‘Our planet doesn’t have enough natural resources for us to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Period. That’s why we need to do things differently.’ – H&M
Did you know that the fashion industry – and its supply chain – is the third-largest global polluter? Today people keep their clothes for only half the time that they did 20 years ago; while there used to be 2 fashion seasons, there are now 52 micro seasons.
For the sake of our planet and our little one’s futures on it, embracing the sustainable fashion movement is a practical and important way of being a part of the solution.
Up until recently, sustainable fashion remained boutique and expensive. But thankfully, some big brands, such as H&M, have made the conscious and ethical transition into the world of sustainable fashion. With its commitment to reduce water usage, harsh chemicals and waste, to invest in new technological solutions, and to implement its circular fashion program (in-store recycling, turning old clothes into new ones), H&M have become a leader in the sustainable fashion movement. The result? Sustainable fashion is now available to everyone.
Of course, we understand that when you’re a new parent, your purchasing priorities tend to be quite straightforward. A parent’s checklist normally includes: healthy and safe, comfortable and practical, on-trend and affordable. Having gone down the sustainable fashion research rabbit hole, several times over, we’ve partnered with H&M to share 6 tips on how to shop sustainably without breaking the bank.
1. Organic cotton
It’s the fibres that make up clothing that are the most responsible for emissions. According to Ellen McArthur Foundation, around two thirds of the fashion industry’s carbon footprint comes from the production of its fibres. In the last 20 years, the fashion industry has become over-reliant on synthetic fibres, accounting for 65% of clothing. While cotton makes up 21% of global clothing and has its own environmental cost (requiring a lot of water and often needing pesticides and fertilisers), organic cotton (free of chemicals and pesticides) is a more sustainable way to go.
Organic cotton is not just soft and gentle on baby’s skin, because it’s grown without chemicals, it has fewer potential allergens – making the fabric even more simpatico with babies. While organic cotton is especially recommended for babies who suffer from eczema and other skin conditions, since it’s more breathable than synthetic fabrics, we recommend organic cotton clothing for all babies.
H&M’s baby clothing range is mostly made from 100% organic cotton.
2. Timeless pieces and colour palettes
A great way to shop sustainably for yourself is to purchase timeless and well-made pieces that will stand the test of time. My advice is to choose timeless colours (black, white, camel, beige, denim), and even if you have to pay a little more for that jacket, jumper, dress or pair of pants; remember that if the design and colour are timeless and the garment is well made, it will most likely last for several seasons. Which saves you money in the long run! Look for garments made from organic cotton, linen, rayon and hemp. Avoid synthetics where possible. Timeless garments include a white and/or black TShirt, a trench coat, jeans, a black dress, a white shirt and single-tone knits.
Tip: Some maternity garments can be transferable to your postpartum period, like, oversized Tees and oversized shirts, maternity jeans, leggings, and stretchy fitted dresses.
3. Unisex clothing
It might be too soon to know whether you intend to have more than one baby (or perhaps you already have a few!). Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to make a point of allocating a significant amount of your baby wardrobe to unisex pieces. That way, if you do have another baby and they happen to be the opposite sex to your first or current baby, many of your baby garments will get a second life – within your family! This is also a great way of shopping economically.
I always find that if I’m shopping for my daughter, who’s the eldest of my 2, I’ll be more inclined to extend my budget on something special for her if I know that her little brother will also get wear out of it one day. This week, for example, I encouraged my daughter to choose the ‘mustard yellow’ gumboots over the ‘pink’ ones for this very reason.
4. Fill in the gaps with second-hand pieces
Of course, second-hand clothes shopping is a great way to shop sustainably for both you and your little one. Rather than looking for basics, whenever I happen to pass by a second-hand shop, I tend to keep an eye out for durable play clothes or a unique vintage dress, pinafore, skirt, jacket, pair of overalls or jeans.
5. Support ‘circular’ brands
What happens to our clothes when we’re done with them? It’s all good to shop brands that claim to be ‘sustainable’ because they’re using sustainable materials, limiting water wastage and use of harsh chemicals and reducing emissions through localisation. But unless the company has a plan in place to deal with the clothes after they have been used, how sustainable are they?
One of the reasons we’re so excited to be partnering with H&M is its adoption of the circular fashion program, ‘Looop’, the world’s first in-store recycling system, turning old clothes into new ones. H&M has recycling boxes in every store around the world. All clothes and textiles are welcome. Customers are rewarded with a 15% off voucher that can be used on their next purchase item. What an incentive to be a part of the solution!
6. Brands that encourage at-home-repair
Look for brands that include extra buttons (and even thread!) and guidelines and tips on how you can repair your garment if and when it needs some love.
We’ve run out of time and now are left with no choice but to consume ethically and sustainably. It’s time to join the sustainable revolution! By switching to a sustainable wardrobe – and making sustainable consumer choices, you will not only be doing your part in helping to build a healthy future for our kids on this planet – and by example, inspiring and teaching your little one/s to follow in your footsteps, you will likely also have a killer wardrobe!
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x H&M