Earth-friendly clothing for kids. Does it matter?
We watch what our kids eat to make sure they don’t consume too much sugar, artificial colors and preservatives. We monitor what our kids watch on TV and what video games they play to make sure they aren’t exposed to too much violence and adult content. We also keep track of where they venture on the Internet, hoping to protect them from online predators. But do we ever think about their attire, and if the dyes in their clothing and the PVC in their shoes could be harmful to them?
Traditional cotton used in clothing has been sprayed with pesticides—more than 50 million pounds of it according to the USDA. These pesticides—cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, are carcinogens—leach into our soil and water supply. They also can cause allergic reaction in immuno-sensitive individuals. (If you missed our blog about the drawbacks to fast fashion, you can check it out here.)
Companies like Patagonia take these issues to heart. Patagonia uses what they call efibers, or environmentally-friendly fibers in many of their jackets and clothes. These fibers include recycled and recyclable polyester, organic cotton, hemp, organic wool and chlorine-free wool. Patagonia will take your old or your child’s old Capilene products (Capilene in the base layer in many winter jackets.) and turn them into a new garment, resulting “in an energy savings of 76% and a CO2 emissions (greenhouse gases) reduction of 71% versus creating that fiber from new raw material,” according to their website. Also all of their Synchilla fleece products—hats, gloves, jackets—are made from recycled soda bottles.
Earth-Friendly Clothing for Children
So where can you start shopping for earth-friendly and child-friendly clothing? The following list is not all-inclusive or exhaustive but it does provide a path to the basics and beyond, in alphabetical order.
“Soft on you, easy on the earth,” that’s Bamboosa’s slogan, and Bamboosa sells clothing for all family members made primarily of bamboo, a fiber that “is naturally anti-microbial, hypoallergenic, bacteriostatic, thermal regulating and odor free,” according to the Bamboosa Website. And bamboo clothing, this writer knows from personal experience, feels somewhat like silk.
For over 20 years, Baby Bunz has sold shoes, slippers, hats, clothing, diaper covers and more for babies. They also sell toys crafted of all natural materials, such as wood and fabric with water-based brilliantly colored paints, and positive books for adults and children, such as the Organic Baby Cookbook and Goodnight Moon.
Colored Organics makes its clothing and toys for children ages birth through six years using organic cotton and 100% ethical production (no sweatshops or child labor, fair wages and medical benefits, safe working conditions, capped working hours). And every month the company partners with a charity that positively impacts the lives of children somewhere in the world.
The tagline for Earth Creations is “real clothes for real people.” The company was founded when the female owner of the company came back from mountain biking and realized the red clay would not come out of her clothing no matter how many times she washed it. The company features made in the USA (in Alabama) garments, sweat-shop free and fair-trade certified—t-shirts, tank tops and “Snappies” for babies—dyed with natural clay. They also have earth-friendly clothing and hats for adults.
Honest Baby provides essentials for babies plus matching t-shirts for moms and dads (if you’re into that kind of thing) and all of their products use organic cotton. And yes, this company is part of the Honest empire, built by Jessica Alba to help people make conscious and sustainable living choices. They offer bedding, bath, and gift products too, as well as diapers.
For your older teen who prefers designer clothing, Loomstate makes 100% organic cotton clothing, on-trend jeans, denim skirts and shorts in the latest styles. This brand is favored by eco-conscious celebrities, featured on the pages of Vogue magazine and is available at Anthrolpologie stores and many online retailers.
Pact manufactures organic cotton clothing for children (and adults) in fair trade factories and the company’s mission is to build the “Earth’s Favorite Clothing Company.” They sell everything a child needs, from underwear and camisoles and socks to pants, tops, shorts, and dresses. They also sell bedding and organic Turkish cotton bath towels in a range of colors.
Simple shoes Green Toe brand is a leader in natural footwear for people who wear adult sizes. Their tag line of “shoes with less junk in them” stresses the fact that their shoes are made with jute, bamboo, reclaimed wool, crepe latex, cork and water. Styles range from clogs and flip-flops to loafers and lace-ups.
And last but not least on our list of earth-friendly clothing,Toad & Co. is a great Santa Barbara-based company that sells recycled fiber, organic cotton, hemp, and vegan clothing for people of all ages who wear adult sizes.