Sustainable fashion is a hot topic. With more and more 'fast fashion' chains emerging, the textile industry is at an all time high for waste. After learning about the fast fashion industry and how problematic it is for our environment, as well as for the countries/workers performing the labour to produce these garments, I have tried to be more conscientious about my purchasing habits.
Then I had a kid.
The spit up. The thrown food. The blowouts (definitely not the kind for your hair). The laundry. Holy smokes. Who knew something so small would soil so many outfits in one day? Sometimes Reyn would have 4 different outfits in one day. That's almost as many as Mariah Carey.
And then you realize how fast babies grow. Our closet contains several dresses that Reyn wore once. Or never wore at all. There is a staggering amount of clothing collected for the first year alone. This got me thinking; how can we still be sustainable with our child?
1. Buy/Borrow Second Hand
When I found out I was pregnant, it was a bit of a surprise (okay...a giant surprise). My husband & I were living in a condo & planning an eight-month trip to Europe. We were about as unprepared as you can get. Thankfully, I have two sister-in-laws with 7 children between them, and THEY have friends who have babies too! We were gifted a ton of baby clothes, toys, tubs, a stroller, books, and even a crib. Not only did this help reduce landfill waste, but it saved us a ton of money.
A great place to find quality second hand clothing in #yeg is "My Favourite Aunts/Kidstuff". This consignment store only accepts items in great condition (no holes, rips, stains), and does NOT accept many fast-fashion brands. We consign our own items there as well, and any unsold items are donated to charity.
Additionally, online resale platforms are a fantastic place to find baby items. Facebook Marketplace, Varage Sale, and Kijiji have tons of items.
When Reyn outgrows something, I put it in a box. When the box is full, I text my friends with little ones, asking if they need anything. Usually, the box is gone within a week. There is always someone who can use it!
2. Shop Local
Edmonton is such a wonderful city for community events. I really don't understand people when they say they're bored...there's always stuff going on here. I've found great locally made baby items from Farmers Markets & Lifestyle Markets. There are tons of Canadian designers who create eco-friendly items that are QUALITY. Check out these ones:
Nook Design - Wool Footwear (upcycled & handmade) made in BC
Aura Leaf Co. - Ringslings handmade from Linen in Edmonton
Chewlery & Babe - Teething products handmade in St. Albert, BPA/Phthalate/Lead/Toxin Free
Hart of Grey - Locally designed clothing (with strong Drake influences)
3. Consume With Consciousness
I shop at Superstore for the majority of our food groceries. The draw of all those beautiful baby clothes at the centre of the store is a constant temptation for me. However, Joe Fresh clothing is primarily produced in Bangladesh, and despite their resigning of the Bangladesh Accord (commiting to improve building safety), is still very much a fast-fashion retailer. I try to remember this and avoid making impulse purchases here, or at other fast-fashion retailers.
Areas for Personal Improvement
I'm definitely not perfect when it comes to Miniature Sustainable Fashion, but I'm trying. Here's where I know I need to improve:
1. Reusable Cloth Diapers - I bought a lot of cloth diapers before Reyn was born with good intentions...but I failed. I have used 2 reusable swim diapers, and contributed way too many disposables to the landfill. I know I can be better in this area.
2. Ethically Produced Toys - This is something that I am just not educated enough about. My goal is to learn more about the manufacturing process of the toys we have in our home, and make choices that are better for our planet.
3. Be Clear & Firm on Receiving Gifts - I'm hoping I don't sound like a real dink here, but my goal for the upcoming holiday season is to tell friends and family that we do not need to collect more "stuff". This is really hard for me, because my husband comes from a large family that enjoys giving gifts, PLUS Reyn is the first grandchild on my side (hence - spoiled). But we honestly do not need more stuff! I would love to create a family tradition of giving "experience" gifts or "consumable" gifts, and having one or two special gifts to open during holidays/birthdays. This goal may require some liquid courage.