• Victoria

Join the baby clothes revolution! 6 ways to get the most out of your child's clothing

It’s Fashion Revolution week. A campaign to get us thinking about where our clothes come from, who makes them and how we use them. At The Story Tailor we upcycle outgrown baby and children's clothing into quilts, blankets and wall art - we are passionate about giving old clothing a new life.

In a world where clothing is cheaper than ever before it’s easy to buy more than we need and dispose of it without thinking about the consequences. Much of the baby and children’s wear we buy is barely worn before our kids grow up and it needs replacing. Research by campaign organisation Hubbub UK estimates that over £3,500 worth of children’s clothing goes to landfill per child growing up. That

But what impact is all this having on people and planet?

Our clothes have passed through many people’s hands before we purchase them – from cotton farmers, spinners, weavers and dyers to sewers, printers and embellishers. According to Fashion Revolution, approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women, and the majority living in poverty.

My background in ethical fashion means I've seen first-hand how some clothing is produced. From dangerous working conditions and minimal pay for workers, to destruction of the environment caused by misuse of chemicals.

When we buy garments we rarely think about who made them or whether they were made in a responsible way. When we dispose of our clothing we pay little attention to where it ends up. If we put it in the bin it inevitably goes to landfill and over the past 10 years, clothing has been the fastest growing waste stream in the UK.

The Story Tailor was born out of a passion for reusing fabrics – for giving outgrown kids clothing a second life as something new - and to help combat these issues.

Hubbub reckon:

A whopping 183 million items of outgrown baby clothing are stashed in UK homes.

And whilst passing outgrown clothing on to others is quite common, ‘1/3 of parents [say] they've thrown clothing in the bin because they didn't know what else to do with it.’

We want to help stop this happening - it’s time for a baby clothes revolution!

Fashion Revolution thinks that we need to:

Buy less, buy better and keep asking questions about the realities behind what we’re purchasing. We need to love the clothes we already own more and work harder to make them last.

And we agree. But when it comes to baby clothes it’s hard to keep them for long as our little ones grow up so fast. So, to help us all make a little bit of difference, here’s some ways you could give your outgrown baby clothes a new life and make sure they avoid landfill:

1. Share – hand them down to family and friends, swap them or sell them to other parents at a Mum2MumMarket or other parent friendly market place.

2. Repair and re-use – Trousers too short? Holes in the knee? Cut the bottom off to make long shorts perfect for spring time at preschool. T’shirt too small? Cut off the front and make the back into a great super hero cape. Sustainable kids brand Jake and Maya offer some tips on repairing clothing. They also stock iron on textile plasters to patch up holes, and a range of innovative clothing that grows with your child, so you buy less.

3. Reinvent – use your creative skills to upcycle them into quilts, memory blankets, bunting and memory bears. There are lots of ‘how to’ guides online including on the Loved Clothes Last website.

4. Commission a keepsake - contact one of the talented makers out there (The Story Tailor included of course!) to create a baby clothes keepsake. Whether it’s those first special baby grows or a whole pile of colourful toddler T’shirts, capture childhood memories in an heirloom for your family.

5. Donate - to your local charity shop or to a redistribution scheme like Jo Jo Maman Bebe’s ‘From a Mother to Another’ , which passes on clothing to Syrian refugees and vulnerable people in the UK. Or save them up for Hubbub’s ‘Gift A Bundle’ campaign next Mother’s Day.

6. Recycle - If you have to dispose of clothing, drop it off at a textile recycling bank where it can be recycled into things like mattress filling and carpets.

The Story Tailor uses recycled and reclaimed fabrics in our products – from the clothes our customers send to us, to end of line clothing and fabric from other retailers. When we buy new fabrics we try to use materials that are organic or fair trade (we love the Organic Textile Company!). We aim to use every last scrap of fabric – literally! The off cuts of fabric generated when we make our products are shredded and used to stuff cushions.

What do you do with your child's outgrown baby clothing? What changes can you make to the way you buy, use and dispose of the clothes your family wears? Let us know @thestorytailorstudio

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