Sustainable Ethical Kids Clothes 2022

Baby in Romper with Hat

When you ask people what tured them onto sustainable living the answer very often has to do with becoming a parent. There’s something so primeval about wanting to protecting our children from all the world’s ills and nowadays the impending threat of the planet’s demise unfortunately must be counted as one of them.  Therefore it’s not surprising to see how buoyant the organic cotton children’s clothing sector is, both at home and abroad.

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Before I launch into listing all of the brands involved, lets pause for a moment; do you really need to buy new? Charity shops are bursting with good-quality pre-loved garments for children at a fraction of their original cost. There are also more and more resale options including;

And if you need a suit for a communion or wedding you can hire one from most dress suit hire shops.

For the moment my budget doesn’t allow me to limit our clothing to toxin-free organic garments and so the next most sustainable option for us is to wear second-hand clothing as much as possible. When my kids were younger we were lucky to benefit from hand-me-downs from other families, which I would top up their wardrobes with items from local charity shops as I found them.

It was a total godsend, saving us a fortune and lots of shopping time.  Not only is this a planet positive choice, it’s also the least expensive way to cloth my children.  When I was doing this approximately 70% – 80% of my kids wardrobes are made up of pre-loved garments. I appreciate that some parents can be iffy about buying second-hand clothes for their children, but let me allay some of your fears.

If it’s hygiene then you could put a garment in the freezer overnight to kill any nasties, although I’ve been buying second-hand clothes for years now and never had a problem.

If it’s the hassle factor then I suggest limiting yourself to just one shop a week. Trust me as soon as you nab you’re first bargain you’ll be hooked. Or buy from one of the resale companies listed above.

If it’s the shame factor of buying second-hand then I let you in on a little secret. Everyone’s doing it! And why wouldn’t then? You get clothes in excellent condition for pennies, which allows you to spend your hard-earned cash on more enjoyable things.

If you can’t find what you need second hand then here is a list of sustainable ethical kids clothing brands to help you shop new items as sustainably as possible.

What to Look For
Although not all kids clothing under the ethical banner is made from natural fibre, it is a very high percentage. You’ll find that the vas majority of brands listed here have organic cotton as their fibre of choice, but not all organic cotton is the same.  If you’re going to spend the extra money for a premium product you need to ask a few questions to make sure it’s worth it.

  • Is the fibre independently certified as being organically grown? It’s very easy to just label something as organic, I would only trust something certified by an independent organisation like The Soil Association or GOTS.
  • Is just the fibre certified or the entire supply chain certified as organic? With the former just the fabric is certified as organic, with the latter every step along the journey of the fibre becoming a garment has been certified as organic. Obviously the latter is better, but will inevitable cost more.
  • Is the garment made with 100% organic fibre or just blended with it? Remember blended fabrics aren’t currently recyclable as is the case with H&M’s organic range.
  • Has the fibre been processed without the use of toxic chemicals and certified as such, i.e. Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified?
  • Has the factory that made the garment a fair and ethical certificate. Certificates in this area include FairwearFairtrade USA or FloCert on behalf of Fairtrade International or they may have gained SA8000 certification for having achieved socially acceptable practices in the workplace. Fair Wear is the only organisation that states it’s a non-profit. As part of my research I learned about a split between Fairtrade USA and FairTrade International, with claims that Fairtrade USA were setting their standards to low.
  • Where is the factory located? You may instinctively think that a European based factory is more sustainable but it may be more sustainable to have a garment made in the same country as the fibre is produced in, as this will save on packing materials and possibly transport emissions. I wouldn’t get too hung up on trying to work out which is more sustainable, just wanted to alert you to the fact that it’s not always obvious.

Sustainable Ethical Clothing Brands

Ireland

Sugar & Storm make GOTS certified organic cotton clothing In Ireland for kids <8 years of age. Their fabrics are printed with water-based, PH neutral inks using a low-waste method, which they say results in vibrant, long-lasting prints. Their postcards, business cards and swing tags have been made with recycled card. Their mailers are home compostable, carbon negative, waterproof, reusable (dual adhesive strip), and use non toxic water based inks. Their stickers and string are also compostable, as is their tissue paper, which is made from recycled paper and printed with non-toxic, PH-neutral inks.

Fancy Fawn is an Irish brand with clothing for kids <8 years of age, made from GOTS certified organic cotton, Lyocell or from recycled polyester fabric. The clothing is made in America, with production and design decisions done remotely to save on carbon. Also products are shipped using a ‘green’ vessel the emits less greenhouse gas than standard shops. Their packaging is all biodegradable.

Slugs and Snails is an Irish company making tights and clothes for kids <6 years of age solely from GOTS certfied organic cotton, They state that they only use yarns and manufacturing processes which are Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified.

Fauna Kids (formerly Moobles and Toobles) in Ireland make bodysuits, rompers, leggings and dresses for babies (0-16 months) in GOTS certified organic cotton in a factory in Turkey. They say that employees in the factory are paid fair wages and work in safe conditions and that a lot of the graphics are hand printed in Ireland using Eco-friendly inks. They now also sell natural-dyed, chrome-free, vegetable-tanned leather shoes that have been handmade in the UK.

Little Litto sells neutral coloured organic cotton pyjamas and jumpsuits for babies up to 18months.

Cotton Kids sells a selection of organic cotton clothes for kids <12 years

Baby Gnu makes lovely colourful organic cotton loop scarves for children in Ireland.

Cotton Caterpillars in Cork makes baby and kids clothes <14 years of age from organic fabrics printed with water based inks.

