It’s no secret that I love kid’s clothes. Seb has, in the last year, become that much less exciting to dress; he was 7 in April and a lot of my favourite brands for fun, colourful, retro inspired kids clothes don’t run much bigger than 7-8 years. Being tall for his age, he’s already in 9-10 (which means even Frugi is almost a thing of the past). Baby and toddler clothing however is my weakness, and ever since Quinn was tiny I’ve paid far too much attention to what she’s been wearing.
Good news is – that’s not about to change any time soon.
However, I’ve becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental cost of fashion, the High Street in particular. Most of the time, I don’t know where mine or the kid’s clothes have been made. I always thought that M&S, for example, would be relatively ethical in their production line; until I learned that their clothes are made in the same factories as clothing for Primark. In fact, when poor working conditions resulted in a disastrous accident at one such factory, the relief effort was mainly funded by Primark, with Marks & Spencer, despite having an equal investment in the factory, declining to contribute. So this raised all sorts of questions for me.
How do we really get our hands on an ethical wardrobe? There are ethical brands out there of course, small companies, producing fair trade, organic garms for customers with enough money to support that approach. Where possible, I’ve always tried to support those companies, but financially, it’s never been viable to own a 100% brand new fairtrade wardrobe for myself and both kids.
I started researching, and more and more often I came back to the same truth – that in terms of carbon footprint, and thus, impact on our planet, it is always better to buy second hand High Street than it is to buy from so called ethical brands. Preloved clothing, regardless of original manufacture is, undeniably, the most ethical way to shop. Vintage, in particular, tends to support small business and keep clothing out of landfill.
It’s also, the most affordable route to an ethical wardrobe.
So; on that note, going into 2018, I’ve made a single pledge to Mama Earth; no more new clothing. For me, or for either of the children. None of it. Zilch. From this day forward you’ll only see us wearing clothes we already owned from 2017 or beyond, or something we bought second hand. I’ll revisit this at the end of the year to decide whether it’s something we continue for-evs.
I should mention that buying from charity shops, Facebook selling pages, Ebay, vintage/thrift stores etc. is no new concept to our family; Quinn’s wardrobe in particular doesn’t actually contain that much bought-new. But, it’s important to me to adjust our buying habits completely so that preloved makes up 100% of our clothing.
I’ll be making exceptions for underwear (including socks & tights), and clothing required for school or work, and also the children’s shoes. I think it’s important that children’s growing feet aren’t in pre-worn shoes as the shoes tend to have moulded around the previous owner’s foot which can effect comfort and have an impact on how the second owner walks. All outer garms though, including accessories like hats, gloves etc. will be from second hand sources from now on.
Other exceptions I’ll make will be for gifts (I’m not about to throw gifts back in people’s faces!) and genuine handmade items (for example, if I learn to crochet properly!)
I can’t wait to share with you how we style our new (to us) clothes in 2018. I’ll be sharing preloved outfits, modelled both by me and both children, on Instagram using the hashtag #myprelovedwardrobe2018 – you can follow me right here.