Thursday, 23 August 2018

sustainable fashion baby


I love dressing my baby everyday (surprise, surprise). I'd change his outfit multiple times a day if he didn't scream bloody murder every time I pulled sleeves on or off him (it's been a looonnnng winter, folks). And I'm happy to say that I have found it super easy to dress him sustainably - much easier than I find dressing myself, even. 

Since I've decided not to show his crazy adorable face on public websites or social media outlets I haven't been posting photos of his looks as often as I'd like, but then I realised, I can just use the magic of cropping to chop that cute mug out of the photos (baby brain is real...).  So here are a few photos, but more importantly, my tips on dressing the crazy adorable little ones in your life.

Love pre-loved
This is by far the best and easiest way to dress a baby sustainably. Before my little guy was born I was gifted four huge bags of gender neutral baby clothes from a friend whose two little ones had outgrown them. Once he was here, a couple other friends gifted me their sons' clothing. These bundles, in particular the large number of basic singlets, onesies and tees, were by and far the best gift I could have received. THANK YOU dear friends, you know who you are.

I've also topped up his secondhand stash with some fabulous purchases from:
  • eBay - including a few "bundles" and specific searches for a winter coat and pants
  • My Kids Market NSW - I have been twice now and picked up quality pre-loved clothing for a bargain, but you can also find prams, furniture, car seats and lots of toys
  • Op Shops - though I admit I haven't found much in the local Op Shops, they seem to be filled with girls' clothes
  • Clothes Swaps - there are plenty of kids clothing swaps popping up, there have been two in my general neighbourhood over the past month alone!
Because babies grow so quickly, you are likely to find near-new (and often never worn!) clothing in these places, so keep your eye out for the great bargains to be had, and avoid buying new from the shops as much as possible.

Both of us in our secondhand fashion enjoying a winter day at the beach.

Score from the My Mids NSW markets!

Sweet Nature Baby cardi with secondhand tops and pants

Clothes from an eBay Baby Boy Bundle

Chats with his Kenana Down Under fair trade bear
in his secondhand clothes
(on a preloved playmat with a preloved ball)


Made with Love
If you're as lucky as I am, you will receive some items that were lovingly handcrafted. Many of my son's socks were made by his grandma, my mother-in-law, as well as some jumpers and overalls. A neighbour's mother also knit him a gorgeous cardigan, and used naturally dyed yarn and coconut shell buttons because she knew my passion for sustainable fashion. These are all treasured heirlooms and I'm so happy to be able to include these in his wardrobe.

Created with Love by his Lolly! (aka, grandma)

Preloved bib, top and pants with hand made booties
(they are little elephants - thanks Lolly!) and preloved toys on
his organic cotton playmat, found on Etsy

This sweet cardigan was made by our neighbour's mother
(and is paired with all secondhand clothes).

Sustainable labels & shops
Thank goodness for internet search engines, because this is how I've found some truly beautiful baby clothing made of organic cotton, wool and natural dyes. Some of my favourite labels so far include:
  • Aster & Oak - local Australian label creating funky baby clothes from organic cotton
  • Carlie Ballard - that's right, our favourite ikat designer has baby wear, including nappy covers, harem pants, and gorgeous dresses made of the same beautiful, handwoven fabrics
  • Sapling - the first piece of baby clothing I bought was from Sapling, just divine little pieces
  • Finn & Emma - this is a US-based label and I received a number of lovely gifts from friends and family from this heavenly label
  • Never Working Mondays - adorable (and cool!) swim nappies/swimsuits made from wetsuit/rash guard offcuts
  • Toshi Organic - Toshi are well known in my mother's group for their hats, but did you know they have an organic range? Hats, cardigans, mittens, booties, blankets and overalls, too, in luxurious organic cotton
  • Weave & Wing - created the cutest overalls out of soft cotton, made to last a long time and produced ethically in small batches
  • Ergopouch - a fabulous label that makes pyjamas, sleepsuits and sleeping bags with organic cotton
  • Target - a woman from my mother's group let me in on the secret of Target selling affordable organic cotton baby clothes - yes, Target!
  • Burts Bees Baby - another one from the US, my mother has bought some delightful pieces from Burts Bees, pioneers in low-tox living
  • Nature Baby - this online store has fantastic organic cotton clothing as well as a range of other eco-friendly and non-toxic goodies for mums and bubs (plus a gift registry!)
  • Eco Child - another delightful online shop with a fantastic collection of clothes, toys and more
  • Etsy - it's always great to support handmade pieces, and I found a fantastic beanie from Belle Birdy Design on Etsy, which allowed me to choose the yarn colour and bobble colour to get my little one a unique winter head piece (I love it so much that when we lost it on holiday I ordered another one to be made exactly as before!)
Aster & Oak onesie, and bright organic cotton bib from eBay



Carlie Ballard pants with Target shirt
Weave & Wing overalls

Ergopouch PJs

In his Belle Birdy Designs hat (the original, haha)

Ask the questions
I know it's not always possible to buy from a sustainable clothing label or find what you need secondhand - especially when you're adjusting to new parenthood! (And I suspect even when you've been a parent for a few years, I'm quickly learning that time disappears with this little creatures in your life). So if you need to buy something and can't find it secondhand or via a speciality eco-label, keep these questions in mind:
  • How will it wear? As in, is it made of good quality fabrics and stitched well? You don't need to be an expert to look at the seams, check for loose threads or feel for overly thin fabric. Although kids grow quickly, they are also messy little things and you want items that will wash and wear well.
  • Will Bubba wear this enough to make it worthwhile? I know those adorable rompers with dragon spikes or bunny ears are super cute, and who doesn't love a baby in a suit vest and bow tie? But ask yourself how often you will dress your little one in any outfit before buying new. 
  • Do the colours suit my little one? Yes, even babies have certain colours that look better on them based on their skin tone and hair and eye colour. Make sure the colours bring out the best in your little one, or put it back on the rack.
  • What is the material, and who made this garment? Check out the tags to see what fabrics are used - with children's clothing it is often cotton, but there are some poly-blends out there you may wish to avoid (to steer clear of those pesky microfibres). See what information you can find online about the working conditions of who made the clothing, and if you don't see any information, email or social media message the brand to ask them for the details. It's your right to know what you are buying.

Have fun!
The old adage is true, kids grow up fast, so enjoy this time when you still have some element of control in what they wear (before identity and peer pressure start to take over!), and who knows, you may even instil some ethical consumption habits into them from an early age.


Do you have any questions or brands you'd like me to follow up on? Leave a comment here or message me on any of my social media accounts and I'll get back to you. Or, do you have any suggestions for great sustainable kids labels or other secondhand shops to share?

xLisa

PS A follow up to the the cloth nappy conundrum: 
We have continued our subscription with Lavenderia for the time being, and are very happy with this decision. Overnight we use a disposable nappy (Tooshies) to avoid leaks and nappy rash.

We have also started slowly toilet training our baby using elimination communication. We have a teeny tiny eco baby loo and have had great success with his poos (yay!). The idea is to learn your baby's cues about when they need to go to the bathroom - poos are easier to tell than wees - and simply take them to the toilet and use sounds to encourage them to go. We are going on 7 days straight of all poos in the toilet, and about two wees per day in the toilet. There are some great resources at Nurturer's Care if you want to learn more or buy an eco baby loo (this is the one we have!). I have friends who had great sucess with this method and I hope to report back the same next year!

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