By Sookie Lioncourt:
When parents dress their kids, there is a multitude of choices to be made. As if parents didn’t have to struggle with finding clothes comfortable enough for their young children, and clothes versatile and stylish enough for their older kids, there’s also the matter of selecting eco-friendly clothing brands.
Most parents don’t give a second thought to the clothing brands they buy their kids. But anyone who wants to get their kids
started on making eco-friendly decisions won’t try to find brands that don’t just make sustainable clothing, but also aid in the promotion of a more sustainable lifestyle.
To help you choose which brands to clothe your children with, we’ve come up with a list of the things you need to take note of, and questions you need to ask yourself before making the investment!
1. Do they offer unisex clothing?
When parents shop for their kids’ clothes, they often neglect to take into consideration the growth spurts that kids go through. This is the reason behind babies owning 56 outfits on average, and wearing them only about 12 times before they’re either thrown out or forgotten. Unisex clothing is the only truly sustainable children’s clothing option, as these clothes usually are sturdier and more practical than clothes made for specific genders. Katie Pietrasik, who launched clothing line Tootsa MacGinty to provide unisex clothing options to parents, says, “Clothes for children should be built for sturdier purposes than the changing vagaries of style – to be passed from sibling to sibling, or friend to friend regardless of gender,” something that parents aiming for a sustainable lifestyle need to keep in mind. Before purchasing any item of clothing for your kids, ask yourself if the company you’re buying from promotes making the most of clothing through hand-me-downs by offering gender-neutral or unisex clothes.
The most basic thing that parents probably look for in eco-friendly clothes for their kids is the label that says “organic.” A lot of attention has been directed to organic products in the past few years, and since a baby’s skin can be up to 5 times thinner than an adult’s skin, parents have also begun taking notice of the organic options made available to their kids. It’s no surprise that corporations have started taking advantage of this and advertising their products as organic. Unfortunately, like most other organic products, organic baby clothes may sell for a bit more than “conventional” clothing options. After the controversy that followed H&M’s being found to have sold fake organic cotton, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant with the items you purchase for your kids. However, even Organic Facts attests that “No one can tell the differences between a pair of normal baby clothing and that of organic baby clothing just by looking, feeling, or smelling it.” As such, it’s important to research companies on the internet to find user feedback and check whether or not they’ve been on the news for their baby products before investing in clothing for your kids.
3. How do they dye their clothes?
Most companies that sell organic products will have nothing to hide regarding the production process of their items. In fact
, they’ll also tout their sustainable practices and allow parents a glimpse into the way their products are made. If you can find information on how the company you’re looking into dyes its clothes, then this should allow you to make a more informed choice. Because chemical dyes and heavy metal fixatives can remain trapped in the fibers of dyed baby clothes, it might also be possible for them to seep into open pores when kids are sweating. It’s also important to take note that just because a manufacturer touts its dyes as organic, this doesn’t necessarily make it the better choice. Most organic dyes are not treated to reduce the risk of heavy metal fixatives, lead and chrome the way that commercial dyes are; so, surprisingly, commercial dyes may sometimes be the safer bet.
4. Are they Fair Trade certified?
Parents often focus on the quality of the garments they buy so much that they end up neglecting how the product actually gets to the stores. Fairtrade certification ensures that all products made by the company aren’t just sold at a reasonable price, but also that they’re made through ethical practices. Companies go through rigorous tests and standardization to achieve Fairtrade certification, and these are the best options for parents who want to be sure that they’re making the most ethical choice possible.
Sookie Lioncourt is an avid lover of all things organic and sustainable. For more ways to shift into greener living, follow her blog.