ETHICAL, LOCAL & SUSTAINABLE FASHION FOR KIDS// CARLA FROM FEATHER AND MANE
Hey everybody! I am so excited to introduce the first guest blogger of my series of ethical, local & sustainable fashion for kids! Her name is Carla and she blogs at Feather and Mane as well as runs a second hand online store with her sister! (who we will also be hearing from).
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Carla, I am learning to embrace motherhood, minimalistic pursuer, and capsule wardrobe tester. I have 2 kids (4 1/2-year-old Peter and 2 1/2 year old Ruth). I am a wife of 9 years to my ridiculously athletic husband and have my degree in youth work and at this moment I am currently working as a small online shop owner, blogger, local-minded sharer, and social media and small business consultant.
2. How were you introduced to ethical, sustainable and local fashion. If you use a capsule wardrobe, please touch on that :)
I have introduced to the idea of ethical/socially conscious fashion about 13 years ago when I was in high school and shopping like a mad woman. I was not well off and always had a quirky sense of style. One day when i was shopping at a large box store I was perusing the sale rack and could not believe how cheap everything was. It kind of shocked me. It got me thinking how could this item be so cheap? don't they have to pay for fabric, labor, shipping, tagging, employing current store etc? It just blew my mind. So i started researching and found it so difficult to come to the source of the matter. Around that time a few large name brands were being proded for there ethical decisions in making their items and then some of the large stores were being accused of unfair wages and purposely making only part-time positions so people wouldn't qualify for benefits, even though they needed them. So I started boycotting certain stores and felt confident shopping in my thrift stores and some brands that I knew were trying to make some form of a difference. It is A LOT easier now to find ethically sourced fashion, and better yet you are supporting those mothers, women, men around your neighbourhood looking to make a large difference in this MASSIVE fashion industry. Slowly I learn from social media, going to markets, hearing from friends or influencers some of the amazing slow fashion, ethically sourced and socially conscious brands out there and choose to purchase items i know are not just fashionable for this current trend but are something I feel confident in, I know I will wear often, and It will last longer than crop top trends. So my children and I have been working on capsule wardrobing, so we can find items that work together well, have beautiful fabric and we are proud of knowing who made our clothes. my son even asked me the other day if he was wearing "healthy clothes". A side note to why we joined kids fashion in ethically sourced ways, my son has severe eczema and small business brands tend to carry amazing fabrics that are so gentle on his skin and he typically gravitates towards for a more comfortable wear.
3. How do you make shopping ethical fit within your budget?
You are what you eat, you are what you wear. We spend so much money on trying to be better for our health internally, and i couldn't justify not caring about how the fabric, child, women, slave who made my garment was not being supported well. It is unhealthy to think that I should consider my body more important than theirs. I also don't like getting pushed into new trends, styles that are shaped for not my body type, and have noticed that the items that the slow fashion movement have been my most exceptional pieces, that don't last one season but several! When I am finished with an item I get an amazing take away from reselling and sending it to someone else who loves these beautiful people behind this incredible brands. It is cheaper for us to curate a capsule wardrobe, with items that have a "grow-with-me" feel (for kids) and a masterpiece, staple feel for myself. I love wearing simple, comfortable, but put together pieces that will last. I also hate doing laundry and find myself living in fewer laundry piles, and more one wash load and hung dry for an hour and wear. the fabrics are so breathable that they truly don't take long to wear once being washed. Supporting ethical fashion has saved me time, detergent, money, and given me less stress in my life with the everyday question "what should i wear" because I truly love my simple closet that works well with each other, so finding an item is so much easier, less time consuming and i leave my house feeling more put together because my options were few.
4. What tips would you give parents trying to switch their children's wardrobes over to more ethical pieces?
Research brands you know you love. Make a list, share it with family and friends who might want to purchase your children items. BE VERY SPECIFIC. My mantra in my mantra in my head is "do I want someone else's child making my child's clothes?" and for me, the answer is no. It is not worth saving money. The other thing is we LOVE kids clothes, they are cute, they change sizes so quickly there first few years. so buy larger. it's fine. my daughter wore a pair of 12-18 months tights from 6 months to 2 years, size is just a size you can go against the grain. You don't have to have 25 dresses for every occasion. We have about 4 we LOVE, she looks adorable in them, she can wear them with different tights, nylons, knee-high socks, or just sandals. her dresses are for playing outside, going to church, out to a friends house or at a local park. Ethically sourced stores do their research too in how to help you purchase clothing that can stand the wear and tear of being a child. Trust the companies, and if you notice that they aren't the best then talk to the owner! I have never had bad customer service with a locally sourced brand. Relax, our society is telling us we need 25 onesies, a million burp cloths and of course enough socks to keep your child warm in a snowstorm. You don't need anything! You need to distinguish between your wants and needs for your child. we have been brainwashed into thinking we NEED everything, to be honest, it's not the case.
5. How do you talk to you kids about fashion if they want a garment that doesn't fall into your values as a family?
My children are small, so they don't really know that they have a choice. we talk a lot about fabric, if it feels "healthy", if they can play well in bamboo cotton or linen, and I love sharing who made their clothes. My son knows that Carmen is the owner of little and lively and she thought of making clothes for kids when she started having children, He knows some of the items that are from her store. My daughter loves June Isle Linen Items and Lil Haven Kids pocket dresses because they make her feel beautiful and are all have amazing places to hold her stuffies, rocks, and chalk, and I don't freak out because I know it won't be hard to get the stain out, or that the dress is very durable and won't rip because the rocks are heavy. They love their 3 pairs of shoes, which make it easy for them to decide what to wear based on what they are doing vs what they feel like wearing. They love how easy it is to find an outfit without mommy.
6. What are some of your favourite shops? (this could be thrifting, ethical, or local!)
i love MCC for thrifting
Jax and Lennon
Lil Haven Kids
Little and Lively
Clerk and Co
Levi's (they are working on sustainable fashion)
second yoga jeans
the camp brand
whistle and flute
blue owl design
smash and tess
hand- me- downs also rock
Make sure to head over to @featherandmane on instagram and give them a follow!