Suddenly, organic clothing seems to be appearing all over the place. When I started writing this post, one sentence ago, I thought I knew a fair bit about where to buy organic children’s clothes.
I fired up an Internet search, just to double check the origin of a brand, and began to discover more and more and more designers and suppliers offering organic clothing goods for littlies. It is safe to say, that I didn’t actually know that much about organics – but I definitely do now!!! And happily, I’ve also discovered plenty of new places I’d like to shop!
Organic clothing is definitely one of those areas of children’s clothing that is growing. It is becoming increasingly popular as it gets more affordable. But at the moment, it is still largely confined to what I would call designer brands. In fact, unless you tend to shop online for most clothes, and utilise search engines or specifically search for organic clothes, I highly doubt you would stumble across many of them.
And yet there are so many! It’s a market that high street brands are only just beginning to tap into. John Lewis and Marks and Spencer both now sell a range of organic baby clothes, but it’s a small selection. Gap have an organic range too. H&M have been doing it for years, but with significant controversy during that time about the true organic nature of their products.
So why do people want to buy organic clothing? And why now?
The driving forces behind the increasing success of organic clothing are mainly concern for the environment, for the welfare of cotton farmers, and that just maybe synethetic clothing might be less good next to your baby’s skin given the toxic gases that are released as by products of its production. It is considered by many to be less likely to trigger allergies and eczema (although there isn’t much in the way of structured research to support this theory). It also uses less water to grow.
Most cotton is produced using insecticides and pesticides, which can be harmful for the farmers, but also pollute the environment. The load is enormous – considering only 3% of land is cultivated for cotton crops, 25% of the world’s insecticides, and 10% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow cotton. It is also one of the most heavily fertilised crops. (www.organicfacts.net) Organic cotton is also cheaper for farmers, which can only be of benefit in such a weather dependent industry, where the failure of a crop may be the end of your business if your costs are too high.
Furthermore, on production of synthetic clothing materials – particularly nylon – noxious greenhouse gases are produced, contributing directly to damage of the ozone layer and global warming. These processes also use a lot of energy. And these synthetic materials, made from petrochemicals, do not biodegrade.
So there are a lot of advantages to buying organic cotton. Buying Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton is a sure fire way to make sure you are buying a material that has all the benefits discussed above.
But where can you buy it? The small ranges in the high street shops are ok, but not especially varied. And in my opinion they are nothing compared to the huge variety you can buy online.
The benefits and drawbacks of shopping online can be discussed in another post. But the sheer range of organic clothing you can buy from brands that started in all parts of the globe is actually pretty impressive. I suppose you might argue that if you are being so environmentally conscious as to buy organic, then shipping your child’s clothes halfway across the world generating a large carbon footprint rather defeats the object… So then, buy locally if you can. If you are British, buy British.
British organic clothing tends not to be cheap. As yet, not much of it is, from anywhere. I imagine this will change over time. But if you want to enjoy shopping for some chosen pieces that will work together, instead of the quantity (and arguably less quality) you could buy in your local shops, then maybe it’s for you.
If you are new to buying organic clothes, I’d start on an organic clothing website such as http://www.skinandbliss.com, http://www.babipur.co.uk, or http://www.bebeco.co.uk. There are wonderful British companies such as Pigeon organics, Little Green Radicals, Frugi, Toby Tiger, The Bonnie Mob (leggings in left picture) Boys&Girls Shop (leggings in middle picture, and red starry skater dress on the right), Kite Clothing, and of course Sprout (dress in header image), who all sell bright colours and fun prints. Slugs and Snails produce fun colourful organic clothes from Ireland.
Angels Face sell gorgeous girls clothes and tutu skirts, and Natures Purest and Merino Kids make baby clothes in pastels, natural colours and and wool. Huxbaby is a rather minimalist and monochrome sort of brand, which lends itself to a particular funky black white and grey style of baby dressing.
If you are interested in the Scandinavian and European brands, there are plenty of places to look. I am planning a post about scandi clothing, because it is a unique sort of style with a huge range of prints and ideas that I enjoy.
A lot of Scandinavian designer brands are organic; JNY (vest in the picture below on the left), Maxomorra (trousers in the photo below on the right) Me&I, Moromini, Ej Sikke Lej, Lindex, DUNS, Smafolk, Popupshop, Indikidual, Mini Rodini, Polarn O Pyret, Filemon Kid are those that I can think of straight off.
I’m really looking forward to writing about my favourite brands in the coming weeks. I have a particular thing for bright colours and soft velour, especially for my little boy, which many Scandinavian brands use in their clothing.
And if you want to go European, there are a few different options. Verbaudet has a small range of organic clothes and embrace the comfy joggers, knits and wrap over styles of cardigans and vests. Other labels that spring to mind are all very different in style and price. Albababy sell retro styled particularly plush sorts of velour and jersey dungarees, dresses and rompers, and I am hoping to buy my children some carefully chosen items from there in the coming season. (There will definitely be a post about that.) Bang Bang Copenhagen is unusual in style, with bright bold block colours. Gray Label is a brand leaning more toward monochrome styling for children with splashes of colour. Kids Case and Fixoni are a bit more colourful.
There are a couple of other popular brands which hail from elsewhere. Oeuf is based out of New York and reflects the French half of the founding partnership in style. Aden and Anais are a well known American brand producing muslins, but they do produce clothing too, some of which is made from muslin cloth, perfect for hot summers. And Tortoise and the Hare produce handmade linen clothing from Pennsylvania. It is not cheap, and I have never been lucky enough to have any, but it’s a definite kind of quality baby chic that some do afford, which offers a particular style to enjoy. Merino Kids are from New Zealand and make their clothes from merino wool. This means they are blooming expensive in my opinion, but having been lucky enough to be bought a Cocooi swaddle wrap for both of our babies, I know how soft and cosy they feel, and remain. I get why they cost so much.
You can also buy organic shoes for kids. Bobux are a New Zealand brand selling soft
soled shoes for growing feet. Emel are a UK based company hand making shoes with organic leather.
Wherever you start looking, it might be that you feel you cannot afford to make the leap into buying organic clothes. Fear not, for if you do want to try them, they are sold preloved all over the place. eBay is of course a great place to start, along with Facebook selling pages, of which there are plenty.
Where and how to buy preloved is definitely on my list of posts to do. But I think next I’ll dip into the world of scandi, now I’ve tempted you with it and told you how much I love it. It’s only fair… And only a bit self indulgent!