Frequently Asked Questions

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Why should textile brand owners consider switching to Organic cotton?

Over the past decades, many reports citing conventional cotton farming as one of agriculture's most environmentally destructive activities have triggered interest for garments made of organic cotton. Moreover, socially conscious people are demanding products made without exploitative labor – "fair made, not sweatshop made". With pressure already upon the garment industry for fair labor policies, why continue to support the use of toxic fibers manufactured with all disregard for human rights? The simple act of growing and harvesting the one pound of cotton fiber needed to make a T-shirt takes an enormous toll on the air, water, and soil, not to mention the health of people living and working in cotton country. RCM raising awareness about the negative health and environmental effects of conventional and genetically engineered cotton a priority. We consider that Organic cotton is the only viable alternative for bringing about a positive change in this situation.

 

What is organic cotton and how is it grown?

Organic cotton is cotton which has been grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Before a farm can be certified as Organic , it has to grow cotton organically for a minimum period of 3 years to ensure that all traces of chemicals and pesticides are removed from its soil and environment. Natural fertilizers and fertilizing techniques are used instead, including compost, manure, naturally derived mineral and plant fertilizers, and crop rotation. Third-party manure, naturally derived mineral and plant fertilizers, and crop rotation. Third-party certification is done by organizations verify that organic producers employ only approved natural methods and materials in organic production according to strictly enforced international standards.

 

How often is the chain of organic cotton production audited for certification?

A fully organic certified organic cotton chain of production (including farms) goes through annual inspections, as well as un-announced audits at the discretion of the inspector's judgment.

 

What documentation does a retailer or brand need to have available in order to prove that the cotton is genuine certified organic?

A retailer or brand selling a cotton products that are claimed to be made from organic cotton, must be able to prove that the cotton was produced in accordance with international standards (see GOTS international standards for organic cotton: www.global-standard.org )

Each certified organic operation will have an organic certificate that was issued to them by the certifying agent. Each organic cotton product must be traceable back to the operation where the cotton was produced by means of records kept by the certifying agent, producer, processor, manufacturer, and ultimately the brand or retailer. You can obtain the latest copy of RCM's certification on the RCM website: www.rcm-organic.com

 

How do farmers convert to Organic farming?

Many cotton farmers wish to convert to organic agriculture, because they have witnessed the benefits organic cotton can bring. However conversion to organic agriculture is a difficult process and farmers need to be sure that they will be able to sell their organic cotton fibres. By choosing to use organic cotton, you help to develop the demand, and hence to allow many more farmers to transform their lives.

 

Is cotton really natural?

Cotton has been cultivated and used to manufacture textiles for thousands of years. We find cotton fibers inside the fruit of the cotton plant. Cotton is indeed a natural fibre, like wool, linen and silk. However for the past 50 years or so, cotton has been grown using ever increasing amounts of chemicals such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Thus while cotton remains a natural fibre, modern cotton production is often far from "natural", unless it is organic.

 

Is there such a thing as an organic fabric?

An organic textile is a textile product (fabric, garment), made with organic cotton (or wool, etc) which has been processed and manufactured according to a set of "organic textile standards". Some chemicals remain essential but the most environmentally-friendly chemicals and processes are used. Unlike organic cotton fibre, there are no laws governing organic textiles; the standards are therefore set by private agencies (such as the Global Organic Textile Standards, or GOTS, used by the Soil Association).

 

What does organic cotton mean?

Organic cotton means a cotton fibre which has been grown according to the principles and rules of organic agriculture. Organic agriculture uses no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Organic fertilizers (such as compost) and plant-based pest management products (such as neem or garlic extract) are used. However, organic agriculture is not merely about replacing synthetic inputs with natural ones. The major principle is to restore a natural balance within the farm, with healthy soils, rich in organic matter. In such an environment, the pests are not systematically destroyed by poisons but are kept under control by their predators, just as they are in nature.

 

Some people say poor farmers would be better off growing food than cotton. Are they right?

These people are mistaken. First of all cotton is often the only "cash crop" poor subsistence farmers can grow to provide them with the necessary income to buy tools, clothes, school books, medicines, etc. Secondly, the concept of crop rotation is a major principle of organic agriculture. Organic cotton farmers typically grow twice as much food as cotton. This allows them to ensure "food security" (enough food) for their whole community. When farmers grow cotton organically they also grow, as a result, very healthy and nutritive organic food which is not contaminated by pesticides. We call this "food safety", and it is all thanks to organic cotton.

