15 best sustainable and organic kids' clothing brands
We pick out the most ethical and eco-friendly children’s clothing brands to kit out growing tiny tots
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The rate at which little ones grow can mean buying them clothes feels like an endless task. With the washing machine on a constant cycle, it can be tempting to nip out and buy replacements instead. But kids’ clothing is seeing a shift towards sustainability. It’s the new buzz word in fashion, and with good reason: the industry is the second most polluting in the world.
Sustainability can take many forms but here we consider it as reducing the environmental impact of production processes, cutting out harmful chemicals used to make clothes, and ensuring ethical guidelines are in place when it comes to safe working practices in factories, a fair wage and so on.
For mums and dads, sustainability means quality too. It means buying long-lasting, robust clothes for kids, with the potential to be handed down to future siblings. With longevity in mind, brands often incorporate features that allow garments to grow with your little one (for a few months at least), the likes of roll-up hems and adjustable shoulder straps.
Top of the list for new parents and parents-to-be, though, is often the fabrics used; the safest and softest materials possible to protect delicate newborn skin. For this reason, many brands use organic cotton, produced without the use of the pesticides or chemicals that can irritate skin or exacerbate allergies. The absence of chemical fertilisers in the organic farming process also helps minimise harm to the environment.
Ethics are also a top priority for many sustainable retailers. From making sure factory workers have a fair wage and safe working conditions to preventing child labour, brands go above and beyond to make sure the whole process from factory to shop floor is as transparent as possible.
The easiest way to identify if your tiny tot’s clothes follow these principles are to look out for official certification, such as The Soil Association, the UK’s largest organic certification body, or World Fair Trade Organisation. Other countries will always have an equivalent body too, but brands worldwide often have to pay for such certifications. Organic cotton clothing is recognised by Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) or Oeko-Tex, which means no chemical pesticides or fertilisers can be used in production and farmers must work under safe conditions with an agreed minimum wage.
We’ve chosen brands where either its whole range is sustainable or it has a sustainable collection. And to give you a helping hand, we’ve picked out our favourite pieces, which have all been tested on our mini testers (ranging from newborn to four years).
British brand Frugi is committed to creating completely organic clothing with 90 per cent of its range now made from organic cotton. It also strives to be as ethical as possible when it comes to factory workers’ rights and pay. And that’s how it’s secured certification from GOTS and the Soil Association, which is no easy achievement. Packaging is also biodegradable and 1 per cent of profits are donated to charity each year, so all in all, it’s a great brand to support.
IndyBest pick: Cosy Button Up Jacket: £38, We Love Frugi
Frugi is all about bright and cheerful designs that you know kids will love and also look adorable in. From T-shirts to tights, there are so many options to pick from, but our top choice is this cosy button-up jacket. Coming in three fun prints (animal, rain clouds and bunting), it will keep little boys and girls feeling toasty outdoors and make a great hand-me-down to future siblings. Made from certified organic cotton, it’s super soft and won’t irritate your child’s skin as they play. The button fastening is easy to do and undo, while the hood comes in handy during a light drizzle – although it’s not waterproof. Available in sizes newborn to four years.
It’s encouraging to see a big brand like H&M doing as much as possible to become completely sustainable and ethical in the near future. Although its sustainability commitment applies to all of H&M clothing, which is to be 100 per cent renewable, with fair working practices and using sustainably sourced materials by 2030, as well as eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from its production process by 2040, currently its Conscious Kids collection is leading the way. All of it is made from sustainable materials including ones that are recycled, organic or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your little one is wearing something that has been made with the environment in mind.
IndyBest pick: Cotton Jumper with a Frill: £12.99, H&M
H&M is known for its reasonably priced clothes and its kids’ range is no different. We like this dusky-pink, organic cotton jumper from the Conscious collection available in sizes up to three years old. The frill motif along the front collar is on-trend and will keep your little one looking stylish in the winter months. Practically, you pull it over the head and fasten the three wooden buttons on the back. It feels soft but durable – a few tumbles won’t pull the fabric – and it’s machine washable. If this doesn’t appeal, we’d recommend taking a look at the full collection as there are lots of options for your tiny tot to wear.
