How do I choose cool baby clothes?
With so much cool baby stuff floating around in the world, choosing the right items for your baby is a difficult and time-consuming task. So, if you’re stuck between what to look for in baby outfits and childrens clothing, we’re here to give you some tips. For gift giving, there are a ton of sure fire hits but why not give a gift with a little less footprint on the world. After all, we’re not just dressing up our future generations, we are trying to ensure their future happiness as well.
Why does all organic clothing look the same?
You take a look around at all the organic baby clothing out there and they all look really great. But, they also all look kind of the same. You could buy something from any company on that list and it’d pretty much look like it came from any of the other organic baby clothing companies. That’s most likely why you are here at our website.
Why buy from us?
When people hear cool baby clothes they think hipster. We helped set that tone in 2004 but we’re here to tell you that over the past 18 years our thinking has evolved. There is so much more to cool baby clothes than dressing your hipster baby up in a beast mode jumpsuit. Your little guy may rock his new baseball cap and toddler Doc Martens. Hey, maybe your one year old’s hipster vibe is even surpassing your own. But, being cool is the opposite of trendy. It’s about following your heart.
In 2004, our hearts were set on making sure all our baby and toddler clothes were made in the USA. We focused on unisex baby clothing covered in offbeat graphics. Our cool baby sheets came in crazy punk rock prints. We made a hand-screened outfit set that included cotton shorts, a matching suit jacket and paperboy cap. It’s not that we followed trendy baby clothing, it’s that we got to set the trends.
In 2006, little boys and little girls everywhere got to wear a toddler tshirt Sonic Youth, The Clash and The Smiths. We even made a deal directly with Sonic Youth to print the cover to Dirty on our baby bodysuits.
For funny baby, we didn’t hold back. We loved our Daddy shirts. We sublicensed Kids In The Hall. We even did funny cute things with our Binky, Boobie or Blankie, Nobody Rides For Free newborn baby outfit. Those were good times indeed.
We made cute baby clothes, they were just non-traditional cute. Girls clothes included toddler skater dresses, an infinity skull girl dress and other oddities. Baby boy outfits featured zombies and space.
We invented the Yanker, a baby romper without any fasteners. We would tye dye them in various colors using fiber reactive procion dyes.
We began manufacturing clothing sets for the newborn infant that included matching blankets, bibs and hats.
As we dug deeper into manufacturing, we searched for ways to make it in Portland Oregon. We screen printed a line in-house called Light and Gravity that featured 100% organic cotton and water based inks.
How the baby apparel landscape has changed
Over time the cool baby clothes market expanded by leaps and bounds. Hundreds of new manufacturers began making boys clothing, toddler girl dresses, kids clothing like you’ve never seen it. Before 2004 you’d never find a newborn baby outfit with The Ramones on it in Target or Walmart. Now people are sending baby gifts with all sorts of nontraditional imagery on it. We’re excited by the changes in the offerings.
What we think is even cooler is the consciousness that is growing around how baby clothing is made. Because ultimately, your baby grows out of that trendy boys outfit and those baby girl clothes end up in the back of a closet.
But, the example you set on what you choose to purchase lives on with them. Are you consuming fast fashion with your cost the top priority? We all do it. The quick buy because it’s so cheap. It’s hard to resist. We fall prey to this trap over and over again but we’re shifting our mindset. As parents we must become conscious consumers and support the future we want our children to have.
Things to look for when purchasing baby clothing
There are a few things to look for when you are buying your baby’s clothing. Number one is making sure the fabric is free from harmful chemicals because that pesticide residue is no joke and leeches out of those fibers over time.
Certifications including GOTS, OEKO-TEX help but much of the time smaller manufacturers cannot afford that level of certification. Fair Trade certified products are often also organic and at the very least you know that it was made ethically. Manufacturer’s who are using clean materials will let you know. They will announce it on their website or in their marketing material. If they don’t tell you, it’s because they don’t want to tell you.
Purchase from smaller brands. Your pocketbook is a vote. You may be just one person but if enough of us vote this way, things will change. Spend your dollars on the future you want to see for your baby. The big brands will get the message. There is no such thing as trickle down. It’s all trickle up from us, the consumer. Don’t fall for the cute baby outfit from the mega brand at the low price point. You’re just handing over your child’s future to an endless wash and repeat cycle of trashing our resources for a cute photo op.
Ok, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot but here is the truth. Used clothing is 100% more sustainable than any other purchase you can make. ThredUp now has boys clothing and baby girl clothes. They don’t have an organic filter yet but hopefully they’ll change that soon. But, you can type ‘organic’ into the brands search field and organic brands like hanna anderson will pop up.
Local Secondhand Stores
Most towns have a children's used clothing stores. There are tons of sellers that focus on used clothing online. Find a seller who matches your style and you’re golden.
Read a brand's story
Buy from brands who tell you their story. If the company is large enough to afford a certification, make sure they have one. Sure they can purchase organic cotton, but are the farms they are using practicing fair labor, are the mills they are using disposing of their waste sustainably? Look for information about their supply chain.
GOTS certification goes all the way up and down the supply chain. If they have to pad their sustainability story by discussing their use of recycling bins and energy efficient lighting then you know you’re hearing marketing speak. Compare the pages for Gerber and Monica And Andy to get a sense.
Where is all the organic cool baby clothes?
We've been asking ourselves the same thing for a few years now. We think it just takes time to change. Our Yanker fastener free outfit was the only one out there in 2008 and now we see 3 other larger brands using the same design.
Currently the organic clothing brands look very similar to one another, but I believe that is changing. We are launching our adult store Rational.Clothing in September around the belief that cool clothing is sustainably made. And sustainably made clothing doesn't all have to look the generically the same.
Make sure your edgy baby clothing is also good for the planet. If you want that Noam Chomsky or Basquiat short sleeve bodysuit, make sure it’s made well. Buying from Baby Wit makes sure you are getting baby outfits that are heavy on style and light on the planet. And, keep your eyes peeled for a shift in mainstream buying to more sustainably made clothing.