Ethical Childrens Clothing

Monday, August 22, 2011

I have come to the conclusion that buying second hand clothing for little boys, is actually quite difficult. Having had a similar conversation with a mother of a little girl, it appears this is not limited to the male of the species.

My theory is this; little people like to jump in puddles, skid on their knees, roll in the grass, spill food (frequently), and wipe sticky fingers on their clothes. Therefore, children's clothing is often well worn, and stained once the garment is donated to a thrift shop. If children's clothes are donated, the likelihood is that most thrift shops would not sell such pieces, for, lets face it, many parents would not wish to buy pre-stained clothing for their children?

What is the solution, when buying brand new children's clothing is, quite frankly, far too expensive, and the manufacturing ethical conditions of such clothing may be questioned.

1. Make your own children's clothes. Not easy, given that not everyone can sew, and finding time to make clothing for children is no easy task considering; parent's + time = rarity!

2. Find ethically made children's clothing, which do not break the bank.

It has been a task to find, but I have a selection of ethical clothing pieces to show you:

Eternal Creation; Ethical Fashion from the Himalayas, (read more on Eternal Creation's background here) has a 30% sale on a selection of clothing.

Here are two of my handpicks from their children's range...

Raglan t-shirt with contrast piping and cut out yacht design.

Price: A$37.95 A$29.95

Square neck shirt with small ruffle either side of front button opening
with waist tie. 100% cotton.

Price: A$49.95 A$34.97

Readers note: I have been in contact with Eternal Creation as a result of my research and blog post, and they have kindly offered Recycled Fashion readers free shipping, and a generous giveaway. I will post details shortly on a new blog post, once our current giveaway finishes. Exciting!

The Fair Corporation currently have a superb offer of just £10 for a pair of fair trade, eco-friendly children's shoes. (Note; If you live outside of the UK, there is no international shipping from The Fair Corporation website, so you may need to find an international distributor)

ETHLETIC Organic Trainers Low Cut - Fairtrade, Black

"Fairtrade organic cotton trainers with a canvas upper and rubber sole made with eco friendly fair trade rubber."

ETHLETIC Organic Trainers Low Cut - Fairtrade, Light Blue
"Fairtrade Certified 100% cotton canvas upper and tough rubber sole made with FSC-certified rubber"

And lastly, Etsy seller, Live2lime sells beautifully screen printed tee's, using paints which are water-based, non-toxic, non-flammable. "The production process are as eco-conscious possible" Children's tees are US$20

Note - "as these are hand-screened one-of-a-kind items, they may have a 'perfect imperfection' or two...a dab of paint or an extra swipe of color character somewhere. Photos are of exact item for sale"

Lastly readers, it is absolutely worth considering buying children's clothing from your local craft market. When buying local, you benefit your community’s economy, and at the same time support local artisan's, who are often part of a small family run business, making clothes from home.

Readers, do you have any further recommendations for ethical childrenswear manufacturers?


Rachel said...

that's awesome!

urbandon (Don Pezzano) said...

A great article and some cool kids clothes. I do remember when my son was young few clothes were to be had at thrift shops and only occasionally from thrift shops- but I always snapped up whatever I could find.

Fourth Daughter said...

I would think there would be heaps, if you just google Fair Trade kids wear it would come up? There's definitely a lot online, maybe not so much in physical stores. My other suggestion would be to check Peppermint mag (hehe, shameless plug) because there's a kids' section and they always have lots of brands. Also Sankofa in Gertrude St have a really cute Fair Trade range of batik pieces, some gorgeous dresses for girls and shorts for boys. There's a lot out there if you know where to look!

alison said...

Love the article and your blog! Thanks for featuring Live2Lime | limin' tees! We aim to be as eco-conscious as possible in creating fun, comfortable, awesomely-designed tees, totes and more :)

Thanks again and wishing you all the best!

Live. Love. Lime.

alison & margaret

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

It is a tricky one, I think you've nailed it when you say that kids clothes generally get too trashed to be any good second hand, especially once they've been used by subsequent siblings. Jeans and jackets are your best hope second hand for little boys, otherwise in my experience there are always friends or family desperate to pass things on, and one doesn't mind a bit of wear so much if you know where it's come from.

Otherwise NCT sales are a good source of clothing for children, as they will only sell things in good condition.

Erica Louise said...

@Fourth Daughter thanks for the tips, you'd be suprised you know, when tapping in ethical clothing for children into google, I didn't find that many great products.. probably because google ad words are expensive to get high up on search results!

GreenMum said...

Fab article, and we love, love, love Ethletic shoes.... big fans of NCT Sales, and Green Baby dot com too...(fab crazy sales) :)

Carolyn said...

Those are some cute kids clothes, I especially like the screen printed tees. I used to make most of my own children's clothes when they were little, and we also had clothes passed down to us from friends and relatives. Of course I passed them on too when mine grew out of them! I think these are the most ethical and green ways to dress your children.

Elyse said...

Green baby is awesome and reasonably priced....but yeah - the thrift shops are pretty sparse when it comes to kids' stuff. There used to be a great Lifeline just for kids near my house, but it's gone. Sadness. Hand me downs, clothes made from old adults' clothes or thrift shop fabrics or even their clothes remade e.g. a leg becomes a sleeve for a bigger size.

Alison said...

I face the same problem buying for my 2, I will not buy childrens clothes that have been made by children! My local charity shop is pretty good, I have got quite a few pairs of trousers and jeans there but t-shirts are harder. I love frugi (, really nice designs and amazing quality clothes. They post internationally and you could get some fab bargains since you would be buying clothes for the 'wrong' season! AS for shoes, we are all kitted out in vivobarefoot, expensive but amazing!

Minnado said...

My biggest gripe/problem with ethical fashion for kids is school uniforms. here in the Uk most children wear uniforms from just under five years upwards. All the supermarkets here sell super cheap uniforms but not necessarily fairly traded or ethical ones. My son's school like many others has its own sweatshirts which you buy from the school office. Not ethically produced and they pretty much rolled their eyes at me for asking! My way round this so far has to been to get as much second hand uniform as possible. There is an interesting article here:
Phew, got that off my chest now. :)

Erica Louise said...

@minnado You know, I hadn't thought about school uniforms, of course! Something I'm going to have to look into before the little guy starts school.

Katrina @ Clothes LIME said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing. Buying recycled or ethically is close to my heart.

I understand the difficulty in finding great children's clothing second hand (in excellent condition!) but I'd like to think though that we have made it LOTS easier (and pleasant) for parents. I'm sure you will love our range (and prices). And our $8 flat rate postage :-} Please check us out: or we are also on facebook.
I'd love to offer a 'giveaway' for your readers too if interested? Maybe you could contact me: and we could chat?

I've only recently come across your blog, but LOVE it! Kx :-}

Vanessa said...

Eternal Creation is a great option and they usually always have things on sale. Plus you know the proceeds will go to help someone in a not so advantaged country. I struggle to find recycled boys and girls clothing, but perhaps its just the age my children are at (wearing out their clothing rather than growing out of it).

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