Jennifer wrote about Kee Ka yesterday here on Eco Child’s Play, and I thought I would add a few more kids clothing ideas to the mix. The monkey ensemble she highlighted was actually one of our favorite outfits we received as a gift for our son when he was born last fall. It was a true breath of fresh air. You see, here in Texas, we like our boys dressed in clothes that reflect real manly values. Tools, trucks, sports logos, and cowboy gear abound on clothes for our sons, and that’s as it should be…
…unless you’re a parent that hates looking at tools, trucks, sports logos, and cowboy gear, in which case you’re up a creek. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all of the hand-me-downs we’ve received since our son was born last fall. Passing clothing down from kid to kid is an American tradition that’s thrifty and environmentally responsible at the same time. I’ve also had a great time going through resale shops and thrift stores and I’ve found some good stuff. Blue jean shorts for $1? Sold!
However, since kiddo isn’t old enough to care about his own clothes yet, we are actually the primary viewers of his wardrobe and we are starting to get a bit tired of all the “All Boy All The Time” look – and it is darn difficult to find anything else unless you buy new. I know it isn’t any easier on the other side. Announcing “it’s a girl!” seems to trigger a pink clothing avalanche. (Also see Amy’s post on GirlMogul for some alternatives.)
So if you’re on the hunt for something to break the mold and liven up your babe’s couture, here’s a list of 20 eco-friendly shirts that don’t scream boy or girl (or cowboy). Use the money you saved on the jean shorts to splurge a little, or drop a few hints to the grandparents.
First up, the lovely Peace onesie pictured above from Mine Organics, $24.95. Their onesies and t-shirts are made of 100% organic cotton, the tags contain wildflower seeds, and all of the paper the company uses is printed on 100% recycled paper using vegetables dyes. Their onesies go up to 12-18 months, or you can jump up to a sage green version of this design for toddlers for the same price. For bigger kids, sage green or navy are available.
They also make this “Mine” planet t-shirt that cracks me up, also in various colors and sizes.
Next, please meet Austin’s Will Heron. Will is just about one of the nicest guys at the downtown Austin Farmers Market where he often has a booth, and that’s saying a lot ’cause it’s a friendly bunch down there. Will told me he uses non-toxic water based inks and an eco-friendly photo emulsion to make the screens he uses to print the shirts. He has several designs he always prints on organic cotton, and several more that can be printed on organic cotton upon request, but my favorite of the always-organic ones is this cheeky little squirrel. All his children’s shirts and onesies are $15. The designs are all posted on his website as drawings, but they are even cuter in person.
The Joy Tee from Eco Ike was a pick over at Great Green Baby because it’s organic cotton and printed with water-based inks. I learned something on their website: regular t-shirts are usually printed with a liquified form of PVC. Yuck! Their FAQ has more information, as well as a good sizing chart. People do seem to reflexively assume any young child in blue is a boy, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this happy shirt – also available in a onesie, $22 for either one. Eco Ike just started up last year, and they give 5% of their proceeds to environmental nonprofit organizations, so definitely check them out.
I found out about Jackapotamus on eco-blog Petite Planet. They can print this cool guitar on anything from 3-6 month onesies to 10-12 year old crew neck tees for $22. Their Etsy Shop is where you place your orders while they’re working on their regular site. Most of their designs can be ordered on either regular cotton or organic cotton, and they don’t have tags inside to avoid the itchies. I love their description of how it all began: “Product designer has a baby boy and quickly tires of pastel onesies with ‘Mommy’s little hero’ and ‘Daddy’s little sportstar’.” And we all benefit, so thanks very much!
The next shirt was featured on Esty’s blog The Storque as part of their series Handmade Kids. The flying lizard shirt from Etsy seller inkyspider is available in sizes 2, 4, and 6, so my babe is going to have to wait a while. But if blue isn’t your thing, it can also be made up in red, green, or purple. It’s organic cotton and printed by hand, $25.
(As the mother of a redhead who would look fabulous in purple, I have to say that there is a shortage of kids’ shirts in that color and I appreciate inkyspider’s contribution to remedying this problem.)
Online shop KidBean.com has this cute design, called the “Can You Dig It Montana Sky blue Seedling t-shirt.” KidBean bills their shop as full of “Earth-friendly, labor-friendly vegan products for your family.” They have a ton of organic cotton clothing all the way from preemie sizes to 16 year olds. They also have this design in a onesie. $20 for the t-shirt, $24 for the onesie. Both are available in sizes from 3 to 24 months. If you like it, you can shop by brand on their site and see more stuff from Can You Dig It, as well as other eco-brands.
