Earth-friendly Organic Clothing

(from left) Josh Meneley, Michelle Marsh and Lauren Adelman hope to document the plight of Indian cotton farmers. Coco Zickos photo

Cotton soaks up water and exhausts soil of nutrients, so founders of Human Revolution Clothing want to promote alternative plants, fabrics

North Shore residents Lauren Adelman, Michelle Marsh and Josh Meneley are revolutionizing the way people think about clothing by creating an environmentally conscious clothing line that helps support organic, sustainable farming.

“We’ve got really big plans,” says Adelman, who founded their nonprofit organization Human Revolution Clothing.

People don’t realize how economically and ecologically unfriendly their clothes are.

“Cotton is known as the dirtiest and the thirstiest crop that exists,” she says of the largely genetically modified crop. “It’s taking a huge toll on all of our earth’s natural resources, the fertility of our soil and the potency of the minerals and nutrients. It’s also taking a toll on farmers.”

Third World country farmers bear the biggest burden.

“It’s heartbreaking, I can’t even believe it,” she says.

Parts of India are coined with terms like the “suicide belt” and “GM genocide” because of the sheer number of cotton farmers taking their lives because of financial strain.

Farmers earn very little and must acquire loans to afford the expensive livelihood.

“They end up so far in debt so that there is no way out other than committing suicide,” says Adelman.

Approximately 200,000 Indian cotton farmers have taken their lives since 1997, according to CNN and other news reports.

After conducting years of research, Adelman is more than ready to launch her organic clothing line and is taking a trip to India this month with Marsh and Meneley to kick-start the project. In fact, the group has connected with an Indian organization called Suminter India Organics, which is helping farmers transition to sustainable practices and plans to assist Human Revolution Clothing in developing its first sample of clothing to bring back to Kaua’i.

The three partners also will film a documentary of their journey.

“We’re not going in with a biased understanding, just more inquisitive to show people what’s happening,” says Adelman, who is taking a journalistic approach to the film.

The documentary will shed light on the infrastructure of the cotton industry.

“There is no real consumer information, unless you dig deep, about clothing,” says Adelman. “We definitely want to dig deeper.”

“Nobody talks about it,” agrees Meneley, who owns a video production company.

“If you want to know about (the cotton industry), it’s there, but people usually don’t think about it in those terms,” adds Marsh.”They don’t think about it as being a crop that comes from seeds. They just think about the clothing that they want to wear.”

While there is already a movement for organic food, there is not enough energy being spent on changing the production of clothing. Human Revolution Clothing is helping to push that movement to the fore-front of consumers’ minds by not only filming the documentary, but providing affordable organic clothing options for the island and manifesting better opportunities for global farmers.

“We’re all about the local community, and everything we do, we try to support the local community in our personal lives as much as possible,” says Adelman. “But at the same time, we have to think about our global community especially when a lot of our goods, especially our clothing, is not being made on this island.”

“We want to make sure we’re affecting the consumers here on Kaua’i specifically to give them options, just like you have so many food choices here,” adds Marsh, who has been involved in nonprofit and volunteer work since childhood. “We want people in this community to be able to have choices for affordable organic clothing that’s having a good impact on the earth.”

“I just can’t not do this,” says Adelman. “It’s what’s in my heart, and there is no turning back.”

Human Revolution Clothing is holding a fundraising event May 26 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Metamorphes in Kilauea. There will be live music, door prizes and a silent auction.

Visit humanrevolutionclothing.com or the organization’s Facebook page for more information.

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