Organic Cotton 101

Organic Cotton


What the heck is organic cotton?  Does anyone else ask themselves this question when looking at the materials their clothes are made of or is it just me?  It turns out organic cotton is pretty amazing and it is a material we (North Shore Vibe) try to use in many of our eco-friendly apparel items.  Here is why we love organic cotton:

  • No toxic chemicals are used in the growing process
  • Uses 88% less water
  • Uses 62% less energy
  • 80% rain fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources
  • Does not damage the soil and has less impact on the air

These numbers are pretty amazing right?  Who knew the environmental impact cotton could have.  In fact, the story continues.  A traditional (non-organic) cotton t-shirt uses roughly 2,700 liters of water during the production process!  For those that don’t know how much a litter is (me included), 2,700 liters equates to ~700 gallons of water.  MY GOODNESS, THAT IS A LOT OF WATER.  


Organic Cotton North Shore

These facts certainly tell a convincing story for organic cotton.  You would think that everyone is using organic cotton from these figures.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of global cotton production - no wonder our planet is facing difficult challenges.  Now... there are great companies out there using organic cotton in their production process and as an eco-minded consumer we should be sure to take notice and prioritize these businesses.  

Favorite Companies using Organic Cotton


North Shore Vibe 

A little biased here but no shame.  We love Lake Michigan and we feel it is important to create apparel that matches our mission to protect the lake from harm.  We look to use organic cotton in our eco-friendly apparel.  My favorite is the original long-sleeve tee (100% organic cotton).  

shop with North Shore Vibe



We don’t view Patagonia as a competitor, instead they are a role model for what we would like to be for Lake Michigan.  They do an amazing job with all around sustainability and of course, they use organic cotton.  If anyone from Patagonia ever reads this - thanks for leading the way for new brands like ours - we are excited to follow your lead!

shop with Patagonia


Ten Tree

Very cool outdoor brand here.  Ten Tree not only uses organic cotton, they also plant ten trees for every purchase.  Isn’t it amazing that companies like this exist?  Imagine if all businesses dedicated their focus to the triple bottom line (planet/people/profit)

shop with Ten Tree



Cotopaxi is on a tear and it is exciting to see people gravitate to this brand.  They use great materials, they utilize recycled fabrics, and they empower their people.  Not only do they do good - their products are very bright and beautiful.  If you are a fan of bold colors, Cotopaxi might be a good fit for your next backpack.  PS - their mascot is a llama, I think that is pretty neat.

shop with Cotopaxi

To sum it up - organic organic cotton is amazing.  As a consumer, I am going to look to purchase from brands that are using this material.  Thanks for helping protect our planet and thanks for supporting North Shore Vibe.