How To Create a Sustainable Wardrobe for your Child
FittedTot is launching a campaign to #BeKind…BeConfident…BeYou and we believe that part of Be KIND includes being kind to the earth and its inhabitants. One way to be kind to the earth is by creating a sustainable wardrobe for your child. Most parents want to provide their children with the best life possible, and that means not only giving them the best life today, but also ensuring that they can have a bright future. Fast fashion is currently the number two pollutant in the world, second only to the oil industry, which has many parents wondering how they can give their children high-quality, affordable, and durable clothing without giving in to fast fashion trends and the negative repercussions that go along with them.
What is a sustainable wardrobe and how can it help my child have a brighter future?
There is a social movement for sustainability which aims to eliminate the negative effects of fast fashion on garment workers and the global environment. Fast fashion centers on the rotation of new fashion trends. The fast fashion cycle begins on the runway during fashion week, where clothing designers exhibit the latest fashion trends. Once these trends are debuted, thousands of fast fashion brands work at a rapid pace to manufacture and sell the seasons newest trends to consumers at a low price. The problem with fast fashion is that an endless desire for new, trendy clothing items creates a throw-away mentality for consumers. Overconsumption of clothing is problematic because it wastes precious, quickly depleting resources such as energy and water which are used to manufacture these items. An estimated 713 gallons of water is needed to produce just one non-organic cotton t-shirt, which is the same amount of water that a person would drink over the course of three years. With global water and energy supplies rapidly diminishing, the harm caused by overconsumption is intensified.
The fast fashion cycle also causes clothing items having a significantly shorter life span than ever before in history because consumers are rapidly discarding clothing items for new fashion trends. The lifespan of clothing items is difficult to quantify with absolution, but it is estimated that people are purchasing 60% more clothing items than they did 19 years ago, and they keep these clothing items for about half as long. According to The Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014 15.1 million tons of textile waste was produced, and 12.8 million tons of that waste was discarded, mostly into landfills. The amount of resources used to produce clothing items which end up in a landfill after only a few years is undeniably unsustainable for the planet.
Another problem that results from fast fashion is the hardship that garment workers endure creating the vast number of clothing items in such a short time span. One in every six people on earth work in the global fashion industry. Vast amounts of these garment workers endure poor and often unsafe working conditions, along with low pay and long hours.
Sustainable fashion, also referred to as “Slow Fashion”, is a solution to the fast fashion problem. Purchasing high-quality clothing items that have a longer lifespan results in less water waste, less water pollution, less garment worker abuse and a healthier global environment overall. The decision of consumers to support slow fashion over the course of an entire lifetime results in a profound positive effect on the environment. Many parents have acknowledged this and their response is choosing to dress their children in sustainable clothing, and raising them to support sustainable fashion.
But how do you go about creating a sustainable wardrobe for your child? How can you tell the difference between a sustainably created clothing item and a fast fashion garment?
The basics of sustainable fashion are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce the amount of clothing purchased, Reuse and repair clothing items as much as possible, and Recycle old or unwanted clothing items so that they can be made into other tangible goods.
As any parent knows, children grow out of their clothing (and often destroy clothing) at a rapid rate, which is a deterrent against purchasing clothing from sustainable brands that can be expensive and/or difficult to locate. A great option for dressing your child sustainably is to purchase pre-owned clothing from thrift stores, consignment shops, and upscale second-hand clothing stores. This is undeniably the most effective way to combat the negative effects of fast fashion on the environment. Upscale second-hand clothing stores are becoming more mainstream by the day, with brick and mortar stores such as Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads available in most reasonably populated areas. However, the options don’t stop there. With online retailers like ThredUp, Poshmark and Tradesy, parents now have the opportunity to purchase lightly-used clothing for their children without even leaving their home. These websites offer low shipping costs and simple return policies which make the process of shopping for your child convenient and practical, with a quick turnaround time. If you want to save even more money on clothing items that your child may quickly grow out of, a great option is to shop at local thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. A good hot-water wash and any clothing item will be safe, sustainable, and like new for your child to play and grow in.
Some parents may dislike the idea of dressing their child in clothing that was previously owned or worn. If that is the case, there are still countless ways to dress your child in an environmentally conscious manner since a large number of clothing brands are quickly responding to the demand for socially and environmentally sound manufacturing procedures.
Purchasing clothing from companies who use recycled materials is a wonderful option for all wardrobes, including children’s. Some companies have chosen to turn vintage clothing, recycled rubber, recycled plastic, recycled leather and much more into brand new creations that will keep your child comfortable, fashionable and environmentally-friendly. Other brands choose to create sustainable clothing from natural materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, pineapple leather and hemp, which are less harmful to the environment and even more comfortable and functional than the clothing that we grew up wearing. Some wonderful children’s clothing brands adopting these practices include Patagonia, Malu Organic, PACT, Treasure Box Kids, My Fair Baby, Nature Baby, and The Bright Company. The list of clothing brands that are both sustainable and ethical grows longer every day.
How is FittedTot supporting the sustainable fashion movement?
The number one supplier of FittedTot is the brand Tea Collection. Tea Collection is a children’s clothing company who maintains a fair trade act with all of its suppliers and strives to support sustainable material sourcing and ethical workplace policy. They uphold a Workplace Code of Conduct that ensures fair employment practices and facility safety guidelines. In addition to this, with every sale that they make, Tea Collection gives back to the Global Fund for Children. Tea Collection is an inspiring example of how the fashion industry can be a fierce advocate for the welfare of our world. FittedTot is taking the sustainable fashion movement to heart and is looking to employ even more sustainable suppliers in the future.
If you are ever in doubt about the level of sustainability and the ethical procedures of a brand or company, you can check their rating on the Fashion Transparency Index (FTI), which is created and regularly updated by the people behind the global Fashion Revolution movement. You can also feel confident purchasing clothing from any company that is Fair Trade Certified, as this long list has been evaluated to support those who are conscious of the farmers who produce the raw materials, the garment workers who create our clothing, and the environment which sustains us all.
We want the best for our children. We want to provide them with the best lifestyle, the best support, the best tangible items, and the best future. Creating a sustainable wardrobe for your child helps to ensure that their future will be even brighter than their present. Small changes in consumerism go a very long way in the global environment, and raising our children to be mindful of the earth and its inhabitants is surely one of the best gifts that we can give to them. Together we can encourage our children to #BeKind…BeConfident…BeYou.
For more information on sustainable fashion, visit FareTradeCertified.org