Shouldn’t the farmers and field laborers and factory workers who are participants in the supply chain from earth to market earn enough from their efforts to rise above subsistence living? Of course!
They have several other fab designs, all by independent illustrators, so check them out. $24 for this shirt, also available in a onesie for the same price.
Totally Organic brings us this excellent shirt for all kids who love to play in the dirt, which at last count is practically all of them. Their shirts are organic cotton, and dyed using clay. Yes, it’s a shirt that says “play in the dirt” and it’s partially made out of dirt. According to Totally Organic, their shirts are “Fair Trade – Non Toxic – Sweatshop Free – Natural and Organic Ingredients – Vegan – Sustainable – Biodegradable – Socially Responsible.” Youth sizes 7/8 and 9/10, $18. [Also via Great Green Baby.]
We ordered two shirts from Baby Greens Organics, and this nami shirt was one of them. In the picture, they look white, but the ones we received were a more natural color and quite beautiful. We got the kaze san onesie for a friend’s baby and they report 100% satisfaction with it as well. They are hand printed, so may be slight variations in the artwork, which is inspired by nature and different cultures around the world.
Some of the sizes of this and their other related shirts and onesies are sold or selling out, so prices and availability vary. Organic cotton with water-based inks, $12-$24 depending on what they have left.
Chapter One Organics was featured on Eco Child’s Play last month. My favorite is their alphabet onesie, which only goes up to 6 months, so I’ll have to buy it for someone else’s kid. It looke like a grid of green letters, but when you look closely you see that some of the letters are orange – spelling the words joy, love, baby, mom, and dad. Clothes from Chapter One Organics are certified organic and fair labor / fair trade. All of Chapter One Organics’ screen printing is done with water-based inks, and their dyeing is done with low impact dyes. $26.
Winter Water Factory hand prints their t-shirts on organic cotton with water based inks. My favorite is this Seagulls shirt, it just says “beach vacation” to me and with the temperatures in Texas right now, that’s sounding better and better. It’s available in 4T and 6T for $36. Winter Water Factory is a small design shop in Brooklyn NY that specialized in textile design, and you can see their artistic sensibility in this and the other other onesies and t-shirts they offer in various sizes.
(They even have some trucks and cars, but I don’t hold that against them. The cranes, excavators, and the buggy onesie are actually quite cute.)
biome5 was featured on Green Mom Finds recently, and they’re really neat. They have 26 shirts, one for each letter of the alphabet, each with an animal on it. The name of the animal is upside down so the kid wearing it can read it. Each shirt comes in one color for the t-shirts, available in 2T, 4T,and 6T, and another color for the onesies, available in 3-6 months and 6-12 months. The wide variety of shirt and letter colors does make it hard to narrow down what you want, but it’s also a nice break from white or natural shirts with a design. The short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts go for $28 and onesies for $26, but right now the long sleeve shirts are 50% off, so stocking up for fall and winter might be a good idea.
ProgressiveKid has this sweet 100% Organic Baby onesie. Right now it’s available on natural in a 18-24 month onesie for $18 or a yellow 6-12 month baby t-shirt for $20. ProgressiveKid actually has a mission statement: “to support the development of progressive kids, so that the next generation will be equipped and prepared to care for our planet and the many forms of life that live on it.” Their Ethics page describes how they align their business practices with that mission, including living wage issues, organic certification, and how they package their products. They also have a website for kids called Kids’ Rock that includes information about climate change, stories about kids who are helping the environment, and tips for going organic at home.
The “my tricycle is a hybrid” shirt and “the dog hates me” onesies are just two of the BabyZ Organic designs for sale over at Polka Dot Patch Boutique. Shirts go for $25, and they’re available in 2T, 4T, and 6T. Onesies are $24, and they’re available in 6-12, 12-18, and 18-24 months. The trike shirt is also available as a onesie in with the design in green.
The BabyZ design that kind of freaks me out is the one that says “homemade.” When someone looks at my kid, I’d really rather their first thought not be about what occurred in order to create him. That’s personal. But maybe this issue is with my mind and not with the shirt.
And for those days when the child is crawling through the house yelling with a toy clamped in his or her jaws, The ReForm School brings us this amazing Raised by Wolves onesie. Organic cotton, hand screen printed. $16, size 6-12 months.
And the final three shirts were featured on Eco Child’s Play in the last few months, so I encourage you to check them out as well:
- Toby and Rei Elephant Shirt
- Go Gween Onesie from Babyish (also available in a t-shirt)
- Sweet Pea onesie from Kee Ka
Voila! Your child is clothed, and there’s not a princess, dump truck, cowboy boot, or football team logo in site. Or any highly commercialized children’s television characters, for that matter.
All images from the respective sellers.