Monday, August 10, 2020

talking sustainability! (and favorite brands)

I know that shopping from a sustainable and ethical brand is often more expensive than their fast fashion "conventional" counterparts, but there are other ways to shop sustainably! 

I often get asked if there are cheaper sustainable baby brands or how we afford and/or justify buying such expensive clothes for Miles when kids typically “ruin” and grow out of clothes so fast. So I'm sharing a quick little post with some thoughts on sustainability, how we justify it for a toddler (and ourselves) and our favorite brands. 

. . . 

A big part of shopping sustainably and ethically is changing HOW you shop, not just where. Changing the way you think about shopping and your needs is just as important as where you’re getting them from. 

We are often consumed with the idea that more is better - so no wonder it seems impossible to strictly shop from these 'more expensive brands'. The mantra “buy better, but buy less” is key. 

First - these brands are more expensive for a reason. It costs to make clothing the right way (faster = cheaper = not quality = not made to last = need to buy more). It costs to pay someone an ethical wage that they can live off of for working on a garment/product. Natural fibers are usually more expensive. Having a plastic free supply chain means using either reusable, recyclable or biodegradable items which are more expensive. They make items in smaller batches and it is typically more expensive to produce clothing this way. Small batch manufacturing means brands aren't over-producing which leads to waste (basically, more = faster + cheaper = not intentional production or conscious consumption). The list goes on. 

 But what if in addition to shopping from sustainable brands, we switched our mindset on consumption. What if we started buying LESS. If you’re buying less in  general, then you’ll be saving overall. If you have less items, but they’re quality, then you won’t need to keep buying more (like you do when your other clothes don’t even last the year). Remember “buy better, but less”!

This is how we justify the more expensive pieces from sustainable brands for Miles (and ourselves!). We make sure to spend on items that we know will last him (we typically buy larger so they fit longer) and last to pass on to our next baby. We have less “variety” - his closet is pretty small! You’ll notice he wears an assortment of same pieces over and over. Lizzie McGuire was an outfit repeater and we are too. 

So with all that in mind, here are some tips for making the switch:

- rethink how you're shopping - you don't need a ton of options, you don't need a closet bursting at the seams with pieces you don't wear. few but better is key.
- start slow! when you need a new item, consider replacing it with a one from a sustainable / ethical brand.
- buy the pricier brands/items secondhand! (buy secondhand in general! ) a great way to shop these brands for a lower price and continuing a sustainable practice. (full circle people! if you have the means to shop the more expensive brands, do it and then re-sell or pass them on to continue the chain so everyone has access to organic quality clothing. accessibility is the goal).
- shop at the end of a season for the next one (or even next year) ahead. know what you / your child needs for that next season and use the end of season sales to prepare in advance!
- if you have the ability, make  your own clothes! something I've wanted to get into more and develop my skill in. 

* (especially for kiddos) 
- stick with hardier fabrics! Natural fibers are naturally forgiving. 100% organic cotton, linen, 100% cotton denim, etc.
- buy larger so they can be worn longer! if you have multiple kids, start with the eldest and you'll be able to pass them down to the next kids to get the most wear! hand-me-downs are sustainable! 

It wont happen over night, but with time and a little effort it will become second nature. As your kids get older, talk to them about sustainability! Talk to them about how things are made and who they're made by. Talk about fabrics that are natural and good for your body and the earth and ones that aren't. The more you talk about it, the more interested they'll become in their clothes and it will shape their habits as they get older and make these decisions for themselves! 

Some of my favorite brands:
Indigo Luna (for workout gear)
Mate The Label
All The Babies
Whimsy and Row
Christy Dawn 
Jenni Kayne 
Youswim + Galamar + Lacausa for swim
Poshmark (for second hand!)
Etsy (for vintage)

and for kids:
The Simple Folk 
All the Babies
Rudy Jude
Nico Nico 
Bobo Choses
Summer and Storm
Parade Organics
Numero 74
Roux Kids 
Kidizen (for second hand!)
Poshmark (for second hand!)
Etsy (for handmade + vintage!)


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