical-free organic apparel and garments that you would want to wear everyday because we want you to fall in love with your organic clothes, shoes, and home products.
We do not chemically treat our plants, our fibres, or our products!!! So some of our chemical-free eco products might behave differently than the chemical-laden products you are used to: the clothes will stretch after wearing (and bounce back after washing) because they don't have polyester and elastic in the fabric to hug your body. If you're the type to demand perfection in garments and bedding, then our products may not be for you.
Our allergy-free products are finished naturally, with no chemicals. We show off the natural fibres in their full glory, and we find them naturally beautiful. Homogenizing and stabilizing chemicals make for a very uniform appearance, but they come at a huge health and environmental cost, in our opinion, so we stay completely away from them.
Our longtime customers understand this and appreciate the fact that the allergen-free, chemical-free clothing they are wearing is real. They wear what they are: organic and unique and real. And authentic. From day one, our mantra has been: how can we make a product as pure as we can. We look back two hundred years for inspiration. That was when stuff was made by hand, with no help from sweatshops or chemicals.
We collect vintage, heritage stuff from hundreds of years ago because they remind us always that chemical-free apparel and garments are possible to do and in fact was the only way then. There was just no other choice. So we give ourselves no other choice but to make stuff as of yore.
Chemicals Can Be A Menace
We thrive on feedback and exchange of ideas with our customers, so that we can learn and improve every aspect of our production.
A case in point. A customer told us that she found herself in an emergency room after checking into a well-known hotel. The cause was traced to the chemicals that were added to the hotel's air filtration system to cover up the exhaust smell that came in from the city of Toronto.
Governments Need to Start Subsidizing Organic Agriculture, Not Just GMO Agriculture!
Why is organic expensive? Because a farmer has to go through great expense to register and prove that her plants are organic! Why not the reverse? Why aren't farmers who use chemicals and toxins on their crops required to prove that their crops are not organic?? Only politics can change this, so please make your voice be heard by contacting your local politicians and expressing your views to them in no uncertain terms.
We are here to help if you have more questions. We have learned lots about TILT and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities over the years and if there's anything more you are curious about, please ask us! We may know it or be able to mine one of our community of customers who have become lifelong friends for an answer.
May love, peace, sustainability, equality, and PURITY prevail. — Thamm, Klaus, Karoly, Eva, Kriszta, Cristina: Your friends at Rawganique.com