A few weeks ago, I attended an innovative & enjoyable interior design event, held at the Theo Chocolate factory in Seattle.

If you’re wondering what chocolate has to do with design, this struck me as such a fun concept I couldn’t resist the opportunity to learn more.                                                                    

As it happened, the chocolate fest was held in tandem with the viewing of a locally owned fabric collection from O’Ecotextiles.

What these two companies – and their products  – have in common is an environmentally conscious footprint. In other words, from start to finish, both the chocolate, and the fabrics, are sustainably manufactured!

On their website, Theo’s Chocolates boasts they are “the ONLY Organic, Fair-Trade, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory in the United States!”

O’Ecotextiles describes their fabrics as “Opulent, Yet Organic” and “Sensuous, yet Sustainable”.

Tempting, yes?

Well, I’d like to share some sobering statistics about the many fabrics, luscious and otherwise, that we surround ourselves with on a daily basis.

What most of us don’t realize, is that there are over 2000 chemicals used in fabric production.

That’s right – 2000!

You can be sure that most of them are highly toxic, and harmful to both your health and the environment.

Yet the average person has no idea.

Here are a few more sobering thoughts, courtesy of O’Ecotextiles:

  • Fabric production is the #1 polluter of fresh water on the planet. (Apparently there’s an on-going joke in China, that ‘you can tell what color is in fashion by looking at the rivers.’)
  • As with paint, and carpets, the chemicals in fabrics – such as formaldehyde, arsenic & phthalates – are absorbed through the skin or from off-gassing.
  • Most of these chemicals are relatively new, and have only been in use since the mid-20th century.
  • Textile clippings are so toxic they are treated as hazardous waste, and subject to OHSA regulations.
  • Many children suffer from increased health issues and food allergies.

These facts alone are enough to give one pause, and to think twice about the fabrics we bring into our homes.

Perhaps you’ve already embraced a ‘Green’ lifestyle, using non-VOC paints, recycling whenever possible, or buying organic foods. Along with this, making eco-friendly choices has to do with greater awareness, and being ever vigilant of your purchases.

Yet, when it comes to fabric, what is realistic?

As with everything, I recommend baby steps. Do what works best for you and your family.

If you’re so inclined, stop worrying and have a piece of chocolate.

Yes – this enjoyable evening did include a tour of the chocolate factory, and lots of sampling.

If you live in the area, I highly recommend a visit.