This year (of blogging), I’m delving into sustainable fashion a little more deeply, beyond thrifting which I have, eh hem, mastered.  I thrift for my kids but thought I might pick them up something new, something NEW new for back-to-school just so I would have a reason to explore ethical kids clothing options.  I had no idea where to start so I turned to Google and found some good resources…  First, I scrolled through Flare Magazine’s list of 10 Best Canadian Eco-Shops and when I saw Roots on the list, I thought PERFECT!  I stopped into the nearby Roots Outlet the next day, prepared to buy my kids some cute Canadian gear!!!  But…

Ethical Clothing for Kids
Made in China??!!
The sweatpants too - so iconic of Roots, but made in China...
The sweatpants too – so iconic of Roots but, made in China…?
True north strong and...
True north strong and…
Free! Made in Cambodia
Free! Made in Cambodia

Every single garment I looked at was made in China or Cambodia.  Every one.  I asked the clerk whether any of the pieces were made in Canada??  No, and she couldn’t comment on the ethical or sustainable practices of the company nor did her manager when she went to double-check.  Roots was on another list of Ethical Kids Clothing Shops so I double checked on their website – I might suggest the sales associates replicate this handy-duty trick – and was happy to read that their leather products are manufactured here in Canada…

Ethical Clothing for Kids

And though their garments are made overseas, Roots follows ethical practices.  BUT we’ve all seen John Oliver’s piece on fast fashion and hopefully read the many many articles highlighting the truth behind many of the so-called ethical efforts, so I contacted Roots Director of Communication and Public Affairs for more information.  Mr. Sarner was kind enough to reply but only directed me back to the website where I found his contact information in the first place.  I was hoping for more specific information, but I’m not exactly an investigative journalist; I’m just a mom who wants to buy clothes for her kids that weren’t made by kids.  I hope Mr. Sarner’s words, and those on the Roots website, aren’t just lip service.  I’m trusting they’re not, and so I returned to Roots and let my kids pick out some clothes…

Ethical Clothing for Kids

Ethical Clothing for Kids
Ethical Clothing for Kids

Considering I bought them all a "new" back to school wardrobe for $112, paying $50 for one hoodie is a hard pill to swallow...
Considering I bought them all a “new” back to school wardrobe for $114, paying $50 for ONE hoodie is a hard pill to swallow…
We compromised and they each got a t-shirt (and little sis got a pair of pink sweats)
We compromised and they each got a t-shirt (and little sis got a pair of pink sweats)… it’s like they didn’t know how to shop regular retail so just hung the clothing off their faces… 😛
If my big bro is doing it...
If my big bro is doing it…
What a couple of goofballs!
What a couple of goofballs!
I mean, a trio of goofballs!
I mean, a trio of goofballs!

There are plenty of on-line ethical options for children’s clothing, but most of the sites I looked up went to size 8 max; my 8-year-old is bigger than your average supermodel so that won’t cut it for him or his big bro.  Luckily Roots pulled through as a nearby affordable ethical option.  One more option is American Apparel, with a local store in West Edmonton Mall, which has a kids clothing line and is designed and manufactured in Los Angeles.  And that’s just two options – I bet you could check the labels in stores like The Bay and find other made in North America pieces.

So instead of defaulting to known fast-fashion brands like The Children’s Place, Old Navy, Gap, H&M, head over to Roots or American Apparel.  Or leave the mall and go to the nearby Value Village, Goodwill and other little thrift shops!  One way or another, there is an alternative to fast fashion and a way to buy ethical clothing for kids!

3 Comments

  1. Lori McLachlan Reply

    Did you check out MEC? Very environmentally conscious and keep very close tabs on all factories. Fair trade is very important.

  2. The Spirited Thrifter Reply

    Great suggestion! I actually forgot about MEC but it is a great option and we have got pieces from there for the kids!! U0001f609

  3. This post really sums up my feelings on fashion right now as well! We’re currently working on bringing to life a new ethical brand for children, and hope you’ll sign up for updates. Not only is it ethically and responsibly made, it also brings intercultural education seamlessly into children’s lives. http://www.mapiri.com

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