Piupia is a small, family-run business founded in London where the focus is on the quality of materials used and how they are sourced. The Autumn/Winter collection is made from cotton and wool. And the organic cotton is GOTS-certified, while the whole production chain and the wool used is Oeko-Tex 100 certified, so there’s a strict set of ethical and environmental guidelines in place. No chemical nasties are used to dye or print clothing and the buttons are ecological (made from cotton fibres). The production process all happens within 30km too, cutting down its environmental impact further.
IndyBest pick: Anthracite Pinafore Dress: £32, Piupia
Made in Portugal, this classic pinafore dress is ideal for any smart occasions your tiny tot will be attending with you. It can be paired with shirts and T-shirts to create different styles, making it extremely versatile. The fabric is 100 per cent organic cotton and has a high-quality feel to it, while the adjustable buttons around the elasticised waist means it will last as your little one grows and is easy to dress them in. Available in sizes three months to six years.
A favourite with kids, parents will also love British brand Toby Tiger for its motto, “Ethical and organic”. Not adhering to seasons and therefore fast fashion, 80 per cent of the current range is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton with the long-term aim to make this 100 per cent. It’s also certified by the Soil Association, so you can trace the cotton in your children’s clothes right back to the field it was grown in.
IndyBest pick: Elly T-Shirt: £17.99, Toby Tiger
Here’s another brand that’s full of wonderful colourful prints, making it hard to pick one piece from the vast collection. We settled on this elephant print top though, as it would make a lovely addition to your mini me’s wardrobe. Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, it feels soft against the skin and will go with most things. It’s available up to six years but handily sizes six months to two years come with extra poppers along the neckline for quick (and inevitable) changes.
Sleepwear specialist The Bright Company makes unisex PJs for kids and adults. Aiming to give you the comfiest night’s sleep, since 2016 all of its products have been made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and meet Oeko-Tex standard 100 guidelines, meaning your child sleeps in the softest and safest materials. There’s a big emphasis on ethical production too – all factories used are often family-run and within the EU, where workers are entitled to rights and safe working conditions.
IndyBest pick: Slim Jyms Pyjamas: £30, The Bright Company
We couldn’t help but coo over our mini tester in this matching pyjama set – she just looked so very cute, not to mention stylish. This GOTS-certified organic cotton set is soft and stretchy meaning you can pull it on your tot with ease and they’re free to roam around the house in something super comfy. The gathered cuffs mean no sleeves dipped in breakfast in the mornings either. Available in sizes six months to 12 years, you could get a pair for all the kids and complete the look by buying the matching adult pyjama bottoms for yourself.
Zara is another big brand working hard to make its processes and therefore clothing more sustainable. Initiatives such as Clothing Collect, which encourages you to recycle old clothes in store, and ensuring all cardboard packaging is FSC-certified start to reduce Zara’s environmental impact. But its wider aim is to use more sustainable raw materials, organic cotton and recycled fabrics in production, as well as respecting workers’ rights, safety and the working environment. Its Join Life range incorporates all of this by picking out the best sustainable pieces, including a great line for kids.
IndyBest pick: Explore the Forest Print T-Shirt: £3.99, Zara
Picked from the Join Life range, this top has been made with ecologically grown cotton, which means it’s produced using methods that protect biodiversity and the environment. Available in three forest-themed prints, it’s ideal for boys or girls who love exploring in the great outdoors. And being stretchy and soft makes it the perfect combination for wriggly little ones, while the long sleeves add a bit of protection for that eventual tumble. Available in sizes three months to four years.
There’s lots going on at Patagonia to ensure it remains a sustainable brand. From the materials used to create its vast range of outdoor gear, including recycled polyester and traceable down (certified by Global Traceable Down Standard and NSF international – an organisation that works to protect the environment) to the strict working practices it follows to ensure workers are given a fair living wage as well as safe conditions to work in. It puts sustainability right at the centre of everything it produces, and the kids range is ideal for any outdoorsy little ones.
