Tag Archives: parenting

Why Gender Neutral & Unisex Kid’s Clothes Can Actually Harm Girls

Why Gender Neutral Clothing is Harming Girls

Why Gender Neutral Clothing is Harming Girls

With an explosion of gender neutral lines for kids & babies* have you ever wondered who these clothes are really benefiting? There is it turns out a dirty truth in the supply chain of some ‘gender neutral’ clothing: the empowerment of girls in the west on the back of the misery of the world’s poorest women and girls.

 

Clothing is, at its Heart, a Business Propelled by Women & Girls Continue Reading →

21 Ethical Fashion Brands for Cool Women (Who are also Parents)

and maybe a few more too...

and maybe a few more too…

You know I am not a big fan (understatement of the year) of the use of the word mother as a modifying descriptor – the word mumtrepreneur is actually my pet peeve of the decade (after hair on soap that is). Basically where being a parent has no bearing on the topic why mention it? However, where clothing is concerned joining the cult of parenthood does actually change or at least influence clothing needs, so I want to talk about ethical fashion and ethical fashion brands for women who also happen to be parents (and those who are not too!).

I started muka kids (which includes a marketplace to trade pre-loved ethical kids clothing) because I believe that ethical fashion & sustainable clothing could be more accessible and more connected to the women whose lives it is meant to improve . Kid’s clothes seemed a good place to start because the turnover rate is pretty high. However, I also wear clothes and care about the people who grow the cotton, weave the fibre, dye the fabric, cut and sew the cloth as well as the environment this processing all happens in. So finding ethical clothing & ethical fashion designers that met both my personal style AND life style with kids is important.

Let Start with “What is Ethical Fashion?”

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The Best Eco Pen & Eco Craft Options – & Not Just for the Kids

Eco Pen 7 Eco Craft Supplies For the Conscious Parent

Eco Pen & Eco Craft Supplies For the Conscious Parent

Doing craft, coloring, drawing, making, cutting, slicing, sticking is a big part of kids’ lives, and they use a lot of ‘stuff’ doing it. So thinking about the impact on the environment of all this activity means eco craft & eco pen supplies do matter. After doing a rather soul destroying sort out and throw out of the kid’s dud felt tip marker pens, I wondered whether apart from using wax crayons and recycled or sustainable colored pencils, (and recycled paper to draw on), was there an eco pen option for kids specifically for coloring (not just writing)?

Then it occurred to me that actually with the new craze of coloring pages for adults catching on, eco-friendly pens, especially felt tip pens are kind of important for the big kids too (because who wants to use that fantastically awful product the Bic Pen For Women to do coloring with?).

So off I set on the internet hunt to find an eco friendly pen for colouring, to assuage my conscience of the probably millions & billions of plastic felt tip pens and markers that no longer have any love to give gathered in landfills everywhere. You see only part of most felt tip pens is recyclable (the lid), so the rest? Well you know the drill, it takes petrochemicals & heaps energy to make then, then after short term use our rainbow hued releasers of childhood imagination end up in landfill leaching chemicals into the soil and yup eventually the waterways. Ace.

Because nothing says ‘the wonder of childhood’ quite like making products that pollute their future.

So are there any Eco Pens on the Market Suitable for Coloring In?

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Women – Just not Sufficiently Committed to (Social) Enterprise?

Women in Social Enterprise: Wobbles on the Tracks

Women in (Social) Enterprise: Wobbles on the Tracks

As part of this journey of muka kids I don’t just write about how fantastic social enterprise is, why I want to do what I do, the changes that need to happen in the clothing industry, and the systems that need innovating in the way we buy and use clothes, I write about when the wheels start to come off. Or as we call it in our house the ”Thomas and the Wobbly Wheels” scenario. This particular wobble relates to the best model to ensure social enterprise or business success.

I know from my life as a researcher and psychologist, good intentions are no indicator of success. In fact good intentions without good planing, research and investment are a bloody terrible thing because they raise up expectations all over the place and then drop them flat down on their face. The question I have had to ask myself a lot in the last few days is – am I well intentioned but not well qualified and not well prepared? These are really good questions to ask, all people should ask themselves this a lot, about lots of things, but especially when they are spending a lot of personal resources (all types) on a project that many other people make sacrifices for also. Continue Reading →

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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What is Wrong with the Kittens? (or Why Unisex Clothing is Good for Kids)

unisex clothing for kids

just do it!

If I asked you to think about most girls clothing what sort of images come to mind? Here is what I get:

Kittens, kittens wearing bows, kittens wearing lipstick and heels, kitten heels, bows, lipstick, hearts, kisses, girls and boys kissing, PRINCESSESS (a lot of these). Stars, frills, tiaras. Pink, purple, tiny bikinis.

