People all over the fashion industry are talking about sustainable fashion but very few people are bringing that conversation over to children’s fashion, apart from a few brands that are offering organic and/or up-cycled collections.
The one message that we often get told about adult fashion is “Choose well, buy less” but how do we do that with children’s fashion?!
Kids grow and they grow out of their clothes FAST and then it is time to buy new ones. There is nothing sustainable about this.
Waste footprint for clothing is estimated at 1.2 million tonnes in UK and a large portion of this is made up of kids clothing.
As a mum and brand owner, I feel this is a very important conversation to have with, not only within the industry but also with our kids. They are the future of this world, so it is them that we have to teach the right ethics and values to and I think by regularly disposing of their clothing, we are definitely sending them the wrong message.
So, what can we do to help our kids reduce their textile waste, and at the same time teach them sustainable values ?
- Try to buy clothes that are adjustable, at least around the waist. The more adjustable features, the longer the garment will fit and if possible, buy a garment that is slightly larger than they currently larger.
Extending the active life of clothes by 9 months, you will reduce water, carbon and waste footprint by 20-30% per garment.
- Check the quality of the fabric, as well as the the craftsmanship. Cheaper is definitely not always the best. Apart from just quality of cheaper options, you have to also question the ethical value in the making of the garment. Where was it made ? Who made it ? With a low price, would it be possible for the workers to have received a fair wage ? Was this ethically made ? Did they possibly use child-labour in producing this garment. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad, just as expensive doesn’t necessarily mean good. Just be mindful. Do some research about the brands that you like, so that you can make informed choices.
- Buy recycled or organic when possible.
Growing conventional cotton requires the use of enormous amounts of insecticides and pesticides, which has a huge environmental impact and presents health risks for those working around it.
- Wash only when necessary. Almost ¼ of the carbon footprint created per garment is during the wash and dry process. Not only will this reduce water consumption, it will also reduce the wear and tear of a garment.
- Learn to sew and mend ! Make-do-and-mend is definitely the most sustainable option by far. It uses no, or very little resources and creates no waste and on top of that, it is usually a lot cheaper than buying a new garment. Brilliant !
And finally, speak to your child about the clothing choices that you have made or making with them. Explain to them why those choices are important. Help them make good choices.
By making sustainability and waste reduction part of your child’s basic education, you will help them instill this as a core value and as they grow up, this will in turn become part of their lifestyle.
So lead by example. Show them that you care.