IndyBest pick: Baby Hi-Loft Down Sweater Hoody: £95, Patagonia
This weather-resistant coat stands up to the harshest of conditions – rain, wind and snow are no problem, meaning your little ones are kept cosy and dry without complaint. Duck down provides this layer of warmth, which is completely traceable (Patagonia ensures it doesn’t come from birds that are force-fed or live-plucked). The hood, zip pockets and gathered cuffs mean there’s no chance of any heat escaping either, so it’s ideal for any winter ski holidays. It may reach the upper limits of your budget but, besides from it looking cute on any child that gets their hands on it, think of it as an investment that will make a great hand-me-down. In fact, Patagonia highly encourages this, and even provides an ID label so you can record the (hopefully many) owners of this coat. Available in a range of colours and sizes (measured in inches not age).
Brighton-based brand Peacheyboo creates unisex clothing for tiny tots using prints inspired by old-fashioned sweet shops (think sugar mice, raspberry ripple and blackjack sweets). And it’s all designed, manufactured and packaged in the UK – reducing its carbon footprint. The cotton used meets Oeko-Tex standards and inks are CE-certified (so baby-safe according to EU regulations).
IndyBest pick: Vanilla Sugar Mice Dress: £28, Peachyboo
Our pick from Peachyboo is this unisex long t-shirt or dress with a sugar mouse print pocket, which is screen-printed using CE-certified inks. Made from 100 per cent Oeko-Tex cotton, it’s silky smooth against skin and the simple design means it will go with anything in your little one’s wardrobe. The fabric is fairly stretchy too so it can easily be removed after that splat of food or splosh of mud. Available up to three years.
From using sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester to ensuring its factories have ethical working practices, you can have a clear conscience over the clothes you’re buying from this Swedish childrenswear brand. Mini Rodini encourages you to consider less buying and more repairing of old clothes in order to cut down their impact on the environment. The clothing isn’t cheap, so it’s a great hand-me-down option for parents with more than one little one. But it is high quality and on trend, giving adult clothing a serious run for its money.
IndyBest pick: Panther Onesie: £53, Mini Rodini
This unisex brand has some seriously cool prints to pick from, including a collaboration with Adidas if you’re after some on-trend mini sportswear. We love this panther print onesie, though – it’s comfy, stylish and easy to get on and off little hands and feet. The zipper goes from neck to foot, meaning it’s a simple step in, step out job. There’s a hood for hiding away in and it’s available in sizes 1-4 months (56/52), 4-9 months (68/74) and 9-18 months (80/86).
Another brand encouraging you to pass on its clothing is Brighton-based childrenswear retailer The Bonnie Mob. From T-shirts and trousers to babygrows and blankets, it caters for children up to seven years old with its long-lasting and robust pieces. Buying fabric from source rather than relying on third parties, The Bonnie Mob ensures its 100 per cent organic cotton and clothes are made ethically and sustainably, having gained Oeko-Tex and GOTS certification.
IndyBest pick: Softie Unisex Baby Bunny Heat Print Beanie Hat: £13.45, The Bonnie Mob
For the cute factor alone this hat is worth buying – the bunny-print design with matching ears is simply adorable. Made from 95 per cent organic cotton, you can appreciate how soft this feels against your baby’s skin while not irritating it or triggering allergies. It’s reversible too, switching to a plain version if you fancy a change. Available in sand, pink or blue in sizes up to two years, there are also blankets and playsuits available in the range.
This British brand creates beautiful, high-quality pieces, all designed, made and delivered in the UK, minimising its carbon footprint. By supporting British manufacturing and using only ethically sourced materials, it gives parents the softest clothes to pick from while also helping to save the planet.
IndyBest pick: Maggie Cord Dungaree: £110, Kingdom of Origin
Kids grow so quickly and these dungarees cater for that – the elasticated waistband, roll up hems on the leg, adjustable shoulder straps, side buttons and its general oversized style means it will stretch and expand as your tiny tot grows. It’s made from ethically sourced fabrics too (cotton and elastine) and manufactured in the UK. The material is velvet-like, soft and breathable so kids can run around and play without any discomfort. It’s a beautifully made, quality piece that can be passed down to younger generations.
