In our hurried lives we may not think about the positive environmental impact we can make with our everyday purchases, especially in regards to clothing. Organic clothing and other textiles have many health and environmental benefits for consumers, farmers, and the water and air we share. Kiran Patil is an expert in organic clothing and a contributing writer for the online website, Organic Facts–Let’s Get Healthy Together. He notes in his article “Benefits of Organic Cotton Clothing” that “the production of organic cotton does not involve the use of chemicals, [causing] fewer allergies… and reduces respiratory problems and smells pleasant.”
Conventionally produced cotton accounts for almost 25% of insecticides and 10% of pesticides throughout the world, while it is grown on only 3% of the total cultivated lands, writes Patil. Conventional cotton production’s excessive use of pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers contaminates ground water, the air we breathe, and hurts environmental biodiversity.
Organic cotton and textiles is the clear choice for consumers trying to make a positive personal and environmental impact with their purchases. Fortunately, there are several clothing companies, such as Blue Canoe, Fair Indigo, prAna, Patagonia, Garnet Hill, and SOHO McKinney that sell organic cotton and flax clothing. This article focuses on SOHO McKinney and its owner-designer, Robin Cook.
The pictures above showcase Robin’s lovely clothing and textile shop in a light filled basement space below the Barrons–Estate Buyer & Jewelers shop in downtown McKinney, TX. Customers venture down steps, decorated with pretty flower pots and watering cans, and find themselves immersed in a tiny slice of France. The white tiled floors, white walls, and dappled light spilling in from ceiling windows illuminate the beautiful, organic, hand made clothing. French music floats through the air, and Robin’s calm demeanor add to the This-Can’t-Be-Texas vibe.
As you will find on her social media sites, Robin designs “clothing for women offering simplicity, comfort and timelessness. All the fabrics I use are natural and sustainable. All limited production is completed in Texas” she mentions in an article from the McKinney Art Studio Tour (MAST) website.
Photos above– Left: authentic pair of blue cotton French work overalls hangs behind a white organic button down dress. Top center: entry table surrounded by dish towels and antique mirror. Right: stairs leading up to McKinney square. Bottom center: smaller room within shop displaying mainly night gowns.
Her French inspired and American-designed clothing pieces are all hand made by seamstresses in Texas; they are all unique and one-of-a-kind. Robin says her “affinity for vintage French fabric, natural linen, and homespun cotton informs the cut and movement of each garment.” She travels to France and Europe to find organic materials for her creations.
Montmartre, France, is one place she finds beautiful fabric. Montmartre sits on a 430 ft. hill in the northern section of Paris and is part of the Right Bank. It is mostly known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur (in Paris’s 18th arrondissement), but it also has an artistic history, nightclubs, and home to many fabric shops (wikipedia).
She also loves the flee markets in Paris’ Marche aux Puces St-Quen. This is a sprawling network of warehouses, stands, and alleyways on Paris’ northern edge. It is the “largest antiques and second-hand market in the world and the fourth most visited attraction in France” (theculturetrip.com). Some say it would take a lifetime or more to explore all the alleys and booths here. The Marche aux Puces is only open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00am-6:00pm and Mondays from 11:00am to 5:00pm.
The pictures below were taken by Robin during her various travels to France. The hand-drawn map shows some of Robin’s favorite places for finding some of the organic textiles used for SOHOMcKinney.
Robin also travels by train from Paris to Toulouse, France, where she rents a car and drives to Brocante Vide-greniers in Cahors. Brocantes are basically second-hand flea markets, and most French towns have them. Here, vintage French textiles and 100 year-old homespun linen sheets can be found, which she ships to the states and makes skirts with big pockets and jackets. She notes that each of these creations has a different texture and colors in cream, white, and grey. Provence is another of Robin’s favorite places for finding textiles.
Those of us who live in or close to McKinney have a little slice of authentic France available to us. An online store and shipping is available, as well. While organic and uniquely designed clothing is usually more pricey than conventionally made clothes, it is worth the investment in yourself and everyone involved in this authentic clothing production. Additionally, wearing clothes with timeless flair and made from quality organic fabric is a healthy move for you and our planet.
Robin Cook’s SOHO McKinney designs are wardrobe staples that are lovely, durable, and timeless.
Connect with SOHO McKinney phone 214-500-0756 Instagram sohomckinney Facebook soho mckinney address 115 E. Virginia St., ste. B, McKinney, TX 75069 https://sohomckinney.com/pages/about
Morse-Elington, Holly. “What is the Meaning of Brocante, Vide-Grenier and Braderie?” FLEAmarket INSIDERS, 30 June 2019, https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/what-is-brocante-vide-grenier-braderie/. (hanging indent implied)
Patil, Kiran. “Benefits of Organic Cotton Clothing.” Organic Facts: Let’s Get Healthy Together, 24 Feb. 2020, https://www.organicfacts.net/organic-cotton-clothing.html. (hanging indent implied)
“Montmartre”, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montmartre.
SOHO McKinney–Robin Cook Travels for Organic Textiles by Sarah Heinzelmann Andersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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