A guide to sustainable fashion for children
There is no need to compromise on style, fun and convenience in order to follow sustainable fashion, a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.
With the advent of summer, the latest styles in cotton, organic cotton and soft mulmul fabrics are coming to the fore. A smart way to build your child's wardrobe sustainably is remembering that kids outgrow their clothes pretty quickly, and tempting as it may be to buy all those super cute clothes by the dozen, it is better to buy fewer but better fabrics and brands. So here are a few simple rules we follow at home:
Less is more - Lesser number of clothes, but better quality, made using natural fibres and proudly made in India.
Mix and match - Think of building a capsule wardrobe with a few statement pieces, just as you would for yourself. Dungarees are a big hit with our toddler because they're easy for playtime and the summer as well, as they are super easy to style up or down as the occasion demands.
Recycle, reuse, and rehome - Recycling kids clothes within family has always been the norm in Indian households. There's also now a really big market for pre-loved clothing for kids, with moms ready to rehome designer clothes that then become easier on your pocket but big on style. Buy second hand or be open to hand me downs.
Restyle - I learned this through the pandemic. My infant turned into a toddler in the middle of the pandemic and with limited access to clothes we would have ideally bought, I took to reshaping and restyling her clothes as mini-DIY projects. Jeans became denim shorts, dresses became skirts, onesies turned into T-shirts, and it was such fun!
Accessorise - The difference a simple accessory can make is amazing, and the fun part is your child won't outgrow it as easily. Big bows, cool hair bands, sunglasses, purses and shoes are a great addition keeping the season and trends in mind.
Keep it neutral - Gender-neutral clothing means it's not only trendy these days but also that siblings can switch and share.
Cloth diapering - Many brands offer sustainable diapers that are snazzy and eco-friendly at the same time. Till your child is toilet trained, switch to these over disposable options.
Fabrics that breathe - Use natural fabrics like cotton, mulmul, and those coloured using natural dyes and eco-friendly techniques as much as you can. Handblock printed outfits are super trendy and cute for the summer and are usually made mindfully.
Before you shop for your child, think of where he or she will wear it, when and how many times. Wardrobes can be divided into daily wear, sleepwear, playtime wear, party wear and school time outfits. Of course, in the new normal of home schooling and work from home, lines are fuzzy, but you get the drift.
For each category jot down how many items do you think your child will need and divide that by half. That is because you can mix and match and spruce up the outfit with beautiful accessories.
As parents, and as people, we value creating and leaving a clean world for our little ones. We value building a better future. Change doesn't have to be all or nothing. It can be small and gradual, and we can still have a big impact.