Are you on the quest to lessen your consumption but haven’t found out how to do that when your kids are constantly outgrowing clothes and you’re always buying new pieces every few months? According to a report from Quantis, you aren’t alone. The apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8 % of global climate impact, which is greater than all international airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined. That’s a scary thought.
But there are several ethical fashion brands attempting to address these problems. And now more than ever, kids clothing brands are going the sustainable route, understanding that waste is an endless resource, not trash.
I recently took a trip to the Pitti Bimbo trade show in Florence, Italy to unearth new and innovative brands that are making a splash in the industry. With more than 5,000 buyers from almost 80 countries and 10,000-plus visitors, I was in good company.
Among the hundreds of brands, I found a special bunch with a truly green heart that are attentive to materials, ethical production and sustainability.
Here are five sustainable clothing brands that believe in limiting the impact we have on the earth for our children, and they all ship internationally:
After years of frustration with the clothing options for her active older son, and a total lack of hand-me-downs (due to wear and tear of kids clothes) for his little brother, Marianna Sachse founded Jackalo to bring back old-fashioned quality to kids clothing.
Jackalo’s mission is quite simple: Change the way kids clothing is produced and what happens when kids have outgrown them. Aside from practicing organic and sustainable farming practices, Jackalo offers discounts on future purchases when customers send back their used Jackalo products for repair or trading. Here’s how it works: when your kid outgrows any Jackalo clothing item, send it back to them in exchange for a $15 discount on your next purchase. They will clean it, make any necessary repairs, then post it for resale at a discount. Anything that can’t be repaired will be upcycled or recycled responsibly.
Editor’s pick: Mac coverall
If you love vintage pieces but value modern textiles and manufacturing, you’ve probably heard of Fairechild. Their pants, jackets and suits are completely waterproof, chemical-free and made of recycled materials. “I don’t want to make clothing that has a negative impact on the environment,” said founder and designer, Tabitha Osler. “It is simply not an option for the world anymore.”
Faire child’s products remain completely waterproof under pressure so, yes, it can withstand the toughest, outdoorsy child. Moisture stays out whether they’re kneeling on damp ground, sitting in snow or wearing a backpack. Osler’s motherhood also opened her eyes to the importance of time spent outdoors. This was the main driver behind her desire to design clothing that would let kids be outdoors all day, every day in comfort.
Next month, Faire child is launching rain gear made of fabric derived from waste, and that can be upcycled again and again.
Editor’s pick: Dungaree
Maison Tadaboum was born in 2019 in Paris from the idea of Julia Valverde Vicente to offer fun, gender-neutral clothes for kids on eco-friendly cotton fabrics. The Parisian brand pays special attention to the environmental footprint and quality of its products, which is why their fabrics are all Oeko-Teks certified, which is a worldwide certification system for environmentally friendly and socially responsible production facilities in the clothing industry. And with sizes ranging from 6 months-11 years old, there is something for every kid.
Editor’s pick: Friends for life shirt
This Italian brand began with the idea to create 100% organic cotton garments for babies, in an effort to preserve the environment and little one’s health. This basic idea, supported by a fair-trade model, has evolved into the brand using natural fibers such as hemp and merino and cashmere wools in all their garments. Taking it a step further, all of the accessories, such as buttons, appliqués, labels and embroidery, are completely toxin-free.
“We like taking care of this planet which our children will inherit, as much as we like taking care of their health today,” says a brand rep at the show. “We ensure that everything happens through beauty.”
Editor’s pick: Baby sleeveless dress in linen cotton denim
CORA happywear may create clothes for women, babies and kids with natural and organic materials like eucalyptus, bamboo and organic cotton, but the essence of the brand is in the story behind it. “Courage is the core value of our brand and is derived from the Italian word ‘coraggio,'” says Elisabeth Tocca, the founder and CEO of CORA Happywear. “Isn’t courage something you always need as a mother? We want to support women to courageously live their lives as family mothers in a cheerful, self-conscious way that inspires other women.”
And with every product sold, CORA sends 2% of each sales to Plan Italia, a program committed to removing all the barriers that prevent girls from completing their studies, such as early marriages, female genital mutilation, early pregnancies and all forms of violence.
Editor’s pick: All organic cotton trouser
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