Lately I've been striving to be a thoughtful consumer. I'm reading more labels and trying to make earth-friendly and baby-friendly choices. Mostly this has applied to food, but recently I've been widening my search for other healthful products including: diapers, skincare products, toys and clothing.
I am a firm believer that we can make a difference through our choices and I'm happy when I meet people who share this philosophy.
Rachel Mednick is the designer and founder of an organic clothing line for babies and toddlers called Lucy & Leo. She was kind enough to answer questions I had about the benefits of organic clothing.
Why should moms choose organic children’s clothing for their children?
There are several reasons why moms should choose to shop organic for their little ones. Clothing made from organic fabric is toxin-free, eco-friendly, and durable.
Organic childrenswear helps to prevent the absorption of dangerous chemicals into your child’s body. Organic fabric, such as the cotton we use at Lucy & Leo, is grown and processed without using toxic pesticides and chemical treatments. Younger children, especially newborns and infants, have delicate skin and organs that are not yet fully developed. Their skin and lungs are more prone to absorbing the chemicals that comes in to contact with their bodies, and therefore it is best if their clothing is free of harmful toxins.
Instead of using harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde and alkylphenoloxylate (hormone disrupter), organic cotton is typically handpicked and processed with vegetable dyes so that the environment is not polluted. Moreover, organic children’s clothing is more durable than traditional non-organic clothing. The natural treatments and use of vegetable dyes on organic cotton preserves the integrity of the fabric and results in a very durable garment for your child.
I recently heard the comparison of organic cotton to eating organic food, I think this is a great way to communicate how important wearing organic clothing is. If you are not willing to put pesticides into your body, why would you put them on your body’s biggest organ, your skin?
What inspired your line?
My line was inspired by my two little cousins, Lucy and Leo. When Lucy was born I had recently graduated from Drexel University with a degree in fashion design and merchandising, and found myself with an excess amount of unused fabrics. My mom suggested making some clothes for Lucy, so I did, and I have not stopped since. What began as a hobby of using leftover fabric to create handmade gifts for Lucy eventually developed into a full-fledged business. My cousin Leo was born almost two years later, and at that time I decided to transition my line to include both boys and girls clothing. It was also then that I decided to pursue my dream to create a line that was 100% organic and made in the USA. To this day, Lucy and Leo continue to be a major source of inspiration for me. When I watch Lucy and Leo play and interact with the world it inspires me to design garments that are both practical and fun. I love seeing them get excited about what they’re wearing, and I make sure that my line allows them to keep doing their favorite activities.
Why is it important for consumers to be socially conscious?
When consumers purchase items that are socially responsible they are creating positive change that will ultimately create a better world for generations to come. I truly believe that we must think about where our goods, including clothing, are coming from and how they are produced. It is well documented that many industries, including fashion, continue to rely on dangerous manufacturing processes that can pollute the environment. Also, many American companies use overseas factories to produce their goods. Unfortunately, some of these factories fail to maintain a safe working environment or provide reasonable wages for employees.
Overall, consumers can play a major role in shifting the focus towards a more sustainable manufacturing ecosystem. We are already seeing a market shift towards organic and American-made clothing. At Lucy & Leo, our mission is to change the world for the better- one child at a time. However, we can only have minimal impact without the support of both consumers and fellow fashion companies.
Are there other brands/ companies that have inspired you or that you feel also provide an environmental/ fair trade type products for the conscious consumer?
There are so many great brands out there, I am mostly inspired by small businesses that are trying to make an impact on the world. One brand that I am partnering with is called Yogis Choice, it is a skin care line that is all natural, organic whenever possible, and hand made. They have created a baby skin care line for Lucy & Leo that we will be selling at Bryant Park. It is very exciting for me to partner with another small business with similar values.
Your clothes are costlier than other brands. Explain what you are paying for?
When you shop Lucy & Leo clothing you are paying for a well-made product that was produced fairly. Organic cotton tends to be more expensive because the process of harvesting and producing it is more labor intensive. However, since it is not processed with chemicals it lasts longer than traditional cotton. You are also saving the world from heavy pollution to our air and water sources caused by traditional cotton harvesting. The cost also includes fair wages and safe working conditions for the factory workers who help manufacture our line.
At Lucy & Leo we think about the way in which our garments are constructed and the way in which we affect the world. We also donate a percentage of our sales to children’s charities that support music and art education. This holiday season we will be donating to the All Stars Project, a charity that allows children and teens to express themselves through theater as well as helps them gain job experience to prepare for their future.
Where can customers purchase your clothing?
Customers can purchase Lucy & Leo clothing at lucyandleo.com. We will also be having a holiday boutique at the Bryant Park Holiday Shops in NYC from November 1st- January 5th. We are very excited about our first retail location, please stop by and say hello if you are in the area this holiday season!
What are some of your favorite organic clothing brands?
Olivia Hinebaugh is a stay-at-home-mom to a three-year-old boy and baby girl. She is an aspiring novelist and steals time whenever both kids are sleeping to clack away at the keys. She tweets about mothering and writing @OliveJuiceLots
She can also be found on Facebook.
All photos belong to Lucy & Leo.