O Ecotextiles
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by Emily Todhunter for O Ecotextiles

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An old-world fiber in new world colors.

ICEA:   Dyes meet organic textile standards of ICEA (Italian Institute for Environmental and Ethical Certification)
LEED:   Eligible for credits: indoor air quality, use of rapidly renewable resources, and/or innovation.
Fiber Composition:   100% long fiber hemp
Colorways:   13
Width:   59”/ 149.8 cm
Weight:   8 oz square yard; 271 gm square meter
Country of Origin:   Romania
Cal 117:   Pass
British Match Test:   Pass
Abrasion:    12,000 Martindale (no change)
Colorfast to light:   British Light Fastness Standards # 2-6: 6 at 60 hrs (scale of 1-8 with 5 as no change and pass)
Colorfastness to:   Laundering: 5
Dry Cleaning: 4.5
Water: 5
(On a scale of 1 – 5,
1 = severe change, 5 = no change)


Grown Responsibly. The fibers were grown by independent Romanian farmers in an area of the country that has, for many generations, depended on the growing of hemp. These small families use no pesticides, insecticides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers.

The harvest is dew or field retted: the farmers leave the stalks in the fields to allow dew and rain to break down the natural lignin. The Romanian rettery removes the fibers from the stalk that are then spun into yarn without chemicals, preserving the strength of the long fibers; chemical shortcuts can “cottonize” and weaken the fibers.

Dew or field retting is a labor-intensive and time-consuming job, so other farmers are turning to chemical retting. But by supporting our farmers, we’re protecting the earth and helping to keep this traditional method alive.

Old-World Quality. The fibers are then moved to a local yarn spinning facility, where they are dry spun into yarn, using no water or chemical inputs of any kind.

At the mills, artisans take great pride in creating lively fabrics, full of character. Since the mill dates from long before the Communist era, modern techniques, including chemical supports, have not been implemented.

Exceptional Standards. The fabric is softened, bleached and/or dyed at our Italian dye house, which is one of relatively few houses in the world that is qualified to produce a dyed or finished fabric which can be a certified “organic textile.”  Being an “organic textile," means not just that a fabric uses organic fibers in the yarn, but that every step of the production process has been certified eco-friendly. 

For those who are interested, our dye house has received the Italian Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification (ICEA) for adherence to AIAB (Italian Association for Biological Agriculture) standards, which are currently (summer 2008) the most stringent in the world.

Safe, Low-Impact Dyes. We invested more than two years of research in our dyes in order to achieve color consistency, colorfastness and complete absence of toxicity. The dyes meet EU and Global Organic Textile Standards to be free of AZO colorants (a cancer causing toxin that is used in many dyes), heavy metals and aromatic amines and the dyestuffs are completely biodegradable (except for some of the blues which can contain copper).

Eco-Softness. The fabrics are softened with a combination of beeswax, aloe vera and vitamin E.

Test Results. Hardy Organic Hemp is predicted to meet GreenGuard standards. It was tested by an ISO 9001:2000 registered IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) testing lab, which measured the out-gassing of nasty chemicals. Our results were very impressive, well below limits set by the USGBC to allow fabrics to accrue LEED points for low emitting materials.

This test, a combination of gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography, lasts for 24 hours. A small piece of fabric is placed in a closed chamber. The chemicals out-gassed for the first 24 hours at a given temperature and pressure are extrapolated to predict the results for the equivalent of a room volume. Based on decay rates for various chemicals, the test predicts the results after 168 hours (the GreenGuard requirement).  So based on those parameters, and the results you see below, our fabrics passed with flying colors.

The LEED threshold and our actual results are:

Chemical measured

LEED requirement

O Ecotextiles Fabric Group #1

O Ecotextiles Fabric Group #2

TVOC - Total Volatile Organic Compounds

.25 mg/mg3

.048 mg/mg3

.02 mg/mg3

HCHO (formaldehyde)

25 parts per billion

<1 part per billion

<1 part per billion

Total aldehydes

50 parts per billion

<1 part per billion

1 part per billion

We're happy to send you more detailed lists of the 22 chemicals actually tested and not just the grouping of the chemical categories should you want it.

Group 1 Fabrics:
Ross Lake

Group 2 Fabrics:
Rogue River
Hardy Organic Hemp

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