November 24, 2005
Sustainable luxury. It’s a term that on the surface sounds like an oxymoron. After all, today’s version of luxury is usually defined by excessive excess. But there are products out there that are created from quality materials that have the feel of luxury, yet still promote sustainability. Such are the sheets, towels, blankets and clothing created and sold by a California company called Coyuchi. Based in Point Reyes Station, Calif., Coyuchi makes its products strictly from cotton that is organically grown in India. Their concept is based on two seemingly divergent goals. The first is to provide the people who purchase their bedding with a feel that is spectacular. The sheets make you want to stay in bed longer than you should. The throws and blankets make you long for cool nights, and the towels will encourage bathing at least twice a day. There is just something about the nature (no pun intended) of their fabrics that makes you feel better wearing or wrapping yourself up in them. And we’re not talking nappy hemp here. The designs are simple and elegant. The colors compliment the styles and tones of the day (pomegranate is the latest shade), and since the company’s founding in 1991, they have been on the cutting edge of bedding design. The second part of Coyuchi’s plan is just as important, if not more so. They are committed to doing the right thing. The right thing for their suppliers and the right thing for Mother Earth. All of the cotton used in their products is handpicked in India. The contracts they sign with their suppliers guarantees a wage to the growers cooperatives that is above the market rate. As a result the cooperatives are given an incentive to use techniques which are not only better for the health of the employees but are better for the fields in which the cotton grows. Coyuchi works with international organic-sanctioning institutions to ensure that the cotton they use meets organic standards and has been grown in fields that are pesticide-free and do not rely on chemical-based fertilizers. The workers, as many as 2,500, are paid well, and the fields in which they grow their cotton are sustainable. At the loftlike space of Coyuchi’s world headquarters, one gets the sense that they’re not just selling sheets. They are committed to a lifestyle that embodies the ideas that their products stand for. You can see and order Coyuchi bedding, towels and clothing at http://www.coyuchi.com. Doing so will place you in the lap of luxury while helping sustain the planet. Sounds like a win-win.