 

What are the benefits of Organic Cotton for the planet?

The 5 benefits of organic cotton production for the planet are (www.cottonedon.org):

  • Give control to farmers, not GM companies Organic farmers don't have their choices controlled by GM companies
  • Eliminate hazardous synthetic pesticides; Organic cotton doesn't use dangerous pesticides, protecting farmers' lives and the environment
  • Help farmers feed their families; Organic cotton enables farmers to grow other crops for food and income
  • Save precious water; Organic cotton uses less water, preserving a scarce and precious resource for the future
  • Combat climate change; Organic cotton farming uses less energy and healthy organic soils store more carbon

 

Why does RCM support Fair-trade?

Fair-trade represents respect for the social, economic and labour rights of farmers and workers. It encourages sustainable farming practices, protects the environment and improves the quality of health and well being for farmers and workers. Fair-trade enables the funding of community projects - the building of schools, health clinics, the building of wells for access to clean water, and education and training in business and agriculture. By supporting fair–trade practices, RCM brings support for the social and economic rights of the entire supply chain, including the farmers that are behind each product.

 

Why choose India for your organic cotton products?

India has one of the longest and most respected textile traditions in the world, which means it provides you access to some of the highest quality production facilities, all in compliance with Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). For quality, price, volume and scale, India is the destination for organic cotton.

 

What is Thread Count?

Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads in 1 square inch of woven cotton. Contrary to popular belief, higher thread count doesn't necessarily translate into higher quality – the quality of the product depends directly on the weaving process and the quality of the yarn used.

 

What is sateen?

Sateen is a cotton fabric with a luster resembling that of satin. It is used for sheets and apparel and is known for its soft, smooth texture. Long-fiber, combed or carded cotton is used to make sateen. The cotton is then mercerized to bring out a sheen. This mercerized luster is one of the hallmarks of good sateen. The material should be very soft to the touch, with a high thread count, and should drape well. It uses the satin stitch in construction, which means the threads are mostly on one side of the fabric, giving that smooth look.

 

What is percale?

Percale is a closely-woven, plain weave fabric with a thread count of at least 180. Mainly associated with bed sheets, it is also in garment making. Percale is made from cotton or cotton blends. Percale has a rich history, originating in India and then becoming popular in France. Percale sheets have a crisp, soft feel that is smooth and cool against the skin.

 

What is jersey?

Jersey fabric is a type of knit textile made from cotton or a cotton blend. Some common uses for jersey fabric include t-shirts and winter bedding. The fabric is warm, flexible, stretchy, and very insulating, making it a popular choice for the layer worn closest to the body. Jersey also tends to be soft, making it very comfortable. A knitting machine is used to make jersey, since it can create the small, even, close grained stitches associated with jersey fabric. Like many other knit fabrics, jersey fabric has a right side and a wrong side. The right side of the material is marked by a series of very small lines which run vertically, and the wrong side has a horizontal grain. In most cases, a garment made from jersey fabric is sewn with the right side facing out, unless the seamstress is making a deliberate stylistic choice.

 

What is flannel?

Generally, a cotton or wool fabric, which has been napped on one or both sides followed by a bleaching, dyeing or printing process and then brushed or rerun through the napping machine to revive the nap. The cloth is subjected to milling and raising treatment, to give a very soft handle.

A light to medium weight woven fabric with a soft, slightly napped surface. Flannel shrinks if not pre-shrunk and sags with wear, unless underlined. Does not shine or wrinkle.

 

What is Interlock?

Interlock is a doubleknit fabric that looks smooth on both sides. It's commonly used for such clothing as cotton turtlenecks. If you stretch it crosswise, you can see that both sides of the fabric are actually rib knits -- k1p1 etc, all the way across the rows, but the two sides of the fabric are interlocked so the two "layers" act as one.

 

What is "Rib Knit"?

A double-knit fabric in which the vertical rows of stitches intermesh alternatively on the face and the back of the fabric. Rib knit fabrics have good elasticity and shape retention, especially in the width. This knitted fabric is used for complete garments and for such specialized uses as sleeve bands, neck bands, sweater waistbands, and special types of trims for use with other knit or woven fabrics. Lightweight sweaters in rib knits provide a close, body-hugging fit.

 

Can Organic Cotton containing elasthane (lycra) be certified by GOTS?