Helping babies (and therefore parents) get to sleep, The Little Green Sheep designs natural and organic bedding and sleepwear, including mattresses, to give tiny tots a sleeping environment that’s free from harmful chemicals. Believing in ethically produced products, the cotton used is GOTS-certified so you can be sure you’re buying safe and sustainable clothing for your little one.
IndyBest pick: Wild Cotton Organic Sleepsuit Bear: From £17.95, The Little Green Sheep
If it’s a newborn you’re shopping for, look no further than The Little Green Sheep. Pick up one of its GOTS-certified organic cotton sleepsuits (our favourite is this bear print) and you’ll appreciate the quality of the fabric and the softness against the skin – ideal for the tiniest members of the family as it’s only available up to six months. You’ll also appreciate the popper fastening for easy access when nappy changing is required. An added bonus is 25p from every item sold in this collection goes to the Woodland Trust UK.
Copenhagen-based brand Konges Sloejd brings Scandi style to its kids’ clothing range, designing everything from blouses to bedding. And all products in its latest line are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, as preservation of the environment and working conditions are very important to the brand. The on-trend designs and high-quality feel of its clothing are what all parents will value.
IndyBest pick: Organic Cotton Sea Shell Playsuit in White: £28, Bonordic
Made from 100 per cent GOTS-certified organic cotton, this playsuit will suit boys and girls with its neutral, off-white, sea shell design. The popper fastening along the legs makes nappy changing simple, while the roll down features at the neck mean you can change little one with ease. It’s also extremely soft so won’t irritate the skin and super-stylish, thanks to its Scandi roots. Available in sizes up to 18 months.
The Swedish brand is new to the UK this year and creates fashionable clothes for nought to eight-year-olds, which are also reasonably priced. And while the clothes are good value for money, it also aims to be as sustainable as possible - from using 100 per cent organic cotton to adhering to a number of international standards, including GOTS. As well as considering the materials used, Newbie is committed to creating a safe and fair working environment throughout the production chain, while also encouraging you to recycle old clothes (you can hand them in to Newbie’s London store) or pass them down to other little ones.
IndyBest pick: Baby Leggings with Bear Embroidery: £8, Newbie
Soft against skin, these GOTS-certified, cotton-mix leggings will be a wardrobe staple for your little one, as their neutral tone makes them ideal for mixing and matching with other pieces. The embroidered bears on the knees with 3D ears are a cute addition. The elasticated waist makes them simple to get on and off, while you can chuck them in the wash for easy cleaning. Available in sizes one to 18 months, or in navy, too.
This ethical, British brand uses 100 per cent organic cotton for all of its clothes, which are produced in Europe (reducing their carbon footprint). With a focus on quality, fair trade and the environment, Organiczoo creates long-lasting pieces that are made free from toxic chemicals and support factory employees and their local communities. All materials come from GOTS-certified and Fairtrade suppliers, while the dyes are of Oeko-Tex standard. Considering the small size of the company, it goes the extra mile to ensure the whole process is as sustainable as possible.
IndyBest pick: Grey Milk Sweatshirt: £24, Not On The High Street
Available in sizes nought months to three years, this unisex jumper is a stylish staple for your tiny tot. It’s made from 100 per cent organic cotton and will keep them cosy and warm without irritating skin - ideal for the winter months. The simple design means it will go with anything in your little one’s wardrobe, and stains won’t show as easily either. Organiczoo has a whole range of slogan designs on everything from bodysuits to t-shirts, so be sure to check out the full collection.
The Verdict: Sustainable and organic kids’ clothing brands
We love all the brands on this list for their efforts to be sustainable without compromising on style or quality. Frugi’s Button Up Jacket is our Best Buy, though, while Patagonia’s jacket and The Bright Company’s PJ set are also great investments.