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Leela Cotton is a family-run company founded by Susanne and Kemal Bektaş, two life-long environmentalists and partners. The story goes back to the early 90s, their search for organic, free of harmful chemicals, gentle-to-skin and safe-to-wear clothes for their firstborn. This search has led them to Izmir in Western Turkiye, which has one of the finest organic cotton worldwide, Aegean cotton.
Leela Cotton has focused on sourcing sustainably from trusted factories to provide thoughtfully designed organic clothes to be safe for the us and the environment. Since the first day the brand was founded in 1994, Leela Cotton has constantly searched for new material alternatives, design and production techniques for a more livable world.
At Leela Cotton, our mission is to provide eco-friendly, fairly-made, long-lasting products that are comfortable and gentle on skin. To achieve this mission, we consider our environmental and social impacts from raw materials to the end-of-use by following our eight principles for a better future.
8 PRINCIPLES FOR A BETTER FUTURE:
Cotton is one of the most used materials in clothes, yet it is considered the dirtiest crop in the World. Conventionally-grown cotton requires lots of water and chemicals, contaminates soil and groundwater, and affects farmers' health. On the other hand, organic cotton prohibits the use of toxic chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)..
As a result, it does not retain harmful toxic residues on its surface, which is perfect for sensitive and allergic skin.
100% of our cotton usage is Aegean organic cotton that has no harm to the soil, water, or the health of the farmer and wearer. From the cultivation of our cotton to the final product, the entire process is certified by Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS Organic).
Our cotton is allergy-tested and free of heavy metals, optical brighteners, and chlorine bleach as a part of GOTS Organic certification. In addition, we have a list of restricted chemicals that may harm the health of the planet, textile workers and the wearer. Accessories such as buttons or zippers are made from mostly natural materials – the buttons are made of wood and the zippers are nickel-free metal.
In accordance with the GOTS guidelines, the end products are randomly tested by the Bremen Environmental Institute.
We only work with trusted producers that we know closely how they operate.
All steps in our processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling and trading are covered by GOTS, which has strict ecological and social criteria.
GOTS social criteria, based on the fundamental norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), must be met by all manufacturers we work with.
The social criteria that we follow are;
-Employment is freely chosen, and no forced overtime.
-No precarious employment is provided.
-Freedom of association and collective bargaining
-Child labor shall not be used
-No discrimination based on race, skin color, nationality, religion, ethnic origin, age, civil status, pregnancy, or gender. Maternity and sickness benefits are provided for all workers.
-Compliance with industrial health and safety regulations.
-No harassment, violence, and disciplinary practices.
-No payment under minimum wage determined by the authorities.
We design our products to be comfortable, functional and durable. We prioritize timeless design, high-quality fabric and workmanship, keeping functionality and easy-to-use in mind.
The fashion we love is not "fast"! We don't need new silhouettes, colors, or patterns every new season. The style of LEELA COTTON is independent of changing trends yet desirable and functional. The seasonal fashion calendar dictated by the fast-fashion industry is not for us.
We design high-quality, enjoyable products that can accompany our customers on their journey for as long as possible, while also caring for the future of our planet.
Transportation plays a significant role in the overall environmental impact. That's why our entire manufacturing process is held within a very small area of Turkey. Our products travel only between 100-200 km during production stages, from raw material to the garment.
After manufacturing, we ship the products to our warehouse in Bremen via sea or rail systems. So we don't cause any unnecessary carbon emissions through transportation. We use DHL Go Green and DPD Carbon-neutral services for our deliveries.
We minimize our packaging for internal storage and delivery of finished products. We do NOT use poly bags, which cover every single garment from manufacturing to retail stores, a very common practice in the fashion industry as an example of overpacking.
Very few packages we use to avoid damage to the products are reusable, recyclable, or compostable. They are perfect to compost in your compost bin.
All paper material we use, from our hangtags to our boxes, is FSC certified. It ensures that products come from verified and responsible sources that have met strict environmental and social requirements.
The whole team must be engaged with our sustainability vision. That's why we encourage practicing environmentally-friendly habits at LEELA COTTON.
We stand against any form of animal cruelty. All products at LEELA COTTON are vegan. As a longtime vegan family, we provide a vegan-friendly workplace to make it easier for our employees to go vegan for ethical and health reasons. Additionally, veganism contributes to our environmental goals by reducing soil degradation and greenhouse gas emission related to meat production.
We support our team in taking alternative modes of transportation to and from the office. Located in Bremen, having many cycle paths, we cycle to work almost every day.
We recycle our waste, organize regular training and periodically gather ideas on how to reduce our ecological footprint in the workplace and our operations.
We are not perfect! We're constantly searching for new material alternatives, design and production techniques to make our products more sustainable and responsible. In addition, we continually strive to improve our supply chain and internal operations.