It's Time to Come Clean List
At ROTE, we believe being conscientious of what goes into what we wear is another form of self-care. Grounded in transparency and an intentional eye toward eliminating toxicity in clothing – at every step of development – here’s a look behind the label and ROTE's It’s Time to Come Clean™ List
No Azo Dyes:
Azo dyes are frequently used to dye clothing as they are inexpensive and produce excellent results; however, they have a carcinogenic nature when they break down. Water-soluble, azo dyes are easy for the skin to absorb which can cause symptoms including skin and eye irritation. Given this toxicity, the EU has restricted or banned them. The dyes are still prevalent in fast fashion clothing produced in other parts of the world.
Currently, ROTE's label is screen printed using algae ink rather than dye, revealing the toxic ingredients left out of our products – our “It’s Come To Clean” list. ROTE does not have garments requiring dyes in the production process. As we expand and dive into new hues, we pledge to use only natural dyes. Natural dyes require time and are labor-intensive and expensive, but we are committed.
While we’re all familiar with bleach and its benefits – from household cleaning to oral care beauty – its aftermath remains a mystery. In textile production, bleach is used in the dying process to achieve “full white” or remove a material's natural color. Despite its superficial style merits, bleach can irritate the eyes, mouth, skin and lungs – even from our clothes.
ROTE began as a quest for the perfect organic white t-shirt, but during the exploratory process we quickly learned that white is impossible to create without bleach. So we launched the perfect off-white t-shirt, which is not only chic, but clean, dye-free and unbleached.
Until ROTE, we had no idea formaldehyde – a known human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer – was in clothing. With its excellent preserving properties, the chemical is prevalent in clothing production for wrinkle and crease resistance, and helps dyes and inks better penetrate fabrics; it also plays a significant role in the fashion industry to help prevent mildew when transporting. Headaches and sore throats arise for many when wearing new clothes without washing them, due to formaldehyde. The chemical can also cause respiratory problems and skin irritation.
ROTE has gone to extensive lengths and testing to ensure formaldehyde is not part of the production process – at any point – to ensure toxic-free garments from design to delivery.
Officially known as nonylphenol ethoxylates, NPEs are used in textile production as wetting agents, detergents, and emulsifiers – NPEs release once you wash your clothing, breaking down to form toxic nonylphenol (NP), a persistent chemical with hormone-disrupting properties. NP has proven hazardous even at very low levels, leading to an EU ban of NPEs in clothing production since 2004.
ROTE works intimately with carefully selected mills and factories to ensure NPEs are not included in any phase of our production process.
PFAs, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are manufactured "forever chemicals" that migrate into the environment, building up in our bodies, and never breaking down in the environment. PFAs are often used for fabric or textile treatments because of their water and dirt-repellent properties. Unfortunately PFAs have been used for decades and can be found in various products, including cookware, clothing, and cosmetics.
ROTE collaborated with our production partners to ensure materials are not treated with water or stain-resistant properties.
We often hear the word phthalates connected to personal care and home products but this “everywhere chemical” which has been linked to hormone disruption and cancer, is often used in fashion via decorative printing and logos.
ROTE has worked tirelessly to remove phthalates from the development and finishing process. In addition to eradicating the chemical, we have chosen algae ink - a renewable and eco-friendly black pigment produced from algae by-product – to screen print tags (no hang tags = lower carbon footprint) and logo to ensure a chemical free t-shirt.
It’s hard to imagine why plastic would be in our clothing, yet recycled materials – acrylic, nylon, and polyester among them – are made from microplastics. When microplastics are heated, through the course of daily wash and wear, they leach and are absorbed by the skin and our environment; ingestion and inhalation can lead to an array of health issues particularly hindering the recovery and development of our lungs.
ROTE clothing is made from 100% organic cotton. In addition to never using synthetic materials in our garments, we do not use plastics in our packaging, we do not use azo-dyes for branding.
It’s Time to Come Clean™ is more than our mantra, it’s our purpose.
Sources: EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database; Greenpeace; National Institute of Environment Health Science; CDC: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Cotton INC.