How I Research + Choose a Brand
Eco + Conscious Living, Gift Ideas
When I want to find a new item to bring into my home – how do I go about searching out a the right company for me? So many of…
Let’s talk clothes. If you’ve followed us for a while you know that in the last couple of years, a journey that started with food and a quest for nourishing our bodies, has become one that’s growing into every area of our lives. Once I started looking at how food was grown and the story behind food, I started looking at personal care products and what we put on our skin. That led me to look at the clothes we put on our babies skin when we first bought Clayton home 3.5 years ago.
As I looked into organic cotton baby clothes, I realized there was a much bigger story behind clothes. A decade ago my Dad and I made a commitment to only eat fair-trade chocolate, but I didn’t know the same values were a question in my wardrobe. And similarly, as I took plastic out of my kitchen for the sake of health I realized that aside from the health concerns there was a much bigger story behind trash and how it affects the planet… which also comes into clothing.
Did you know 6% of New York City’s trash is thrown out clothing?! Yeah it shocked me too!
The ultimate solution in my mind is not to buy. It’s also the most wallet friendly. Make do with what you have, mend things, and when you do buy, buy second hand and then classics that will last through the seasons. It’s hard to buy ‘perfect’ things but any step us a step forward.
My first choice is always second hand, and when I can I look for natural fibers. When clothes get washed they shed micro plastics which is my top reason for natural fibers even when second hand. Look into a Guppy Bag for when you’re washing anything with plastic fibers like polyester.
When I’m shopping used clothing I’m not looking at the ethics of how the clothing was made. It’s already in the world and I’m not giving my cash to supporting a company with no ethics, I’m giving my cash usually to an individual to keep clothing out of landfill. (There’s a grey area here I realize in that, by buying second hand you might be fueling fast fusion in letting people clear out their wardrobes and rebuy more but I still think it’s a lot better than new – I do still like to choose piece that will last though.)
I look at Poshmark and Thredup which are both great for buying and selling pieces. Poshmark has a wider selection and you can find most big brands on their with used versions of pieces you’re looking for. I also love facebook market place and local FB groups – especially for kids clothes. I keep an eye out too for local closet sales. I’ve also found that once friends know I shop this way I get offered a lot of things people don’t want anymore – which given the average garment is worn under 1 times is usually still a score!
When I’m buying new I’m always looking for:
But you can’t do it all, so don’t be overwhelmed. People will say that some of the companies below are ‘bad’ because they don’t do everything. For example, PACT ships their pieces in a thin plastic covering – but it’s fair-trade organic cotton clothing. I still buy it. You can’t win them all. So I do what I can and see any step forward as positive!
Everlane is a company that’s really going after traceability and accountability in the clothing supply chain, but also providing wardrobe pieces that are genuinely affordable (from $18 tees) and you can see inside their factories. The pieces are not usually organic, but it’s a great place to shop a large range from basics to more individual items, and know you’re making a great choice.
Great for: One off wardrobe pieces, knitwear.
A little more of an investment than some but SO worth it. They made beautiful pieces that are truly ethical and responsible to the core. Ethical product sourcing and production in the EU in factories that ensure good wages and a good environment. All their cotton is GOTS certified organic, the mustard sweater I lived in for the winter (and you all DM me about every time I wear it!) is from there and I love it!
Great for: Basic, undies
Everything is made from responsibly sourced bamboo, made ethically with real care and attention to the environmental impact. It’s really comfy clothing, and perfect if you love black. Hey there, that’s me – sorry Jared. I have their leggings, underwear and socks and love them all.
My newest find. I was reseaching a few months ago online and saw a picture for this company with the best bright and happy workout clothes. I’ve given up just clicking on anything clothing related unless I find it from somewhere I know will mean it’s consciously made. Stuff that randomly pops up is usually fast fashion. But I clicked with a wild hope and HELLO! Not just consciously made but a company with the best heart, mission, integrity, zero waste initiative and true ethics. Plus everything is guaranteed for 61 years. We now own a backpack which I use all the time (one of the Del Dia ones made from fabric leftovers) and workout leggings and a top. Jared has running shorts and says he feels like a legit runner in them, so, there ya go. ha! Shop them HERE.
Great for: Outdoor wear
One of the original fair-trade clothing companies Patagonia have great ethics in their production. I got Clayton this jacket in blue for the winter and bought it a good bit too big so it will span 2 seasons to balance the higher price. This year we just rolled the sleeves up and it was perfect!
Great for: Womens clothing and plimsoles
Ethically made women’s clothing with an organic cotton line, great knitwear, and organic cotton plimsolls. I have a green sweater I love from here. They also have a birkenstock style shoe made with vegetable tanned leather for a better option!
Great for: basics, undies, baby leggings
All organic cotton, and ethically produced. My favourite underwear comes from here – the lace waist thong is my go to and don’ts cut in while still fitting well. If that’s TMI, well I’m here to help you so I give you everything! Shop their site and get 20% off your order HERE.
