28 May Ethically Sourced Kids Clothing for Tweens and Teens
The struggle in finding ethically sourced clothes for older children
Parents are busy and often there isn’t a huge budget for kids clothing, especially as kids get older and want to choose their own clothes. So what are your options for buying clothes without having to worry about what, where or who got hurt making them. At the end of this post we share a few links to helpful websites.
We see organic baby clothing shops frequently online and popping up in affluent high streets, yet in reality babies and toddlers do not need brand new clothes – they wear them for just a few months.
Teens and tweens can be really difficult to buy for, even more so when you are keen to ensure that you are not supporting sweat shop fashion (please take a look at the Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops Campaign).
We looked at all the shops that came up in the top results for kids organic clothing and almost all of them stop at under 10 years old – how frustrating if your kids happen (as is usually the case) to grow into a tween or teenager…
Teen Vogue May 2015 cover – celebrities, trends, supermodel girlfriends and “Your ultimate guide to cool girl style” but where does it mention rocking those hand-me downs from big sis!?
Hand Me Downs
Obvious and far and away the best, cheapest (free) way to clothe your kids, especially little ones – but not all parents are lucky enough to have cousins, siblings or friends who are able to pass down clothes.
Sometimes kids can be stubborn about what they are prepared to wear. Tweens and teens often don’t want to stand out as different or wear what they see as cast-offs from an older sibling. Being fashionable can be very important for adolescents – most of us remember what being 13 feels like (right?)
Did you always have to wear hand-me downs – do your own kids have to? You can buy a new top or skirt in many teen fashion shops for pocket money prices, especially in the sales racks. Have times changed with the ‘throwaway fashion’ 21st century where clothes are so cheap that we no longer (generally speaking) make tough decisions about our kids wardrobe – or do your kids wear what they are given “OR GO NAKED!” (channeling an angry grown up voice there)
Second Hand and Charity Shops
Our next ‘go to’ for kids clothes option would be looking around your local charity shops or online – there are loads of people who would just like a few pounds for a bundle of clothes or those that willingly hand all their still in very good condition clothing to charity shops.
But where are all the second hand clothes for tweens and teens?
Here’s a snap shot below of a search for kids clothes which shows the availability of second hand clothing on ebay – the category 13 – 14 has just 16 items in the whole of EBAY UK!
Is this due to the fact that kids wear through clothes so they get thrown away not donated / sold or perhaps more likely that because of kids becoming more picky about clothing once they get over 10, that parents tend to take them shopping on the high street instead?
We’d love to hear any other theories or thoughts – do leave a comment or tweet us @craftivists
Do you give tween or teen clothing to charity shops or sell online or does it have to go into the fabric recycling bin instead? Or is your local charity shop full of clothes for teens?
Make Your Own?
This would be idyllic wouldn’t it – to have the time to make all of your kids clothes… ok not even just the time but the talent and ermmm… the willing kids?
We are not all born fashion designers or sewing experts (or indeed do we have access to expensive interlockers that are needed for a great finish) and a tween or teen will not (in our experience) be overly keen on wearing a slightly ill fitting party dress/t-shirt/hoodie that you made from an old pair of curtains or their father’s old sweater.
Huge kudos to all of you talented parents who do manage to sew clothes for older kids – we’d really love to hear from anyone who makes clothes for their tweens and teens who has any advice for parents who are looking for patterns for kids of this age. (for everyday clothing)
Make Do and Mend
Sometimes kids grow… well quite often actually. So the whole Make do and Mend mindset which we can lovingly apply to our own clothes doesn’t work in quite the same way. When they grow out of a t-shirt or a pair of trousers the options are to sell, donate to charity or pass on to a friend or member of your family. All we ask is that no-one ever knowingly throws away something wearable.
Upcycling and Alteration
If you are a dab hand with a needle and thread you could look to transform clothes picked up in a charity shop that could be tweaked to fit your teen.
Learning how to hem a pair of jeans (really well so they don’t even notice by keeping the existing hem) could save you lots of money. It’s a skill well worth investing in learning (especially if you are short yourself) – see this tutorial here. You can also find lots of video tutorials for altering clothing on you tube.
If you normally shop on the high street for your kids clothes, we’d like to direct you to the fabulous Ethical Consumer Magazine who have an ‘Ethical High Street Shops’ leader board for 57 high street shops.
It makes for pretty miserable reading, the lowest by the way is ASDA (at the time of writing) but at least you can support those that are topping the leader boads here if you can do nothing else. Read our post about how we all vote with our wallets, supporting businesses and their decisions by continuing to shop with them.
So, Where Can You Find Ethically Sourced Clothing for Older Children?
Where do you shop for tween and teen clothes that have been made without damaging the people who make them or the environment?
Here are a few helpful links
Please share any shops or links to directories you have found that we could add to this list.
- The Guardian has a great list of ethical kids clothing shops here.
- Blisstree has an article which resonates with exactly what we have found whilst researching ethical clothing for teens and tweens – it’s full of useful links!
- There is a great big list of kids clothing companies which makes use of fair trade, organic and recycled materials on Style With Heart
- The Ethical Fashion Forum is a great place to look for companies that source materials ethically for their kids clothing
- OneKind.com has an article with some useful links written by a teenager on the topic of finding fashion that is ethical for teenagers.
Here is the trailer for a very powerful film ‘The True Cost’ – launching tomorrow the 29th May 2015 – we urge you to watch. It is rated PG13 as it shows some quite harrowing scenes about the ugly side of fashion. You may want to watch the film with your teens, it might help you with knowing what to look for and what to avoid when buying clothes and hopefully it will help to educate your young consumers to grow to become curious customers.
What is the answer – How can we eradicate the ugly side of fashion?
There isn’t one specific answer, but instead a few options for how you can help by trying to shop ethically and avoid sweat shop fashion. You can buy second hand as we have mentioned, but we should also buy into ethical companies where we can afford to.
- We could become shareholder activists with a company we want to change from the inside.
- We can ask our Goverments to put in place rules for living wage.
- We can ask global companies and institutions to put in regulations so garment workers and the environment are treated with respect.
The Craftivist Collective uses gentle but powerful acts of craftivism to reach out in a new way to leaders, politicians and global companies. We believe that you don’t have to be a placard waving campaigner, marching and shouting to make a change and get people engaged in acting against the injustices of our world.
Our approach is different, find out more about the Craftivist Collective approach here – and please leave a comment if you have found this post interesting or inspiring, or you have any advice for parents on the hunt for ethically sourced clothing for their older children.