Just because the label says “cotton” does not mean that piece of clothing qualifies as natural or organic. Industrial cotton farms use more pesticides and other chemicals than almost any other crop per acre. Organic cotton, however, does not use any chemicals or pesticides, and only those cotton clothes made with that chemical-free fiber count as organic. Finding organic clothes in Connecticut is not easy, but here are three stores where all of the clothing – and everything else – is natural and organic.
Our Green House
83 S. Main St.
Newtown, CT 06470
For organic and natural baby clothes, baby blankets and cloth diapers, as well as all other things organic for baby, don’t just drop in Our Green House – call the shop first, because for four of the six days of the week, the store’s hours are listed as “in and out.” That is not because the staff is flighty or distracted, quite the opposite actually. Instead of being on the phone or at the desk, employees are busy packing and unpacking, shipping to mail order and email clients, dealing with retail customers or doing any other of the many duties that come with running such a popular and pleasant place. Also, while “we love, love, love our retail customers,” note the owners, “at the same time our philosophy has always been about balance. We keep flexible store hours on Monday/Wednesday/Thursday so that we can enhance our own lives.”
Our Green House was founded and is run by a couple who began their green careers with an environmental testing company. Once they had children, they realized there was a dearth of places to go to buy organic clothing, BPA-free feeding and nursing supplies and other organic and eco-friendly bedding, blankets, mattresses, toys and other things for baby. Their store carries all of the above, and more, including non-toxic paint, safe wood finishes, natural skincare products and even organic teas and jewelry. Our Green House is committed to carrying fair trade products, from clothes and handbags to dolls and bird houses.
26 Broad St.
Milford, CT 06460
When Tina Giammarco searches for clothing and other items for her Most Naturally store in Milford, she makes sure they are truly eco-friendly. Who else sells sandals made from recycled plastics, not to mention socks made from bamboo fibers to go with them? It is not enough for someone to offer to sell her clothes made from cotton; that cotton also has to be grown organically, and that goes for everything from baby diapers to washcloths. Even the oil in the scented candles has to be essential and not synthetic – and the wicks must be certified to be lead-free.
Organic cotton tees are among her best sellers, and Tina also insists that any imported goods – clothing and otherwise – be made under the Fair Trade Practices regime. Products made in America, such as the line of dresses produced by a New York City house, likewise only make it into her store if they are made by people or companies that are ecologically friendly. That rule also applies to toys and books, as well as for the hemp canvas dog leashes and coastal tableware.
She crams a lot into her little store, and she has added jewelry made by an after-school project in South Africa, where she volunteered in the fall of 2009. Part of the proceeds from sales of Thanda Zulu jewelry go to support that program. She also carries other natural products made by similar organizations, notably the Bolivian women’s group Greenola and Beads for Life of Uganda. For Ms. Giammarco, being green means more than just selling organic and natural clothing and other products; it also means helping the people who make the goods she sells.
60 Newtown Road
Danbury, CT 06810
Funkoos in Danbury carries a full line of organic cotton baby clothes – from body suits and onesies to sleep gowns and t-shirts. Its baby dresses in particular are especially charming (such as the Butterfly Garden, Carousel Pony and Pretty in Pink designs), as are its baby jeans for boys, one very popular design of which is the Race Car Monkeys pants – which, as the name suggests, incorporate monkeys driving race cars into the design.
Funkoos is so serious about being green that it offers a 25-percent discount to customers who return their used clothing for recycling. All of the clothing Funkoos sells is made in India, and from 100-percent organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without using pesticides or other chemicals, and all of the clothes made from the chemical-free fibers are manufactured in “100 percent fair-trade work environments.” That includes Funkoos’ refusal to buy from any factory that uses child labor. Part of the proceeds from its sales are donated to charity, as part of its “give back to the planet” social responsibility program.
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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.