Tag Archives: organic fair trade clothes for kids

20 Ethical Clothing & Organic Clothing Brands for Kids We LOVE

Ethical clothes for kids we love

Ethical clothes for kids we love

We know it is hard sometimes to get hold of ethical clothing & organic clothing for kids. You mean well, intend well and then? Well the practicalities just get in the way of doing well. Muka kids is a social enterprise that exists to make it a lot easier to get hold of fantastic affordable ethical clothing & organic clothing for kids. One way we help is we have a marketplace for buying & selling accredited pre-loved (and some new) ethical and organic clothing. In this blog we want to tell you about the best of these accredited brands. Some of these brands actually offer discounts to those who trade on muka kids. So if you buy ethical sustainable clothes new &  ‘Regood’ them on our marketplace we reward you for being sustainable and well just super.

Ethical clothing all starts with some great small companies

In the muka model it all starts with those fantastic people pushing the boat out in small and independent ethical clothing and organic clothing brands, doing their darnedest to do the right thing and make clothes that meet ethical and sustainable standards. It is HARD: a hard slog, lower returns, with a small (but growing market) of customers.

These ethical clothing companies and the people who run them care. They care deeply about changing the way the clothing system works, and while all of them might not have the gold standard for ethical clothing or organic clothing in place right now, I tell you they are striving to do things a better way AND make sure they have a successful ethical business so they can keep making a difference.

Ethical Clothing Brands & Organic Clothing Brands We LOVE* (many of which you can find on our marketplace in affordable preloved condtion)

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Why are ethical kids clothes so expensive?

Why are most kids clothes that you buy so costly and especially ethical kids clothes?

Well a lot of it is to do with the way they are made. Lets start with standard kids clothing. There are A LOT of stages in the long journey from a cotton seed to garment (most kids clothing is made of cotton or cotton mix) and for every step in that journey there is a cost. Here is a pictogram neatly summarizing all the steps in how cotton clothing gets made. Needless to say it is long, with lots of people involved and lots of processing. It is kind of interesting in a ‘how stuff works’ way.

Anyway, what exactly are all these costs and at what points in the chain do they apply? The following infographic sums up the costs nicely….

 

 non ethical kids clothes are costly is many ways

costly huh?

So, at every step there are some serious costs in production. Costs borne mainly by women, by children and by the environment.

So I know you get that I am being ironic to make a point, and that I am kind of beating you over the head with my lack of subtlety. I cannot disagree. But for all my lack of subtlety the point is, I think, an important one. We often talk about the cost of kids clothes (standard AND ethical kids clothes), only in relation to our immediate cash flow, what is in our bank account at the time we are needing to re-dress whatever particular child has worn a hole, grown 2cm, or beaten a piece of clothing into submission. Continue Reading →

Organic Kids Clothes: What exactly ARE they?

confused about what organic clothing actually is?

‘Organic’ is a pretty over abused & confusing term. To clarify what it means when you see ‘organic kids clothes”, and cotton clothing specifically, here is the quick & dirty low down (with the long and clean bit at the end for those that like details).

(I did a post some time back explaining what certified fairtrade cotton means –  have a look at that too to get the full picture of environmental & ethical standards in relation to kids clothing).

To start with lets deal with the generic term ‘organic’ and what that means.

Well as Inigo Montoya says You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”…….

Essentially, if you see the term ‘organic’ on a garment with no certification mark, it means nothing at all (or conversely just about anything you might imagine). That is because there is no independently audited or agreed standard associated with the generic term ‘organic’, so don’t be hoodwinked into wasting your cash and good intentions on such products unless you are completely satisfied with what you are getting.

So moving on to ‘certified organic’ and what that means for clothing. The clothing production chain is a long one (here is a quick infographic on how it works). For cotton to be certified as organic there is a standard to be met at every point in that chain. Here is the quick overview of what that means…

 

the organic cotton production chain.

the organic cotton production chain.

 

So if you are satisfied at this point there is no more to see folks and feel free to click away. If you want more detail or have unanswered questions do read on….

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Sixteen Easy Steps to Insanity By ‘A Parent’

Buying the good way is sometimes the hard way

Let me introduce you to my own private hell – buying ethical clothes for my kids. It goes like this.I look one day at one of my children’s outfits. I notice that suddenly the ankles are nearer the knees, the cuffs nearer to elbows, there is a hole in the bum of the pants, and the child is walking like a small monkey because the top is so tight across the back. Cue hysteria. I will need to get new clothes. And the 16 easy steps to my insanity go like this…

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We Have Design Prototypes in Organic Fairtrade Cotton!

 Let me introduce the sampling stages of garment development (Indian Styles!)

  1. 1st stage: prototypes
  2. 2nd stage
  3. Approval
  4. Other
  5. Pre-production
  6. Production
  7. Photo
  8. Size Set

As I am only up to stage one I have no idea what the other seven stages yet involve, but they both excite and frighten me!

This week I got some of the prototypes of the first designs. The prototypes are the fully made up design in the right type of fairtrade organic cotton fabrics, but NOT in the right colours – colour tests come next  – (so fear not, these are not for dressing mini all blacks). The first prototypes do not have any of the trims and prints either – so to you that is no pretty pictures on the garments yet.

The prototypes give an idea of how the fabric drapes, how the pockets look, the weight and the stretch of the fabric, and the basic shape and fit. There are some changes that I have already picked up need to happen, which is great, though frankly lets hope I get a bit more decisive by the time sample stage 6 comes around!

I must say they do feel lovely (all fairtrade organic cotton tends to feel very different from standard cotton).

Here they are (the Grinling Hoody is still to come)…..

ropey tee in first prototype

ropey tee in first prototype

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Is organic clothing better for babies and kids? What the science says.

140826 is organic cotton better pinterest

I must to admit to feeling a sense of total panic before the birth of our first child when I could not find organic cot sheets that did not cost the earth. I was going to be responsible for some terrible calamity that might befall her in her sleep! (I admit pregnancy may have meant I had totally lost all sense of proportion).

In the end we made a set  from some organic jersey cotton I found, we still have them and currently use them for number 2. As time passed I did find myself considering what the evidence was for organic fabrics being better for kids or indeed non organic being harmful. So of course I was unable to help myself; I did some research.

 

cotton workers get a raw deal

 

Turns out there is a lot of very robust science to back up the negative health impacts of conventional cotton farming on farm workers, their children, cotton processing workers, garment makers and on the environment. From pesticide poisoning, inhalation during processing, through to large scale river pollution. The types of chemical involved include heavy metals like lead & nickle, cancer causing Azo dyes,  formaldehyde and phthalates. There is a good summary of this evidence here.

 

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Where Does your Cotton Tee Come From? Part 1 of 3

Cotton clothing production is complex. Cotton clothing production involves many people. Cotton clothing production is resource intensive. There is room for improvement. Significant room.

In an earlier blog I discussed what buying certified fair trade cotton clothing actually means. In that blog I skipped over the complexities of the cotton production process for the purposes of brevity. Now I want to lay out exactly what the supply chain for cotton clothing in India (where muka kids clothes will be made) looks like. The purpose being to help highlight the complexity of the process, the huge numbers of workers involved and to lay the ground work for talking about where exactly in that chain ethical and environmental issues crop up and how they can best be countered. Right, no further words, just a picture (all be it with lots of words!).

 

Infographic. Cotton Production in India.

Infographic. Cotton Production in India.