Eco friendly clothing is a real buzz word at the moment with the high street rapidly catching on to the fact that consumers want products that are produced using sustainable resources such as organic cotton, hemp and silk – in other words, funky clothes made from materials whose production and harvesting is not detrimental to our environment or surroundings – or manufactured in a way that endangers the people who make it.
But will Kids Wear it?
Eco clothing does not start and end with thong sandals and floating kaftans! Tree-hugging hippy wear is not what eco wear is about – a quick trawl on the web will reveal a myriad of companies producing everything from organic cotton hoodies (i.e. essential teen wear!) through to hemp t-shirts and bamboo (yes, really – bamboo!) Reusable nappies! And organic babywear is big business in its own right. What nicer way to swaddle your newborn than in a wonderfully soft brushed organic cotton blanket, tucked up with a cuddly eco-friendly, natural fibre teddy?
Bet it’s Expensive!
It doesn’t have to be – the availability of eco friendly clothing is rapidly increasing on the high street with stores releasing that consumers want clothes that not only look and feel good but are ‘doing some good’ too! And many stores are investing a lot of money into long term plans for the production of environmentally sound fashion – Marks & Spencer and two of its suppliers have recently begun the development ‘eco-factories’, to path the way for innovative methods of sustainable manufacturing.
What are the Benefits for Children?
Naturally produced, chemical free fabrics are especially important for children; synthetics and any chemicals they are treated with during their production could irritate babies and children’s delicate skin. Even fabric we think of as safe and ‘pure’ for babies and children can be hiding some nasties – it can come as a shock when you investigate the production methods of cotton, for example, and its reliance on pesticides derived from petrochemicals. You are also supporting safe and ethical working practices by purchasing fairly traded, organic materials, and helping to protect the environment from potentially harmful toxic waste.
What are the Alternatives to Buying Eco-Clothing?
Recycling and reusing existing clothing is a great way to reduce waste and save money – and encourage creativity and individuality in children. Before throwing any clothing away, think how it could be reused – could it be adapted for fancy dress? Cut up for patching, lining or repairing other items? Used for crafts and projects? Old adult sized tee-shirts and shirts make great art overalls for children, whilst odd socks can be decorated and transformed into fun hand puppets for pre-schoolers!
Buying clothes from charity shops is a great way to raise funds for good causes and to keep clothes out of landfill. Older children and teens will love the fact that they can build a vast wardrobe at very little cost, while getting a funky, one off look into the bargain. And don’t forget to encourage customization of clothes – long skirts can easily become the latest lengths with just a few snips and simple hemming, and jackets and coats can instantly be updated with new buttons and trimmings!