Laura Chenoweth | Organic Fabrics - Ana + Zac

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Laura Chenoweth | Organic Fabrics

A photo of Lauren Chenoweth sitting on her deck with the breeze in her head with her organic fabrics organized in piles in front of her

Photo by Anna Gilkerson 

 

Laura Chenoweth is an ethical textile consultant with over 25 years experience in the textile business. She has owned and managed successful organic cotton bedding and apparel lines. Laura offers professional advice to businesses on choosing conscious and sustainable options plus helping source organic cotton textiles for clothing brands and designers all over North America.

We visited Laura at her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia to chat about organic cotton, her love for India, and the future of sustainability in fashion. 

 

A photo of Laura Chenoweth holding up a piece of blue with block printed white flowers on cotton fabric from India

Photo by Anna Gilkerson 

 

Tell us a little bit about how you started consulting in ethical textile sourcing? What sort of consulting do you offer to clients?

I started offering consulting services within my business (alongside wholesale fabric distribution) when I realized clients needed a conversation space outside of email; to ask questions about why this organic cotton fabric or that organic linen fabric, what does GOTS certification really equate to, what steps are needed to get a digital print transferred onto fabric meterage, how to go about manufacturing an organic canvas bag in Canada and so on.

I offer hourly consultation calls via Zoom or phone, and discuss with clients their questions/related to a project, manufacturing, product development etc. Some clients want to brainstorm a clothing project (fabric from India/manufacturing on the ground in Canada), while others want to talk about specific ethically sourced fabrics and which fabric would work best. It is so fun to meet people and explore opportunities and figure out which path is best practice.

 

Multiple layers of organic cotton block print fabrics in various beautiful colours

Photo by Anna Gilkerson 

 

You have a deep connection with India. Is there a special place you like to visit when you are there?

I have been traveling to India since 1995. Every time I visit India it is transformative. One special place is Sanganer, Rajasthan. This is where I first learnt about high quality hand block printing. The textiles produced in this region last a lifetime.

Have you come across fake organics in your industry? Do you know how this is being addressed by the organic cotton industry in India?

I have not personally come across fake organics within the textile industry. However, I know it happens. I work with a handful of ethical sources who I have met personally in India, and together we keep communication channels strong. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) works diligently to uncover any fake organics in India.

 

A side by side photo with Laura wearing our Sailor Top in Deep Sea Stripe with her hand pressed up to a tree and another photo of Laura holding up a pile of organic cotton
Photo by Anna Gilkerson 

 

What does the future of fashion look like to you?

The future of fashion will include a regulatory standard of 'recycled content' within the procurement of clothing, home textiles, shoes, accessories. Producing goods with only virgin fibers (eg. organic cotton) will not be possible, as we need to include the fibers from 'end of life' clothing. Landfills will not be an option, because textile waste (not resale but reuse market) has value.

Circularity will become mainstream, with clothing/shoe producers having consumers return worn pieces, and municipalities will have EPR (extended producer responsibility) regulations, any clothing/shoes will be banned from land disposal (can not throw out in domestic/industrial garbage streams). Wanting what you have will become more attractive.

 

A side by side photo of Laura standing in her home showing us some of the organic cotton fabric swatches from India and a photo of a close up of the swatches

Photo by Anna Gilkerson 

 

What is your favourite colour and why? 

My favourite colour is charcoal grey, because it goes with almost any other colour and can wear it all year round.

When are you most happy?

Hiking in the woods with my son :)

For more information about Laura and her offerings as an ethical textile consultant, visit her website.

 

a photo of Laura standing on a rock in her backyard with a fence behind her and tulips blooming in the garden

 Photo by Anna Gilkerson