Ok, I know I’m preach’n to the choir but I’ll share my current thinking about clothes anyway…
Second hand clothes are the most sustainable… helps both on the reduce and reuse fronts. These days, however, no one is passing on their goodies to us (boo!), thrift stores overwhelm me (so do those menus with 1000 choices… I’ll just have what she’s having) and to drive to a kid’s consignment shop across down would require me to leave the insulation of my beloved walkable urban neighborhood (if one were in my neighborhood it would be my top location for kids clothing)!
Where does this leave me on my quest for sustainable clothing for kids? Justifying my purchases of new clothes by buying organic / sustainable materials of quality, from socially responsible companies and then passing on those sort-of-gently-worn clothes to our friends (yay for this stain remover).
Another ballot sent in for Mother Earth!
What about natural cotton, is that a vote for Mother Earth? Read more here about the dirty side of non-organic cotton.
Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone but I’m not perfect… sometimes I end up dollar-voting for the candidate that is convenient and cute. Yes, it’s true. I admit it. In fact, I recently bought a few non-organic cotton items (can you feel the dollar-vote justification coming?)… at least they are great quality and OEKO-TEX. 😮 I probably should have skipped them because now I fear the kid dresser is a bit too full (over buying isn’t exactly my best sustainable move either!)
Ok, natural cotton isn’t the best but what about that silky, soft bamboo fabric that they market as sustainable? You know those t-shirts and baby onsies that you keep rubbing on your cheek? The truth? Yes, bamboo is a fast growing and sustainable crop but did you know the manufacturing of bamboo clothes uses tons of toxins to turn a rough linen like material into silky softness? Read the full scoop here!
My top 10 + 1 sources for sustainable kids clothing:
1. Hand-me-downs Hello… reused, no shopping AND free! Really, can it get any better?!
2. Local thrift stores
3. Local kid consignment stores
4. Art & Eden Organic cotton clothes for girls and boys that change with the seasons and their prices seem to be inline with non-organic quality clothes.
5. Hanna Anderson we love their organic cotton pjs! They’ve got organic cotton kids’ underwear and camisoles too!
6. Pact now has organic cotton kids clothes (woo hoo!!!). I was already a fan of their soft and just the right thickness shelf bra camis and leggings.
8. Amour Vert makes trendy sustainable clothes for mamas, papas and babies (but not kids). Here they list their sustainable fabrics and why they are sustainable.
9. Chasing Windmills makes beautiful, light weight, happy sheep merino wool undergarments that are amazingly soft, non-itchy and washable. YES, WASHABLE WOOL that doesn’t shrink! Can I get a “Hallelujah?!” My favorite sustainable kids wear them under their school shirts Fall through Spring. Are they a sustainable alternative to micro plastics as a ski/winter play underlay? Yes! So cute they can also be worn as shorts and tanks and the long johns as leggings? Yes! Healthy pajamas? Yes! Vegan? No. If the sheep receive a kind and gentle haircut and live happy lives, I personally would rather dollar-vote for wool than micro-plastics that are harming animals and ourselves. What are the benefits of wool base layers? Read here.
10. Garnet Hill carries cute and comfortable organic cotton clothing for kids and moms… and those Euro style boiled wool slippers (I cannot speak to the sustainability of that wool). Their organic cotton leggings are an especially good fit for your long and lean girls.
11. Boden clothing for kids and their parents (yes, dads you too!) are not organic (with the exception of a few baby clothes) but they do work with the Better Cotton Initiative to source more sustainably grown cotton.
More sustainable kid clothing companies:
*I just learned about these and haven’t purchased from them, yet.
Little Spruce Organics… Colorado company making sustainable clothing from organic cotton and wool, with a European flair, for the whole family.
Mabo Kids… Upscale organic clothes with a nod to nostalgia for your instagram life.
Smarty Girl… Leggings for girls with some options for organic cotton. I put organic in the search bar to see my choices. Leggings are what we wear in our house! Wishing all their leggings were organic.
Colored Organics… Girls, Boys and Baby organic cotton clothing in solids and patterns (but no animal prints, in case your child attends a Waldorf School).
The Pink Elephant Organics… organic cotton pajamas for kids and moms (or aunties, grandmas, etc) with fun, hip repeating animal patterns.
Pitupi… organic cotton, babies to size 6, prices in Euros
Spiritex… Buy organic cotton fabric (even design your own!) and make clothes for your child and yourself and your friends. Don’t forget about me! Only a 1 yard minimum!
Last resort… but way better than the new, cheap, formaldehyde smelling clothes from the mall:
Amazon… just search for organic cotton kids _______________ (fill in the blank with the clothing article… t-shirts, pants, dresses, etc).
I know of one strong family of 6 that lives their entire lives–every single day!!!–without ever purchasing from Amazon. One day I will be there with them, just buying from small and local businesses, but for now if we are going to buy from Amazon might as well dollar-vote for sustainable products!
Zappos… ditto to what I said above.
Want to learn more about sustainable clothing? Check out good on you for more info and resources for “fashion without harm.”
Buy Healthy. Feel Healthy. Look Good! The Sustainable Internet Shopping Mama