AA McEvoy makes clothing for children >3 in organic cotton and hemp in Ireland.

Simply Organic offer clothing made from organic, undyed and untreated cotton for babies.

Shorebird sells personalised onesies and sweatshirts (up to 11 years) in organic cotton, and recycled polyester.

Fresh Cuts offer sweatshirts, hoodies, and tracksuit bottoms in GOTs Certified organic cotton

Zizo in Waterford sells joggers, tshirts and hoodies for kids <14, made in a Fairwear factory from organic cotton and recycled plastic marine waste, which they print with toxin-free water based inks. They also donate to an environmental charity with every purchase.

British brand Jojo Maman Bebe have some clothing made from waste clothing and recycled plastic bottles. They say they are a company that value diversity and employ staff with disabilities. Every year they collage gift packs of their preloved clothing for UK and Syrian- based charities. They also have an in-house charity, Nema Foundation, which works to reduce child poverty in rural Africa. They have stores in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.

The only clothing brand for men, women, babies and kids <14 years of age that didn’t exclusively use organic cotton is Patagonia, who in addition to organic cotton also offer clothing made from recycled soda bottles. All of which are printed with PVC- and phthalate-free inks. Their fleece garments are Fairtrade certified and they state that they work with factories and mills to ensure ethical work-practices, good working conditions and processes that are less harmful to the environment. The company also gives 1% of their sales to support environmental organizations around the world and they offer a repair service in the US and have teamed up with iFixit to create care and repair guides so customers can repair themselves.

Outdoor clothing brand Columbia has a ‘Outgrown Extend System‘ which has upturned sleeves and legs that you can let down as your kids grow.

The following are Irish online retailers of organic kids clothing from various brands

  • Siolog (Ireland<3) sells these brands and they’ve also started to buy back clothing from their customers to resell!!!
  • Kotoneco (Ireland) stocks brands Duns Sweden, JNY, Froy and Dind, Nadadelazos, Modeerska Huset, Albababy and Smafolk Denmark. The owner of this company also runs the Facebook group Preloved Organic Kids Clothing Ireland
  • Rainbow Kids (Ireland <10 years) sells brands including  Maxomorra, Toby Tiger, Hatley, Little Green Radicals, Pigeon Organics, Alba, Livie and Luca, amongst others.
  • The Mermaids Purse (Ireland <8 years) sells brands Maxomorra, Moromini, Duns of Sweden, Forever is a Second and Slugs and Snails. They also sell pre-loved organic clothes.
  • The Green Rainbow (Ireland <12 years) sells Forever is on Second, Moromini, Naperonuttu, Slugs and Snails, Raspberry Republic, Duns Sweden, JNY and Maxomorra.
  • The Cotton Drawer (Ireland <8 years) sells JNY, Pigeon Organics and Smafolk,
  • Bumble Lane (Ireland, baby) sell brands JNY, Pigeon, Moobles and Toobles, and Smafolk.
  • Clara & Carl (Ireland <3) sell brands Disano, Engel, Fred’s World, FUB, Joha, Little Green Radicles, Loud and Proud, Pickapoo, Pigeon, Serendipity Organics.
  • Little Barn (Ireland <7 years) stocks Little Hedonist, iglo + indi, I dig denim, Little Man Happy and Loudly DK.
  • The Cotton Shops (Ireland <2 years) stocks clothing from Frugi, Kite Kids and Green Baby.
  • Snuggle Fox (Ireland <11 years) stocks the brands loud+proud, DUNS Sweden, More than a FLING, Kite, Maxomorra, Piccalilly, Blade & Rose, Lanka Kade, Holztiger, HABA.
  • Baby Grow (Ireland <10 years) stock Maxomorra, Duns Sweden, Zippy, Pigeon Organics, More than a Fling, Mori, Elephant and Mouse, and bibs from Runa Baby.
  • Hopscotch Kids (Ireland<12 years) stock clothing by Name It, some of which are made from organic cotton
  • Oh By Gum (Ireland <9) sells clothing for kids by Frugi and Kite.
  • Mira Mira (Ireland <11) sell clothes by Mini Rodini
  • Kidhood (Ireland < 11) sells some clothes made from GOTS organic cotton

The following high-street stores sell some kids clothing in recycled or organic fabric; ArnottsMango, Cos, Marks and Spencer and Name It

Although no longer in Ireland The Gap does ship to Ireland and sells organic cotton clothing, including pyjamas, for kids <15 years

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Get access to the full listing of kids clothing brands, along with access to all of my other shopping guides. This website is updated weekly with new brands, businesses and research.

Till next time

Elaine

PS – You might also be interested in my articles on Raising Zero Waste Kids, Activities to do with Kids, Low-waste crafts to do with kids

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

6 thoughts on “Sustainable Ethical Kids Clothes 2022

  1. Hi there
    That is a very good list you have up there. Lovely to see all available options.
    Can I just bring your attention to my business?
    I am the funder/maker at CottonCaterpillars (previously known as Handmade by Kata)
    I am making baby and kids clothes from preemie age up to 14. Also make sustainable underwear, reusables items such as breast pads and period pads. And supporting breastfeeding by making bras and wrap dresses. I am based in west cork and using high quality organic fabrics which are printed with water based inks, the best options for babies.

    If you’d like to see the full collection please visit my website http://www.CottonCaterpillars.ie

    Thank you for reading it.

    1. Glad you liked it. Best of luck with your kids’ clothes business.

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