These are the workout pants you need. They’re not designed specifically for after baby, but I’ll tell you if that’s where you’re at they will LOVE your post baby tummy skin. They’re thicker than the Cotopaxi ones I have so I’ll be doing summer running in the Cotopaxi ones but while it’s cooler, and for indoors, there are where it’s at.) Shop them HERE (And get $20 off a purchase of over $100 with that link too.).
I wrote a full post about demin HERE.
Jared has owned Nudies for years, and we love them. When I need a new pair I’ll be buying from them. All Nudie jeans are made from organic cotton, and ethically made. They offer recycle programs for them but you won’t need that for a long time because they last my husband has had his 4 years and they’re going strong. They offer free repairs at their shops which helps them last a long time.
The price is high. The plus point: very well made, and they last longer than the average pair so even Jared agrees it evens out but if it’s out of your price point other good options would be Everlane, FashionABLE, and even Levi’s Waterless Denim range.
Great for: Shoes, and vegan shoes!
If my budget was endless, all Clayton’s shoes would come from here forever as he grows, and I’d have a pair each season. But for now I have one pair and I ADORE them. They’re the gold ones you’ve seen in my stories and snaps!
Great for: The comfiest shoes EVER!
Made from cruelty free merino wool so you don’t need socks and they keep your feet warm/cool. I live in mine, and you can pop them in the washing machine too!
Great for: Shoes and accessories
Nisolo come out with a smaller number of style but they’re all gorgeous and classic. I have their tote bag as my diaper bag which I’d been eyeing up for years and Jared just got me for my birthday! Shop their site HERE (and get $25 off your first order of $100 or more.)
When we moved to a house with some land I knew I needed a new pair of boots. I need something for when it rains and I have to take the compost out in but I also wanted something I could equally wear to grocery shop with jeans and real clothes. I’ve always owned a pair of Hunter boots (even before they were cool and we bought them from an equine supply store for pennies!) but I wanted something more down this eco/ethical road and I stumbled on this brand though a podcast! It’s a beautiful company with real integrity, they are made vegan, from natural rubber and produced ethically. You can read more on their site and shop them HERE via Amazon and HERE on their site. I found the cheapest option on Amazon but they vary depending on style.
They have a fab new range of baby and kid clothes, I give their flame retardant free and organic cotton pajamas to everyone I know and love. They also have the best kid underwear that’s also organic cotton and fair trade.
This was the first thing we put Roey in to bring her home from the hospital. I love these for having popper fastenings, being organic cotton, and coming in every color!
Great for: Flame Retardent Free kids pajamas, organic cotton
UPDATE: Even in the few years since I started shopping this way a lot more has come on the market, this is a small company with a website that makes them look not amazing – it’s a small company but the pyjamas still look new 1.5 years later. Don’t ask how my son has fitted the same pyjamas for that long, I’m actually not sure. There are a lot more options out there though so this is no longer the only one I could find. But the dyes used here and the set apart factor.
It’s a simple website but the pajamas are really well made, they’re organic cotton with clean natural dyes, all responsibly made in the USA. I just bought Clayt one pair of pajamas so they’re more expensive but they’ll last and I only got one pair.
Great for: Kids basics
I’ve bought loads from here for Clayton, I love their simple sweatshirts and he has a number of their leggings and T shirts too. The leggings aren’t the highest quality and some have got holes in faster than I expected, then again they’re being worn by a adventuring toddler, so…
Great for: Organic cotton stuffed animals! Ok it’s not clothing but I had to include it because these were SO hard to find, at least if you want them to actually look cute and normal but I love these ones. The dyes are all clean, and they’re made in the USA with GOTS certified organic cotton. Love! The other brands I love for kids stuffed toys are Dor Dor and Gor Gor and Under The Nile, Roey has the polar bear and they have a range of other great gorgeous organic animals too.
Great for: baby accessories, sheet, and clothing.
These were my favorite swaddles for Clayton. They’re all organic cotton with great black and white designs perfect for eye development. They also now do crib sheets, twin bed sheets, towels, bibs, burp cloths etc in the same organic cotton and great prints. www.modernburlap.com
I couldn’t not mention these again here because, these boots! Shop them HERE.
I’ve also bought some activewear from Satva and Alternative Apparel that I’ve loved, and then I couldn’t write this without saying that second hand clothes and closet sales have become my best friend! To me it seems like the ultimate option because I’m also stopping the pieces going into landfill which you know I care about! I’ve found some great online platforms like ThreadUp as well as all the local Facebook sites that sell second hand clothes, and I look out for closet sales. (Sidetone: If you’re local check out The Adar Shop on May 27th for a curated line of second hand pieces by my wonderful friend Lana Cruz!)
It’s also worth mentioning that it doesn’t take a massive budget. I’m choosing to buy way fewer pieces and just spend more each time but it averages out the same. When Jared first bought nudie jeans for somewhere over $200 I actually rolled my eyes, but I had no idea of all the factors. They’re still going strong 4 years later, so he hasn’t had to buy 1-2 other pairs in that time. So it works out!
Do you have favourite brands that are on this journey? I’d LOVE to hear, leave me a comment below!
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