Caring Cotton is a textile company that was started by Rhibu. It works as an agency for businesses outside of India to find sustainable and consciously dyed cotton. When manufacturers are looking to bring their brand more green friendly. The business focuses on textiles and defines itself as a fashion business. The brand also gives training to women in embroidery; continuing the idea of sustainability allowing women to earn money for themselves and their family. Giving women independence and new skills that can be passed down to generations. Rhibu has worked for 17 years to create relationships with artists and mills in India to keep her business going. The personal collaboration she has done with dyers and cotton mills in India gives her a unique position in the transport of cotton to Europe and the world. The business started in 2012 and has been a one woman job since then. Caring Cotton has become India’s second biggest exporters of organic cotton in India.
The company looks at where the cotton comes from and how the cotton is created in order to keep with their sustainable model. The company focuses on exporting rolls of cotton to make the transport as green as possible. When exporting the rolls of cotton they usually try to send it when the company is doing other exports; but when smaller brands are buying pieces of textile it is hard to avoid the issue of creating excessive greenhouse gas. Caring Cotton works with three to four mills; relationships she has worked to build over the last 17 years. Though she has worked for many years to create sustainable materials she has only been able to work with 1 house that uses natural dyes to dye their cotton. The cotton that she uses come from the middle of India. She is constantly working with the dye house to find new shades where you can create natural dyes.
When listening to the presentation I had many questions that I asked to the owner of Caring Cotton, but after the seminar ended I found myself wondering a few more things. Cotton is a natural substance that grows out of the ground. I wonder when did it happen that we started using synthetic cotton and what were the reasonings behind it? Something that is natural, that can create jobs for many people. Where and why is there a need for this industry of organic cotton. Why and when did cotton become inorganic in first place? Because I am from the south cotton to me is very accessible, you can walk down the street and pick some for fun. She said she ships her cotton mostly to Europe, but I’m wondering where it is shipped mostly. Why is India the main place where Cotton is being shipped from. What other places in the world have huge organic cotton industries. If cotton has to be shipped to other places can it actually be sustainable? Can organic cotton be curated within the homelands of the businesses that are using them? Do we really need to ship organic cotton places? And if so, isn’t that kind of counterproductive to ship things that we are trying to create that are good for the earth?
The Caring Cotton brand can be compared to the Upsana brand. The brand of clothing that tries to use sustainable cotton but admits to not being completely sustainable. Especially when using black dyes. There also isn’t a model of how to recycle or up-cycle and get rid of their clothes. To me there’s a thought of how the clothes are created, but not how they are disposed of.
Another thing I wanted to learn was difference between how and which the inorganic and organic cotton affects the farmers and the weavers process of creating the textiles. In Upsana’s presentation we talked about a bit how the farmers have a high rate of suicide. I am wondering if the Indian government has taken action about this? Is there a way to fix the issue of the cotton industry. Would it be beneficial to switch to completely organic cotton or would why has it been switched to mostly inorganic cotton? What has the biggest impact on the Indian people?
My main interests is how does the idea that inorganic cotton has become the norm. How in which, does that change the state of where we are in the world? The fact that for so many years we were using organic cotton, with unfair labor, but organic cotton non the less;and at this point in time we have decided to live off of synthetic cotton that stays on our bodies and absorbs to our skin. How in our human existence have we come to this?