Designer baby clothes
Would you spend £150 on all-in-one designer baby clothes for your baby?
The attraction of designer baby clothes is all in the name. Of course there’s the expectation of better quality, more design details and less availability than the high street, making the clothes more exclusive. But with baby clothing embodying the issues with throwaway fashion you’d have to question, are designer baby clothes the right way to go?
Even if those designer baby clothes are made from eco friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton, and most are not, they still lead to a huge mountain of clothing waste. With babies growing so fast, that £150 all-in-one baby suit will be discarded in 2 or 3 months.
Fabric innovation in baby clothing
There are some great sustainable fabric innovations coming through and the designer market usually leads the way in this arena, but they are usually targeted at the adult market. New fabrics often come with a price tag attached, which means they are limited to those that can afford it, aligning well to the exclusivity of the designer market.
There are innovative fabrics such as Pinatex, made from waste pineapple leaves, and made from 95% renewable resources.
Annually there are 40,000 tonnes of waste pineapple leaves, which Pinatex makes into leather, instead of leaving them to rot or burn. They do this without using additional water, pesticides or fertilizers. Even the use of toxic chemicals and heavy metals prevalent in animal leather production are avoided.
Pinatex is even ‘Peta approved vegan’. But at 50 euros per meter, it is affordable for the few, rather than the many.
MycoTEX® is another sustainable fabric grown from mushroom mycelium.
This is a fascinating development in fabric innovation which uses compostable mushroom roots in seamless production technology to create custom-fit products, but its not one that can be scaled up easily.
These new fibres are circular, made from natural materials, and developed without a detrimental effect on the planet, but until these types of materials are readily available the problem of clothing waste remains.
The trend for reusing baby clothing
Statistics show that there are 183 million items of outgrown baby clothes stashed in UK homes. It’s not surprising when you think about all the clothes that come with having a new baby. There are clothes that fit, are too small, too big, been gifted, wrong season, clothes that your baby has already outgrown, or that you don’t need right now. They all need a home in your closet. When you no longer need them, it’s so much easier to just hide them away and tell yourself you’ll deal with them another time.
But now is the time to drag those clothes out of the closet. The trend at the moment is reuse, reuse, reuse. The mantra ‘Buy well and pass it on’ is becoming more common as people become more aware of environmental issues. The statistics tell us that a lot of people don’t have the time or inclination to market all those baby clothes. It takes time to prep the clothes, photograph, list them on a marketplace, wait for someone to want them, then pack and post them.
There’s the option of taking them to a charity shop. If you can find one that is still taking them in. Some shops have been inundated with clothes that there are too many now for them to manage.
Or you may think that by bagging the clothes up and putting them out for recycling you are doing your bit for the planet. But the truth is less than 1% of clothes are recycled into new clothing.
What happens to designer baby clothes
Mixed fibres in our clothing is the main reason why so few discarded clothes are recycled into new clothing. This makes it hard to separate the fibres so they can be recycled. It’s not impossible but it is just not done in the volume required. The problem is not just to do with the fabric fibres. The other parts of the clothing, such as sewing threads and labels are made from another material and fibre. All these different fibres have to be separated and adds to the complex and expensive process of recycling.
Clothes that are recycled, usually produce a lower grade material which is unsuitable to be made into clothing. Instead those beautiful designer baby clothes will be turned into insulation or rags. Additionally, because this option doesn’t replace the sales of new clothing the waste, water and carbon savings are minimal.
The secret of more sustainable baby clothing shopping
But there is a way to shop for premium baby clothes and be kind to the planet! Baby clothing rental means you can dress your baby in the best quality premium baby brands, without creating the huge amount of baby clothes waste that is left when your baby outgrows them.
Renting baby clothes is such an easy way to be sustainable. Renting extends the life of the clothing, and reduces the need to buy new clothing. This in turn reduces the need for so much clothing to be made. Plus, all the water, waste and carbon used in making the clothing in the first place is saved.
Rent an item for longer and the greater the savings for the planet. Extending a garments life by 9 months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by as much as 20-30% each. By renting baby clothes you help break the unsustainable practice of multiple collections each year.
Interested in learning more? Read more now on the benefits of renting baby clothing.