Fairtrade and organic aren’t just labels for food. It’s not just what we eat that affects our bodies, but what we wear as well. Our skin, after all, is our body’s largest organ.
While many conventional fabrics are treated with harsh chemicals that can linger in the fibers, a rising number of smaller clothing companies are sourcing organic, fairtrade fabrics. Certified organic fabrics must meet stringent guidelines both in how the fibers are grown and processed. Many eco-conscious companies not only source organic and sustainable fabrics, but use low-impact dyes as well.
Eco-conscious companies also strive towards defeating the sweat-shop model of clothes production. By focusing on quality and paying workers a fair wage, the result is often beautiful, durable clothing your kids will love — and that will last.
Many of the new kids’ clothing lines were founded by mothers looking to provide better, safer clothes for their children. While these clothes cost more than a t-shirt off the rack, they’ll last longer and provide peace of mind. Here are some of our favorite brands:
Bethany Grosser, founder and owner of Little Spruce Organics, was inspired to create this company when she became a mother. Her store provides a variety of organic options for kids including everything from natural leather shoes to colorful outerwear and dresses. Sizes and stock change often, so bookmark this site to check back regularly for deals. Orders over $49 ship free with the code SHIPFREE.
This organic brand offers clothing for babies, girls, boys, and women. With fun prints and many basics, parents will be able to find organic clothing at an affordable price. Unfortunately, boy apparel is more limited than girl apparel. While the boys can shop between shirts and pjs, girls can select between shirts, pants, dresses, and pjs.
3. art & eden
This company strives to offer products that are both “better for the planet and better for the people who make them”. Well-designed clothing is made from organic cotton and low impact dyes. Their official website states that they “…reject industry without conscience. We are taking a stand. We are calling for radical re-definition. Join the UNrevolution.” They offer free standard shipping on all U.S. orders, and offer a wide range of fun prints for children up to size 10. New shoppers can sign up for their email list and receive 15% off their first order.
4. Kate Quinn
Based out of Seattle, Washington, this company offers a wide range of organic clothing up until 8-10 years of age. This popular design house sources fair trade fabrics and looks to create modern children’s clothing from certified organic cotton grown using sustainable practices. Additionally, Kate Quinn uses low impact dyes. Joining the mailing list will save new clients 15% off their first order. During certain times, orders over $20 will ship free as well.
5. Nico Nico
Like many eco-conscious kids’ clothing lines, once owner Sue Tsai gave birth to her son Nico, she wanted to wrap him in stylish but responsible clothes. All of Nico Nico’s clothes are made in Los Angeles. Made in the U.S., Nico Nico offers a wide range of styles that are always age appropriate. This line offers a variety of eco-friendly fabrics including organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo.
While this company is overseas, keep your eyes out for Ebay or ThredUp lots with pieces from this line. With the tagline “Organic Fashion for Free Range Kids”, you know their designs just may be what you’re looking for. Founded in 2005, this company has always sourced 100% fairtrade cotton to create their whimsical pieces. Fabrics are free from chemicals including chlorine bleach and formaldehyde which can irritate kids with allergies or eczema.
Remember: because organic cotton is free from chemicals, clothing is likely to shrink when washed and dried. Keeping this in mind, buy a size or two up. Heat can damage clothing, so it’s often best to line dry when possible—always try to follow any instructions provided by the company.
Eco-conscious clothing can be more expensive per piece; these pieces exist to pay fair wages to the people crafting the clothes and the farmers who responsibly grow the fabrics. Why not take this opportunity to minimize your child’s closet. It’s better to have six t-shirts made from sustainable, safe sources, then 20 for the same price made from questionable manufacturing practices.