I'm one of those moms who, from the moment I found out I was pregnant, ceased eating, drinking or slathering onto my body or my baby's body anything that had toxic or chemical ingredients. So many things have carcinogens and endocrine disruptors in them. I was determined to make sure my little girl was not exposed to all the harmful ingredients that are typical in much of our foot supply, cleaning supplies and skin care products.
It turns out that even our clothing could expose us to those bad chemicals. This is especially true in the active wear and athletic apparel industries, where the focus is more and more on clothing that has UV, wicking and anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-odor properties. We also love clothing that doesn't wrinkle. In order to get our clothes to have those features, fabrics and yarns have been created that provide those benefits via the use of chemical processing.
A super helpful and informative article on this topic can be found in Goop: https://goop.com/wellness/food-planet/is-your-clothing-toxic/
In general, according to clean-fashion pioneer Marci Zaroff:
"Conventional cotton is grown with genetically modified seeds and sprayed heavily with Roundup (in which the primary ingredient is glyphosate, linked to cancer) and other toxic pesticides—and these persist in the fabric even after manufacturing. Many textiles also contain chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals), ammonia, and/or other harmful chemicals. Add to that heavy metals, PVC, and resins, which are involved in dyeing and printing processes."
"There are toxic chemicals behind treatments that make clothing wrinkle- or shrinkage-free, flame-resistant, waterproof, stain-resistant, mildew-resistant, or cling-free. All fabrics can accept these toxic finishes, so to avoid them, you need to specifically select products that haven’t been chemically finished.
Toxic surfactants called NPEs (nonylphenol ethoxylates) are commonly used as detergents in textile processing. When you wash these clothes, NPEs are released into the water, where they break down into nonylphenols—endocrine-disrupting chemicals that you are exposed to, and then which accumulate in the environment via the water supply and are highly toxic to fish and ocean wildlife." (see article link above for more details)
So what is a rider to do, if you want to be comfortable and maybe even look fabulous when riding your horse? Zaroff recommends looking for "GOTS-certified organic cotton and wool—free of pesticides, herbicides, NPEs, and GMOs, and dyed without harmful chemicals such as chlorine bleach, formaldehyde and heavy metals." She also states, "BlueSign and OEKO-TEX are standards that address and help to eliminate the harmful substances in textiles, increasing environmental health and safety. Both focus specifically on toxic chemicals that are added to many garments during the manufacturing process. Many brands also self-police, and issue their own restricted-substance lists. While OEKO-TEX and BlueSign are making great progress on the toxicity front, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) takes things a step further by considering the fiber source and other layers of production—it’s really the platinum standard for a truly sustainable textile, from the farm to the finished product."
That is why, when developing An Capall, we wanted to make sure we used fabrics that are OEKO-TEX and GOTS certified, whenever possible. We are passionate about creating clothing for riders that has all the comfort, UV protection, natural wicking and anti-odor properties of chemically treated/created lines, but that is made of natural fibers that are good for you and good for our planet.
We hope to create a brand you trust - one that designs gorgeous, comfortable and high-performance apparel for riders, but also one that does all it can to be eco-friendly and a good global citizen. To that end, we also donate a portion of our proceeds to organizations who help further those goals.
So, next time you go to purchase a riding shirt, make sure you read the fabric label and make sure you are not purchasing something that has harmful chemicals "baked" into the fabric. As much as you don't want to put cancer-causing lotion on your skin, you don't want to put toxic fabric against your skin either. Thankfully, you can have the best of both worlds with An Capall.
Rely on us to create eco-chic, safe and wonderfully comfy riding clothes, so you can focus on having fun in the saddle, at shows, on the trail and in the barn.