Thirty years years ago, dressing your children in eco-friendly clothing meant something along the lines of wrapping them in a hemp sheet and leaving them barefoot. But walk down the high street now, and you'll find a whole array of green kids clothes, albeit some more trendy than others. So why the big change? Even though the current economic climate has put a damper on consumers’ focus on the environment, there is a growing demand for eco-conscious children’s clothing. Hardwearing, good quality clothes are generally recycled among family members and friends, making their initial cost less of an issue.
‘Global warming, water shortages and images of horrible working conditions for workers cause many to choose greener alternatives as does the fact that the these clothes are safer and more comfortable for the children that wear them,' says Joen Weidemann, Creative Director at hip Danish label, New Generals. As the demand increases, so does the range and variety of sustainable kids clothing. High street chain, H&M introduced baby clothing made from sustainable materials in 2005 and now has entire collections made purely from organic materials. H&M spokesperson, Laura Maggs, believes the trend is on the up. 'Our customers are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental and social issues and we are proud of the fact that we're the world’s largest buyer of organic cotton,' she comments.
Either way, it's great news for children. Not only can they choose from some of the most fashionable clothing on the market, eco-friendly threads are much better for their delicate skin. 'A number of chemicals used in textile processing can potentially cause skin reactions,' warns Clio Turton from the Soil Association. 'Sourcing clothes made from organic cotton is a simple way to make sure that many of the environmental boxes have been ticked,' she adds, recommending wool and hemp clothing as top choices. Shoppers can ensure their clothing is chemical free by purchasing pieces made from materials certified by Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), who prohibit the use of such agents. So, what better way to treat your little ones? Whether it's everyday wear, hardy playing clothes or super funky outfits, choosing the eco-friendly option is doing good all round. As Turton says: 'people can have a powerful impact on others and the planet as well as protecting their children – after all, they’ll be inheriting the planet next.'
The lowdown: From everyday shorts and t-shirts to pretty summer dresses and funky hoodies, Green Baby's affordable collections [left] are bright and bold with playful prints. All of their clothing is made from Fairtrade and 100 per cent Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) certified cotton.
Our pick: The High Summer collection offers perfect holiday wear with nautical stripes and sea-life graphics. The sleeveless jumpsuit, £18, is fashionably fun for outdoorsy types.
Green Baby offer ranges to suit ages 0-8 years. For more information, see www.greenbaby.com
The lowdown: Classic and stylish with a modern twist, Bamboo baBy offers a range of silky-soft knitwear and denim with fun colourful prints. The S/S12 Sweetie Collection uses a unique interlock of bamboo and organic cotton with scrumptious designs. Bamboo baBy's clothing is natural, chemical free and composed of sustainable materials such as bamboo - the world’s fastest growing plant.
Our pick: Gorgeous for any little lady, the girls organic bamboo knitted dress, £24.99, has a cashmere feel and can be worn all year round.
Bamboo baBy offer ranges to suit ages 0-7 years. For more information, see www.bamboo-baby.com
The lowdown: Frugi's kids’ clothes are a celebration of childhood. Designed for adventure, the range is bright, fun and hard wearing and combines stylish design with practicality. Print themes include florals and farm animals and with lots of two-way designs to choose from, children won’t get bored. Frugi clothes are made in ethical factories using certified organic cotton and packaged in non-GM potato starch bags.
Our pick: Frugi has some adorable babygros for little nippers. The Daisy Chain babygro, £16, with matching hat and integral scratch mitts is a blooming delight.
Frugi offer ranges to suit ages 0-8 years. For more information, see www.welovefrugi.com
The lowdown: Offering the sort of ultra-cool pieces that have made Copenhagen the go-to place for seriously stylish design, New General's approach to kidswear [right] mixes comfort with style. Long slender cuts and narrow legs make for a form-fitting silhouette, while the palette is kept to minimal (and easily washed) grey, black and white with occasional splashes of colour – great for every season. Each piece features quirky details and kids will love the bug-themed prints; beautiful butterflies and big black beetles. New Generals' production process follows the Global Organic Textiles Standards that ensures the clothing is ethically produced. They even use packaging, hang tags and hangers made from recycled cardboard.
Our pick: Little ladies will look super trendy in the Butterfly Splash dress, €48, featuring the New Generals signature giant back pocket and short bat sleeves.
New Generals offer ranges to suit ages 0-10 years. For more information, see www.newgenerals.com
The lowdown: Founded by a Swedish illustrator and inspired by a legendary circus king, it's not surprising that Mini Rodini's style offers a winning blend of creativity and humour. Kids will stand out from the crowds in the arty colourful designs. There is a wide selection of casual and smart pieces as well as quirky accessories. Mini Rodini's Wild at Heart collection is everything it claims to be, with bold animal patterns, tropical themes and exotic prints. For kids who idolise the likes of Lady GaGa and superheroes, the Rebel With A Cause range, will have them strutting with glee. And all of their clothes are made with sustainability and quality in focus.
Our pick: Mini Rodini boys can choose from some of the trendiest jeans going. Mix them with the Detroit denim shirt in grey/stonewash, €47.90, for an effortless but cool look.
Mini Rodini offer ranges to suit ages 0-11 years. For more information, see www.minirodini.com
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