Sustainable and organic children’s clothing brands
There are so many good children’s clothes on the market, we are definitely spoilt for choice. Looking a little closer at labels though, while it may be great to get bargains and ‘throw away’, ‘fast fashion’ clothes that can be replaced after a few washes, it would be so much better to choose brands that place emphasis on sustainability, are ethically sourced and eco-friendly. 2020 is definitely the time to help the planet and its’ resources. Every little change we make in in the way we shop can help, particularly as the clothing industry is the second most polluting in the world and disposable fashion is taking its’ toll on our planet.
As we are all aware, sustainability takes many forms and this article looks at how we can help reduce the environmental impact of production processes, cut out harmful chemicals used to make clothes and ensure ethical guidelines are in place when it comes to safe working practices in factories across the world.
For parents, sustainability means quality too. It means buying long-lasting, robust clothes for children, with the potential to be handed down to future siblings. With longevity in mind, some brands have incorporated features that allow the garment to grow with the child – for example roll-up hems and adjustable shoulder straps.
Top of the list for new parents and parents-to-be is often the fabrics that are used; clearly we would all look for the safest and softest materials possible to protect the delicate skin of our baby and young children. In response to this, many brands are using organic cotton which is produced without the use of pesticides or chemicals that can irritate young skin or exacerbate allergies such as eczema. Choosing this type of fabric means that with the absence of chemical fertilisers in the organic farming process, we are helping minimise the harm to the environment.
Ethics are also a top priority for many sustainable retailers. This means ensuring that factory workers have a fair wage and safe working conditions and preventing child labour. Some brands go above and beyond to make sure the whole process from factory to shop floor is as transparent as possible.
So, how do we know what we are buying takes into account all these best practices?
The easiest way to identify whether the brand/clothes follow these principles are to look out for official certification such as ‘The Soil Association’ which is the UK’s largest organic certification body or ‘World Fair Trade Organisation’. Organic cotton clothing can be recognised by the label ‘Global Organic Textile Standards’ (GOTS) or ‘Oeko-Tex’, which means no chemical pesticides or fertilisers can be used in production and farmers must work under safe conditions with an agreed minimum wage.
There is also a great app called ‘Good On You’ which offers a quick and easy way to find out the sustainability of a brand. The app rates each brand for its’ environmental impact, animal ethics and conditions for workers.
To get you started, here are a few childrens’ clothing brands which either produce their whole range sustainably or have a sustainable ‘collection’ within their brand.
A British brand committed to creating completely organic clothing, with 90 per cent of its range now made from organic cotton. It also strives to be as ethical as possible when it comes to factory workers’ rights and pay. Its’ efforts have secured certification from both GOTS and the Soil Association. Packaging is also biodegradable and 1 per cent of profits are donated to charity each year, so all in all, a great brand and definitely worth supporting!
It is great to see a big high street brand like H&M doing as much as possible to change and become completely sustainable and ethical. Currently it produces a ‘Conscious Kids’ collection made from sustainable materials including ones that are recycled, organic or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
It is also implementing its’ sustainability commitment to apply to all of H&M clothing. Their aim is to be 100 per cent renewable, with fair working practices and using sustainably sourced materials by 2030, as well as eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from its production process by 2040.
This is a small, family-run business founded in London where the focus is on the quality of materials used and how they are sourced. The Autumn/Winter collection is made from cotton and wool. And the organic cotton is GOTS-certified, while the whole production chain and the wool used is Oeko-Tex 100 certified, so there’s a strict set of ethical and environmental guidelines in place. No chemical nasties are used to dye or print clothing and the buttons are ecological (made from cotton fibres). The production process all happens within 30km too, cutting down its environmental impact further.
Another British brand whose motto is “Ethical and organic”. Not adhering to seasons and therefore fast fashion, 80 per cent of the current range is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton with the long-term aim to make this 100 per cent. It’s also certified by the Soil Association.
THE BRIGHT COMPANY
Specialising in sleepwear, they make unisex pyjamas for children and adults. Since 2016 all of its’ products have been made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and meet Oeko-Tex standard 100 guidelines. There’s a big emphasis on ethical production too – all factories used are often family-run and within the EU, where workers are entitled to rights and safe working conditions.
Zara is another big brand working hard to make its processes and therefore clothing more sustainable. Initiatives such as Clothing Collect encourages customers to recycle old clothes in store and they also ensure that all cardboard packaging is FSC-certified. Its ‘Join Life’ range aims to use more sustainable raw materials, organic cotton and recycled fabrics in production.
A Brighton-based brand that creates unisex clothing for little ones using prints inspired by old-fashioned sweet shops and it is all designed, manufactured and packaged in the UK – reducing its carbon footprint. The cotton they use meets Oeko-Tex standards and inks are CE-certified, so baby-safe according to EU regulations).
A Swedish childrenswear brand who use sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester and ensure its’ factories have ethical working practices. Mini Rodini also encourages you to consider less buying and more repairing of old clothes in order to cut down their impact on the environment.
This relatively new brand to the UK from Sweden creates fashionable clothes for babies up to eight-year-olds. They use 100 per cent organic cotton which is ‘GOTS’ certified and are committed to creating a safe and fair working environment throughout the production chain. They are big too on encouraging customers to recycle old clothes (you can hand them in to Newbie’s London store) or pass them down to other little ones.
An ethical, British brand that uses 100 per cent organic cotton for all of its clothes, which are produced in Europe (reducing their carbon footprint). They focus on quality, fair trade and the environment and create long-lasting pieces that are free from toxic chemicals and support factory employees and their local communities. All materials come from GOTS-certified and Fairtrade suppliers, while the dyes are of Oeko-Tex standard.
Hopefully you are up for the challenge of buying childrens’ clothing from more sustainable sources – there is plenty out there to choose from!