Organic Cotton with Lycra is used in a variety of apparel and other products. This fabric is always high on demand because of its qualities: stretchability, wear resistant, no pilling. GOTS standards allow up to 5% to be blended into the Organic cotton.

 

What are the benefits of organic bedding?

The growth and harvest of organic cotton is good for the environment. Moreover, Organic bedding is incredibly comfortable – you can really feel the difference. Choosing to buy organic products also decreases the use of agrochemicals. Organic cotton bedding may also be better for your health. Residual chemicals in normal cotton products have the potential to cause irritation.

 

How do I care for organic cotton bedding?

There is no difference in the way that you should take care of your organic cotton bedding in comparison to how you launder and clean other cotton bedding. Use your washing machine to wash your organic cotton sheets in warm water just like you would any other bedding.

 

What are the disadvantages of non-organic bedding?

Ordinary non-organic bedding may contain residual chemicals from the production process. This can irritate people with sensitive skin or allergies. The processing of non-organic bedding relies heavily on the use of chemicals. These chemicals may remain in your bedding and affect your nervous and respiratory system. The effects of these chemicals may include headaches, dizziness, difficulties with memory and difficulties with sleeping. Organic cotton bedding has none of these side effects and will ensure that you get a good night's sleep without of these health hazards.

 

Can I order ready-to-dye fabrics from RCM?

Yes –you can order "Greige" fabric. If you plan to dye or print on these fabrics you will need to wash and prepare them first. We recommend pre-washing and drying your fabric prior to dyeing, printing, or cutting patterns, and using regular eco detergents and high-heat drying to ensure that any fabric changes happen before the fabric is used.

 

Can I order stock fabrics from RCM?

You can buy stock fabrics from our fabrics warehouse by contacting our customer service department and asking for the stocklist? All of the items sold from our warehouse stock are sold at wholesale prices.

 

What kind of dyes are used in your organic fabric

We use low-impact, fiber-reactive dyes in an environmentally-sensitive facility. They have low heavy metal content, no formaldehyde, and are finished in accordance with the Global Organic Textile requirements. Bleaching is done with eco-friendly hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).Hydrogen Peroxide is a natural chemical which is not harmful to the people fabrics or the environment.

 

What fabric is best for making sheets and bed linens?

RCM offers several fabrics that are perfect for making sheets, comforters, duvets, and pillowcases. Our 300 count Sateen, which comes in both 60" and 113" width, is one of our best-selling fabric for making bedding. We also offer a 100 Count and 300-count Percale in wide width. All of our bedding fabrics are particularly well suited for babies' crib sheets and bedding for children as well!

 

What fabrics do you recommend for babies and kids wear?

We carry Interlock, Rib Knit, and several weights of Jersey (one which has 5% lycra) that are wonderful fabrics for making children's clothing. All these fabrics have just a tiny bit of "give" that will make the comfy fit that kids need.

 

Do you have minimum order quantities (MOQ)?

Yes, we do. MOQs vary according to the fabrics, the colors (for dye lots) and the references in each article. For this reason, it is necessary to consult with our customer service representatives to know exactly which MOQ applies to your needs.

 

What are your delivery times?

Most fabric orders take 45 days to arrive in-house. Our normal production time is 90 days. We can execute orders in 60 days if the fabric is in stock .

 

How do I place an order?

Orders can be placed directly through our customer service representatives. After contacting us and determining your needs, you will be assigned a merchandiser to follow-up on the development of your products. Your merchandiser will give you all the information you need regarding prices, MOQ, lead times, etc. When you are ready to place the order, your merchandiser can guide you in the process. An advance of 50% is required to begin and the remaining 50% is payable upon shipment of your goods.

 

Why do you require an advance payment?

We have to provide pre-financing to farmers of our organic cotton project so that they can grow Cotton Organically. Farmers have to be paid at the time of Harvest and harvesting is done in the months of November to January. Hence advance payment from customers helps us in pre-financing farmers.

Also fabric mills and other suppliers require payment in advance to start production and require complete payment at the time of fabric delivery. Your advance payment is made in the spirit of the Fair Trade principles. It allows us to order your fabric and trims and start production without indebting our own structure. This participation is a very important part of the Fair Trade chain and is necessary for companies in developing countries to avoid borrowing at high rates and going into debt.

 

How will my order be shipped?

When your order is processed and ready to ship, we will inform you and you should advise your merchandiser of the method you wish to use to ship the goods. Depending on the weight, value, destination and urgency of the shipment, you may choose to ship by air, sea, or courier.

