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The idea of sustainable and ethical clothing is critical for us in the fashion industry. We are the ones who need to drive this change. But why? Let’s explore this with an example of ethical kids clothing. We all understand kids’ clothing, but what is ethical kids clothing? Is it the same as eco-friendly kids’ clothes?
The idea of ethical kids clothing encompasses a lot more than being eco-friendly. Of course, environmental aspects are a part of it, but there’s more. For example, how are the clothes being made and by whom? As per some estimates, 1 million tonnes of textile in India end up in landfills every year. Ethical kids clothing is about making longer-lasting clothes to avoid this problem.
Here is a deeper look at this concept and why it matters so much for us as an industry.
Why Ethical Kids Clothing?
Kids clothing is undoubtedly one of the most popular categories for designers as well as sellers. The reason is simple. The freedom in designing and the variety of options in terms of colors, motifs, and fabric available for this category, make it a pleasure to work with. Similarly, all parents love to dress up their bundles of joy. Hence, it is a fast-moving category as well.
But with all this enthusiasm around kids’ clothes, do we ever pause to think about what we are making the children wear? It is so easy to get lost in the fact that we can create any design, and it will work for kids. But who is making these designs come true? What is the fabric that is being used? These are some pertinent questions behind the idea of ethical kids clothing. Let us delve a little deeper into each of these issues.
Production of Clothes
There are a number of steps involved in the production process, as we are all aware. But the relevant questions to ask ourselves about the process include
· Is the final garment being produced by a worker working in unsafe conditions?
· Was a child forced to work to make that dress for another child?
· What quantity of natural resources are being consumed in the whole process?
These are some of the things we need to take a stand for as an industry. Ethical kids clothing is where we address these concerns and ensure that the production process ensures
· Safe and hygienic working conditions for the workers involved
· No forced labor
· No child labor
· No exposure to toxic chemicals for the workers or their families
· Proper waste disposal
· Minimizing the use of natural resources, especially water
Material Being Used
Instead of thinking purely from a profit perspective, here are a few things to consider. Are the designs and color schemes that we create workable on any fabric, or does it need a specific kind of dress material?
The material that is used for making the clothes is critical, especially when it comes to kids’ clothing. We have always been cautious, as an industry, to use soft materials for the hypersensitive skin of children. What also needs to be factored in is the number of chemicals children are exposed to, because of the material.
This is a major reason why kids eco clothing is the need of the hour. A lot of synthetic material can cause rashes, allergies, and other skin-related issues for children wearing them due to the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. As opposed to this, natural materials like cotton are great for a kids’ garment.
It is not just the child wearing these clothes that benefits from eco-friendly kids’ clothes. The workers making these garments are also saved from extensive exposure to harmful chemicals. This is a critical component of making ethical kids clothing – taking care of our customers and the suppliers.
Ensuring Standards for Ethical Kids Clothing
While we may agree that ethical kids’ clothing should be the way of work and that we should focus on eco-friendly kids’ clothes, how do we ensure this? How to inform customers of the efforts that we are putting in? This is especially important for those just entering the industry. There are two ways to ensure this:
Many organizations conduct audits of not just the clothes but the entire manufacturing process – from the way the cotton is grown, dyed, manufactured into clothes, and even packaging, they monitor every step. These audits include the working conditions and payment of fair wages. With such stringent assessment, they certify each piece of garment. This is the biggest proof we can provide our customers that when we say we are making ethical kids clothing, we are actually practicing it.
The certifications may be a strong validation but are also expensive. So, for a start-up in the fashion space, it is easier to put out the brand story – on their website, on social media, etc. This works really well till a scale is achieved where we can go for the certification. Having understood the importance of embracing ethical kids clothing, we may wonder how to find manufacturers who adhere to these guidelines? A great place to find suppliers meeting all these criteria is the Fashinza platform, which makes it easy to source vendors, track and get collections delivered.