How a garment is made

Good shirts come to those who wait

Before a garment can grace the body, it has to undergo a long journey and many tests. Below are the key steps throughout the entire process from fabric through to T-shirt.

Cultivation – responsible from the very start

Our story begins a few thousand kilometres from our company headquarters – in the sunny regions around the equator. This is where the organic cotton for our T-shirt grows. Even the seed originates from controlled organic farming in which natural fertilisers and defoliants are used, along with natural pest control. Maintaining social structures also plays an important role. Unfortunately, not all producers act in accordance with these principles. Every day 77 people die around the world as the result of the use of insecticides and pesticides in conventional cotton production. According to WHO estimates, 550 million people are exposed to pesticides in the production of cotton in developing countries.

Yarn – our thread is fine and fair

A good T-shirt can only be made from good yarn. That’s why, in our spinning and weaving processes, we use oils and strengthening agents based on renewable raw materials, such as starch or paraffin, and avoid heavy metals completely. The organic production of yarn at hessnatur is also subject to stringent labour regulations in order to protect the health of our employees.

Fabric – clean materials for a cleaner future

The T-shirt is starting to take shape. The hessnatur guidelines also apply to the organic processing of the yarns to make fabric: unlike in conventional production, we use organic, fully biodegradable agents that are not harmful to the environment. In addition, any waste water is treated in at least a two-stage waste water treatment plant to ensure that it is clean before being fed back into the water system.

Finish – ideal for the skin

Our T-shirt can now be worn. When processing fabrics, we only use oxygen to bleach the cloth, dyes that do not contain heavy metals and water-based printing. We enhance the natural properties of the material using calenders (which make the surface smoother and more compact) and sanforization (a method that prevents subsequent shrinking). Now the textiles can be placed in direct contact with the skin without any problem. Things look very different in the conventional process. Bleaching using chlorine-based agents, the use of dyes containing heavy metals and printing with pastes that contain solvents and formaldehyde destroy the natural properties of the fibres. About 10 to 15 per cent of this chemical cocktail is retained in the textiles and subsequently comes into contact with the skin. For sensitive people, this can cause allergies or irritation.

Manufacturing – precise and detailed work

Now the most labour intensive phase of the textile production begins: with great skill and craftsmanship, the fabric knitted from organic cotton is stitched to make T-shirts in various sizes. As this step is associated with high time and cost pressure, statutory regulations are ignored at many production sites resulting in catastrophic working conditions. In order to ensure a fair working environment, we work together closely with our suppliers and set strict guidelines and standards for this collaboration. Due to our wish to improve social standards around the world, we have been an active partner within the international Fair Wear Foundation for more than 10 years now.

Shipping – short and professional

Our T-shirt has almost reached its destination. It just has to be transported from A to B. We like to keep our shipping routes short and our packaging environmentally friendly. That’s also why most of our production facilities at hessnatur are in Europe. After all, fewer kilometres means greater sustainability.