 

What about certification?

RCM's Organic Cotton is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certified. You can buy with confidence and peace of mind in knowing that the goods you are buying are certified organic, and the business you're buying from has values aligned with your own. (see our certifications on the website).

 

Can RCM develop my own line of baby clothes?

RCM's in-house tailors and sampling department are there to help you develop your designs for babies, infants, toddlers and children of all ages. We have extensive experience in this area and are producing currently for a number of major brands in Europe and the US.

 

Can RCM develop my own line of fashion garments?

RCM's in-house tailors and sampling department are there to help you develop your designs for Women, Men and children of all ages. We have extensive experience in this area and are producing currently for a number of major brands in Europe and the US.

 

Can RCM develop my own line of tee shirts and print my designs on them?

RCM's in-house tailors and sampling department are there to help you develop your tee shirt designs for Women, Men and children of all ages. We have extensive experience in this area and are producing currently for a number of major brands in Europe and the US. Our in-house printing department can fill the majority of your printing requirements on request.

 

What information is necessary to Provide a Quotation?

Type of product, quantities and technical specifications:
fabric content
fabric weight
fabric color
label type
label size
label location
embellishment type (printing, embroidery, other)
embellishment size
embellishment location
Once we have these questions covered we can begin setting up for production. Production is to your exact specifications for each order. Orders begin with buying the fabric/yarn, then knitting or weaving, dyeing, cutting, printing, sewing, labeling, and finally packaging your product. Turnaround times vary depending on each order's requirements. A standard production run will take about 90 days.

 

Do you have Minimums?

We understand the need for smaller companies to custom manufacture garments according to their standards and specific requirements. In certain cases we can accept orders as low as 500 pieces per style that have basic requirements. Per style means per color, per design. So one printed logo in two fabric color variations is considered two different styles. Anytime the fabric color or print changes, then it is considered a different style.

 

What is your Sample policy?

We will always work on a production sample for approval before beginning an order. Samples must be made to ensure all specific details are in line. For samples we require a sample fee, but that fee will be put towards your deposit when starting the order. Average sample time is 15-21 days after receiving all the required specifications of the order. Sample fees vary based on each orders requirements. Generally we require 2 times the normal FOB costs towards sampling charges.

 

Can you provide me a Quote?

We can provide quotes either FOB or CIF. Sea shipments will ship from the port in Mumbai India, and shipping/insurance must be arranged and paid for by the buyer. CIF quotes include contract manufacturing, insurance, and delivery. Air shipments are from Calcutta or Delhi, depending on the order.

 

What is your normal Turnaround?

Turnaround varies with each order based on specific requirements. Most orders will be around 90 days in production. More common garments such as t-shirts may spend less time in production, but orders requiring technical fabrics will require extra time to make. All orders are custom made according to your specifications, so orders with more requirements or unique fabric will take longer to produce.

 

What are your Payment terms?

The standard for orders is 50/50. We require a 50% deposit to begin. When production is finished we compile a finished production report with the order details and photos of the completed products. Then the final payment of 50% is due. After confirming final payment your order will leave our factory and be on its way. Acceptable payment methods include bank transfer, or L/C.

 

Can you help me to choose the Right Fabric?

We deal with a wide range of fabrics. If you have an exact fabric you are trying to match we can usually make it for you. We do manufacture garments with other eco-friendly fabrics such as bamboo, linen, wool and hemp… Depending on the function of your garment, we can help you select the right fabric to best fit your objectives.

 

What Fabric Specs do you require?

Fabric details including content, weight, desired hand feel and desired function that are needed to make custom fabrics. We make all common or special fabrics, and can also replicate certain client supplied fabric swatches.

 

How do I choose my Colors?

The international numbering system used for printing and dyeing textiles is the TPX Color Matching System from Pantone. This is universally used in the textile industry. We suggest supplying TPX numbers so there are no discrepancies on color tones. Samples or swatches with exact colors that need to be matched may sent to us, we then can help gather correct TPX numbers that will be used for dyeing and printing. Lab dips will be provided to customer for selection and validation of the color for production.

 

What is your Shipping policy?

