Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Teach Them Well: 9 Socially Responsible Kids’ Clothing Brands Making a Difference

I was recently involved in a discussion about the difference between frugal and cheap, and I said that cheap comes across and stingy, whereas frugality is living within your means but in a way that aligns with your values, cutting back on things that aren't important to you so that you have money for things that are.
For many people, buying ethically sourced products is very important, but it can often be pricier. By being frugal in specific ways that are less important to you, you can have extra cash available to spend it on ethically sourced items. Here's a post from a reader about some clothing companies that are ethically run and socially responsible, so you can spend money on companies whose values match your own. 

As parents, it’s our mission in life to lay a good ethical foundation for our children, and we can’t do that to the best of our ability if we’re supporting brands that don’t contribute to the world in a positive way. We must teach our little ones that everything we do impacts the world, from the way we get to work to the places we buy our clothes. If you’d like to start your kids off right, be sure you’re dressing them in socially responsible apparel made by companies that care about more than their bottom line. Here are some of the best children’s wear companies that give back in some way!

1. Dondolo—Dondolo’s mission is straightforward: empowering motherhood together. The company’s unique business model is designed to provide consumers with high-quality kids’ clothes while training less fortunate mothers to support themselves through long-term skills and jobs. The company has created a program called Mom Empowerment which helps women in Colombia earn a good living wage to better their future. Dallas-based Dondolo is also committed to helping improve the community with an organization called Dondolo Gives that helps funnel back into the local community.

2. Tea Collection—Every single purchase from San Francisco-based children’s wear retailer Tea Collection goes to support the Global Fund for Children, a nonprofit that helps supply resources to the world’s most vulnerable children. What’s more, Tea Collection has developed what’s known as Tea School Days in the spring and fall, where it will donate 15 percent of your purchase back to your child’s school. Naturally, Tea Collection is also big on the ethical side of clothing design and partners with fair trade manufacturers committed to safe labor practices. It’s an all-around win when it comes to giving back for this sweet brand!

3. TOMS—The buy-one, give-one shoe company known as TOMS probably needs no introduction, as it was one of the first and is now one of the biggest socially responsible brands. Founder Blake Mycoskie started the company in 2006 after a trip to Argentina, where he realized the fundamental need for shoes in less-developed areas of the world. Since then, TOMS has given over 60 million pairs of shoes to children around the globe, while its eyewear and coffee lines have provided eyewear and clean, safe water to areas in need. With every pair of TOMS you buy, a pair of shoes is given to a child in need.

4. Isabel Garretón—With the tagline “ethically manufactured,” Isabel Garretón really lives up to its mantra. The San Pedro, Calif.-based children’s wear retailer specializes in producing high-quality, well-made clothing that supports the advancement of underprivileged women throughout the world. The company has hired over 100 women in Chile who hand-sew, hand-embroider and hand-smock its adorable kids’ clothes. Founder Isabel Garretón was named International Woman of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners for her work in Chile.

5. Patagonia—Did you know the socially responsible outdoor clothier Patagonia makes adorable kids’ clothes that you can feel good about buying? Indeed, Patagonia is always one of the top performers in the giving back category, primarily for its efforts to help protect the environment and support a more sustainable future on Earth. The company is committed to fair trade, ethical manufacturing practices and the protection of migrant workers in the supply chain. Under its 1% for the Planet program, Patagonia donates 1 percent of sales each year to the preservation of the natural environment.

6. Hanna Andersson—This Portland-based children’s retailer was founded in Portland but born out of Sweden, where its founders grew up wearing simple, soft and comfortable clothing. Today, the company is best known for manufacturing super-soft and cozy kids’ staples and pajamas using the best organic cotton, but it’s also a powerhouse when it comes to social responsibility. Since 1983, the company has donated millions of dollars and clothing to children in need throughout the world through non-profits, emergency relief organizations and more.

7. Mini Boden and Baby Boden—The little sisters to everyone’s favorite British catalog retailer Boden, Mini Boden and Baby Boden are high on the list of sustainable, ethical companies. The main way the company achieves its social responsibility goals is through responsible sourcing and manufacture, with its clothing produced in countries that ensure fair labor practices. What’s more, Boden clothing is produced in partnership with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in order to help ensure that it facilitates only ethical trade. Boden also helps the community in more grassroots ways by giving to charities and supporting new British clothing designers in the early days of their business.

8. Mud Pie—Whimsical clothing brand Mud Pie is well-known for producing adorable, personality-packed children’s wear dripping with sweet appliques, textured accents and plenty of ruffles and tulle. On top of that, Mud Pie is committed to many philanthropic efforts, with programs to support a wide range of charities. The company has donated $100,000 to the American Cancer Society, $800,000 to March of Dimes and more to Toys for Tots, Our House, KIDS and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, among others. When you buy Mud Pie clothing, you can be sure some portion of your purchase will wind up doing good!

9. Question Everything—London-based children’s clothier Question Everything brings some heart and soul to charitable fashion! Every single piece of Question Everything apparel is designed in London and made in a sustainable, family-run factory in the Philippines. What’s more, Question Everything is committed to community support through the organization Childhope Philippines, which provides money, clothes and other resources to less-fortunate children.

Why Buy Socially Responsible Kids’ Clothes?

With all of these wonderful brands producing adorable styles that give back in some way, you might ask yourself if it really makes a difference. Indeed, buying from companies that don’t support unfair, unethical labor practices helps improve working conditions for laborers around the world while simultaneously giving back to local communities in need. The next time you shop, make sure to consider these responsible brands on children’s resale websites to further emphasize responsible consumerism.

See my disclaimer.