Fabrics

Published on March 18th, 2008 | by Skye Kilaen

2

Fabulous Fabrics: Oliveira Textiles

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oliveira pillows

Oliveira Textiles is a new kid on the block when it comes to organic fabrics. Their first fabrics, called the Ocean Collection, came out just last September. The Press section of their website shows that people are definitely noticing. Domino, At Home, Design New England, and Home and Garden magazines have already covered them. So have websites Design Sponge, Treehugger, decor8, ecofabulous, Salon, and more.

So what’s all the fuss about? Three fabrics – Wavelength, Shell Game, and Anemone – which are each available in three colorways. They’re all twill fabrics suitable for home decorating, made of hemp, organic cotton, or a blend. Printing is done with water-based non-toxic inks.

Oliveira Textiles is also working toward fair trade certification by the Global Organic Textile Standard.

Why use hemp? Their website explains:

Hemp is an ancient plant, ecologically friendly, biodegradable, strong and durable yet with a fabulous luster and soft hand; as well, hemp’s natural ability to screen out ultra-violet rays makes the fabric less prone to fading. We love everything about this fiber!

Sisters Dawn Oliveira and Deborah Olson were inspired to start Oliveira Textiles when family illnesses made them think about the role of environmental toxins in health. The Ocean Collection is a tribute to their father, a fisherman, and inspired by their childhood living by the sea.

Two locations, one U.S. and one Canadian, sell to retail customers. Like other organic home dec fabrics, the collection runs pricey. This isn’t a surprise. We’re at the beginning of a cultural shift, where fabric producers are rejecting methods of agriculture that have essentially poisoned people, animals, land, and water. Until more and more customers follow these producers and buy green, organics are going to be more expensive up front. The cost to your health and habitat, though, is much higher on the back end for traditional textiles.

My solution? Find someone who likes me a whole lot between now and my birthday!

Who makes your favorite sustainable fabric? Let us know what you love and we just might feature it in the next installment of Fabulous Fabrics.

[Image courtesy of Oliveira Textiles.]

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About the Author

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.



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