What have I left off? Oh yes inappropriate designs & slogans which are creeping slowly and inexorably into our little girls clothing  like this one recently posted by an appalled Dad*.

Now bring to mind boys clothing. Trucks, trains, planes automobiles. Dinosaurs, racing cars, monsters and camouflage. Green, khaki, black and Blue. Diggers, planes, skateboards too. ‘Rad’ ‘Awesome’ and Supercool.

By the way this stuff is NOT awesome at all.

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10 Ways to Make Kids Clothes Last Longer: Care (Part 2 of 2)

Extending the Life of Clothes WILL help save the world

Extending the Life of Clothes WILL help save the world

Increasing the lifespan of clothes has a whole HEAP of benefits.  At muka kids  we know making kids clothes last longer will actually will help save the planet and is (of course) better for family budgets. This is part of the reason why we have a marketplace to buy and sell previously loved organic and ethical kids clothing. In part 1 of this blog topic, I focused on ten design features that make kids clothes last longer that you can look out for. This second post is focussed on the ten things you can do to look after kids clothes so they last (based on science- I love science!)

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10 Ways to Make Kids Clothes Last Longer: Design Features (Part 1 of 2)

Increasing the lifespan of clothes has a whole HEAP of benefits.  At muka kids  we know keeping kids clothes in longer use will help save the planet and is (of course) better for family budgets. Improving the sustainability of clothing is part of the reason why we have a marketplace to buy and sell previously loved organic and ethical kids clothing. In this, the first of a two part feature on making kids clothes last,  I want to focus on the ten design features that make kids clothes last longer. The second feature covers 10 ways that you can care for kids clothes that will help them last longer (based on science- I love science!)

The carbon, water and waste footprint of clothes is surprisingly large (the average family’s annual clothes requirements produce carbon the equivalent of driving 10,000 km, uses 889 baths worth of water and creates the waste equivalent to throwing out 80 pairs or so of jeans). So, it is a resource intensive process making new clothes, using them (and then not using them). The longer we can make clothes last and the greater number of kids that wear an item, the less environmental damage that particular piece of clothing is responsible for (and all the better for budgets too).

 

140707 Quote for extending life of clothes blog part 1

 

What are the Ten Design Features  That Help Clothes Last Longer? Continue Reading →

Sustainable Business and the Ladies

Chatting recently with another parent, who is also in the social enterprise line, we were reflecting on the difficulties that women with kids have in finding a place in the whole ‘start-up’[1] business culture. I say women with kids because the reality is that women remain the primary caregivers of children in our society even when they work (working part-time more than men etc).

It gave me pause to reflect about our global need to move to economies based on sustainable businesses (business that works with and for the environment and people), and whether we are failing to address a rather large impediment to getting there: the ladies, or rather the lack of the ladies.

So my thinking goes like this. There is a huge market out there providing resources and support for start-ups, but the support that is offered, is in the main structured towards the lifestyle of the young, childless bloke. So all weekend workshops run till 1 am, 6 month incubator programmes, fulltime and more, the full total immersion approach… you get the idea, not a scenario many women with kids can fully embrace, but one which the young and childless can. It will be no surprise to most of you when I say that generally, business (including the new models of start-ups) is structured in a way that does not take into account how a lot of women currently work and live in our society. While there are plenty of young women out there without kids that can do the start-up thing equally with men the reality is that a start-up is often not a single enterprise. Rather multiple business and entrepreneurial adventures are entered into across a lifetime; meaning that eventually most women involved in the start-up life are going to experience the sharp end of this particular stick.

Where the picture looks slightly different is in social enterprise – essentially a social enterprise is a start-up with a social, ethical, environmental mission at its core. In the UK twice as many women run social enterprise than lead small business. Which makes me wonder if there is something about the social enterprise culture in particular that presents fewer barriers and more levers to women when compared to traditional business models, or just that it is easier to push through the existing barriers to business as a woman if you have the extra motivation of a social or environmental mission you want to achieve?

So where am I going with this? Well here is the crux of it: if starting up in business is more difficult for women because of the way the current model of support and incubation is constructed, and if more women are involved and interested in starting up sustainable and social business, then to be really successful at turning our economy into one built on social and sustainable business we need to better understand (and do something about) what impedes or assists women in starting up in any enterprise.

Interested in this issue? here are some more resources…..

Start-up funding success and gender

Why women offer something a bit different to business

Some cool social enterprises for women and girls

 

and here is some of my many different types of work..

and here are just a few of my many different types of work…..

[1] “a company, a partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. …” (thanks Wikipedia).