You know about organic food, but did you know you can get organic clothing too?
Organic clothing, especially for kids, is increasing in popularity – even big brands like Costco’s Kirkland label and H&M sell organic. But what do those labels really mean, and are they worth it? Let’s take a look.
Many proponents of organic clothes focus on the benefits from organic cotton. Cotton is one of the most pesticide intensive crops, and requires a substantial amount of water. Whether those pesticides remain on your t-shirt or not is up for debate, but environmentally, organic farming practices are likely better for the environment.
Eco-friendly fabrics are also available for those looking for a cotton alternative:
- Bamboo is a renewable resource, but often will be treated with chemicals during manufacture. It’s a good option environmentally, but may be questionable from a chemical exposure perspective.
- Tencel is a brand name of a newer textile called lyocell. It is made from wood pulp in an environmentally-friendly process, but may still involve chemical treatments during manufacture.
- Hemp is the latest and greatest eco fabric. It can be grown in colder climates than cotton and bamboo (you can find Canadian-grown hemp). Many products will be made dye-free or with non-toxic dyes (though check the specific product to be sure).
Organic Clothing Labels
A product may use organic fabric, but that doesn’t tell you anything about the dyes used. You can look for a finished product that is GOTS certified if you want to use less-toxic dyes, but this can be a challenge. A product can still be labelled organic even if only the cotton is organic, it just won’t carry the GOTS seal on the label (unless it’s with a statement saying “made with GOTS organic certified cotton”).
It should be noted that it is likely cost prohibitive for a small clothing company to certify each piece of clothing. This is likely one reason why it’s more common to find clothes simply made with organic cotton then those that carry the GOTS label.
Organic Kids’ Clothing Brands
If you’re on the hunt for organic clothing, here are some reputable and local brands that parents love. If you’re lucky enough to snag these up at your local consignment store, I say go for it! But you can get them online and in some brick-and-mortar stores too.
mini mioche is a popular brand, and for good reason! Founded by a mom in Toronto, all of the clothes are made in Canada using GOTS certified organic cotton yarn. It doesn’t appear to be fully GOTS certified, but they do claim that “fabrics are dyed using low-impact, non-toxic, re-usable dyes.” You can find mini mioche in their own stores on Queen West and the Distillery District in Toronto. And, of course, online.
Handmade in Toronto, Ollie Jones is a great option for those looking to support local. You can find adorable prints and styles made with GOTS certified cotton and water-based dyes. Again, not fully GOTS certified, but a step in the right direction.
Parade Organics kids’ clothes are fully GOTS certified organic. They are made in India (where the cotton comes from) under fair trade conditions. Parade Organics is a Canadian company with a brick and mortar shop in Vancouver. You can also find Parade more readily in boutique baby stores across Canada, which makes them a little more accessible as far as organic clothing goes.
I was recently introduced to the Pingo Apparel online shop specializing in organic clothes with fun patterns that kids are sure to love. They even have a page where you can purchase pre-loved clothes – how cool is that?! Read their blog post on building a more eco-friendly and ethical kids’ wardrobe on a budget for more ideas too.
This Toronto-based online shop offers European brands of kids’ clothes that are fun and practical at the same time. Most of the brands use GOTS certified organic cotton, and some of the lines are fully GOTS certified. The prints are gorgeous, and not your typical “boys” and “girls” stereotypes. While these clothes may have a larger ecological footprint than those made and sold in Canada, Modern Rascals offers a great collection for ethical and sustainable fashion.
Do you have a favourite brand that makes and sells certified organic kids’ clothes? Comment below with your favourites!