We can handle shipping your order directly to your door, or we can provide quotes based on FOB pricing and you may handle your own shipping arrangements. Depending on the size of your order, delivery date, and budget, you can choose the shipping option that best suits your need. For smaller orders air shipping is a good option. We work with UPS, FedEx and DHL to provide affordable 5-7 day air shipping to your doorstep for many countries. Rates vary based on exact weight and volume of each shipment. If you are shipping a smaller sized order such as 500 t-shirts, air shipping may be your best option based on cost compared with delivery time. For larger orders sea shipment is suggested to save on shipping costs. Depending on the fabric and garment type we ship most orders from Mumbai port. Sea transport time varies among carriers and destinations. Ex: Orders to Rotterdam take around 25 days from our port. For a shipping estimate provide the order destination address to your sales rep and we can provide a quote.

 

What is your code of Ethics?

We know that our customers are concerned about the conditions their products are produced under. We continuously inspect and approve our facilities to meet and maintain our high ethical labor standards. We provide photos of your order in production and always welcome any customers who wish to visit our facilities. The working conditions and the well being of our workers are of utmost importance to us.

 

What is the difference between organic and eco-friendly clothing?

Eco-friendly is just a term which can be used without any specific requirements. Organic on the other hand is a label which requires certifications. The cotton used in our organic products is grown and processed using methods set forth by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

 

Will the fact that the clothing is organic raise the cost of the garment?

This is a point that often comes up in the organic industry – clothing and also vegetables, fruit, meat, and everything that can bear an organic label is bound to be a little more expensive overall than products which are not controlled, audited and certified. We think it's important to explain why the cost is a bit higher on labeled items. Organic cotton is more expensive to grow because they do not use conventional chemical fertilizers to kill weeds and fight insects. Organic cotton is more expensive to harvest because they do not use chemical harvest-aids and is more labor intensive resulting in higher harvest costs. Furthermore, the cost of the certifications also increase the cost of the cotton and also the fact that farmers are paid fair trade premiums.

 

Are there special care or laundry instructions for organic cotton garments?

The recommended instructions are usually: Machine wash inside out in cold water. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low. Remove promptly.

 

Other than being environmentally friendly, are there any other benefits to garments being organic cotton?

Besides the environmental benefits related to organic cotton, the quality of the textiles produced from organic cotton is substantially higher. Organic cotton plants produce longer-stable cotton fibers which yield stronger yarn and more durable fabrics. Also, the omission of chlorine bleaches and other harsh chemicals implies that the fabrics are less "stressed" and likely to wear longer.
Moreover there are indications that organic cotton fabrics are more gentle to the skin, while as certain conventional fabrics may produce skin irritations and allergic reactions in sensitive subjects.

 

How is your factory audited?

The factory has been audited by by a third party European auditor for the SA8000 certificate and this is updated yearly. We are also audited annually by Control Union in order to maintain our GOTS standards certification for organic cotton products and processes. The US Fair Trade association has also audited our facilities for Fair Labor practices and granted us their certification.

 

How often and by what means are workers paid?

Workers and staff are paid by cash or by bank transfer every month. All workers are paid well above the minimum wage stipulated by the Government. In addition to Wages , workers receive many allowances and premiums such as House Rent allowance (5%) Provident fund (12%) , yearly bonus (14% of total wages) , Canteen allowances , transport , medical insurance benefits for themselves and their families , etc.

 

How are wages calculated?

Government fixes the minimum wages and this is revised from time to time . The trade unions negotiate the wages with us . We have 2 registered National level trade unions . CITU union and AITTUC which are the largest trade unions in the country. The wage level depends upon skill, experience and the job of the worker. Overtime is paid at 2 times the normal wage.

 

How do your workers get to the job site?

Some workers live near the factory . Those either walk to work or come on bicycles. For workers who live far away, we have a company bus which picks and drops them from particular points in the city . This helps them to come to work with greater ease.

 

Do you help with worker's children's education?

RCM supports education for over 160 our worker's children. This program has been running since 2009.

 

What other benefits do you provide workers?

A full well-balanced meal is served daily to all RCM employees . The company pays 70% of the cost of the meal and the worker pays only 30%; this comes to about Rs 6 or US$ 0.10 per meal.

 

What are you doing about renewable energy?

Our dye houses use Rice husk , which is a waste product from the processing of rice for generating steam. They do not burn fossil fuel and thus are able to earn carbon credits. In our own factories emphasis is given on using energy saving CFL lights.

 

Do you have a water efficient program?

Our dye houses recycle and reuse the majority of their process water. They have reverse osmosis plants to purify the water which can then be reused.

 

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Certifications