This is a fair question that often gets discussed at Little Nutkins HQ. On the face of it, why would you pay £35 for an organic sweatshirt when you could pay £10 for one from a local supermarket? It’s only going to get messy, dirty and eventually fall apart after numerous washes.
In this blog we want to give some explanation and reasons as to why the price is higher, why it is worth paying that bit extra for organic cotton and how it will benefit your children.
Why are chemicals used when making clothes?
To understand why organic fabric costs more, we first need to know why chemicals are used in the first place.
Chemicals are used in all sorts of farming practices usually to keep away bugs, pests and diseases that can affect crop production. If chemicals aren't used, they still need to find ways of preventing insects and disease ruining production. Organic methods are usually more labour intensive and cost more.
Chemicals fertilisers are also regularly used to speed up growth, so without chemicals it can be a slower production cycle, meaning less output.
And cotton farming is just the start of it, did you know chemicals are used in the dying process too? Fabric is often treated with solvent chemicals before the dying process, and there are also chemicals in the majority of dyes used too. Not to mention finishing treatments to make clothing waterproof or flame retardant. Most of the chemicals used are seen as harmful to human health!
As soon as you start using different practices and avoid chemicals processes, cotton production become slower, more labour intensive and more expensive. It’s also still a relatively small industry and organic clothing brands tend to be smaller, with smaller production runs, so overheads can be very high.
Why Choose Organic Cotton Clothing for Childrenswear?
There are many reasons why choosing non-chemical clothes is better, but here are some of the main highlights:
No nasty chemicals on your children’s skin - children and babies have much thinner and more sensitive skin than adults. According to recent clinical findings, the outer layer of an infant's skin is 30% thinner than in adults. This means that chemicals used in non-organic cotton production can get absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. Organic cotton keeps your children’s delicate skin free from these harsh dyes and chemicals.
Better for sensitive skin and eczema - following on from the above point, the chemicals in non-organic clothing are thought to contribute to skin problems like eczema that can develop in children at an early age. As organic cotton is free from chemicals, there is less chance of your child developing, or aggravating, skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and skin allergies.
Organic cotton children’s clothes are gorgeously soft and comfortable - if you haven’t felt the difference between organic cotton and normal cotton we really urge that you do! Everyone wants their children to be comfortable and organic cotton is particularly great for babies as they are less likely to get itchy and therefore be less restless in organic cotton clothes.
Your child’s clothing will be more durable - studies show that normal cotton starts to wear much quicker (after 8-10 washes) than organic cotton (20 plus washes). Therefore organic cotton children’s clothes will actually last much longer and also still remain soft. This will mean there is less need for you to buy as many clothes for your children. If you are thinking - “but my children outgrow their clothes so quickly!’ Then you need to read our previous blog about slow fashion for kids and how this change of mindset along with other ideas means you can just buy what you need and create less waste.
Protecting the farmers and the environment - we also need to think about the wider implications of non-organic cotton production. Cotton farmers and workers suffer poisoning from the chemicals and pesticides they are exposed to, work in unregulated industries and often are not paid a fair wage. Non-organic cotton production is also polluting our environment by the use of chemicals and pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Organic cotton farming is much more sustainable for the environment and the soil remains healthy. Organic cotton farming emits up to 46% less greenhouse gas than non-organic (The Soil Association). Organic cotton farming also protects the farmers as they are provided with safer alternatives to chemicals and the organic farming industry is certified and fairly regulated.
So Are We Actually Comparing the Same Product?
When we think about all these reasons, it is easy to understand the benefits of buying organic cotton clothing. The price is higher due to the different processes and labour costs when non-chemical products are used.
Think back to our £10 supermarket jumper versus the £35 one. Considering that extremely low price and factoring in everything that goes into that process and the associated costs, how much is that cotton farmer taking home, and how much is the factory worker actually getting paid? It really makes you think.
So paying a higher price for organic kids clothes is not just about making money for fashion brands or retailers, or to make a statement or create a status. It’s to ensure a basic living wage for those involved in the whole organic cotton production process and support environmentally sustainable practises.
Then when we put all the extra benefits (super-soft, allergenic and durable) on top - we are actually comparing two completely different products, so why would the prices be the same?
Choosing an Organic UK Children’s Clothing Brand
All these benefits to organic cotton clothing is why at Little Nutkins we wanted to offer our very own UK Organic Children’s Clothing Brand - XOKIDDO.
Our range of unisex organic kids clothes are stylish, washable, wearable and super-comfortable, the kind of clothes that make getting dressed a walk in the park. Mix up tops and bottoms, boys and girls for sustainable style that’s ready for any adventure.
And some of our range (the newer items) also have The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification - making it even more super-duper sustainable! GOTS certification means clothing is not only organic but that the whole supply chain has been reviewed and assesses to be as sustainable as possible in terms of the wages paid to farmers and factory workers, the factory's emissions and water usage and that no chemicals are used.
We think you and your kids will love these clothes and that’s great because they will last a long time! You can also feel great knowing that your child’s skin is comfortable and protected. Also you are helping reduce the negative impacts of cotton farming on the environment and know that everyone in the production of the clothes has been treated fairly.