So often I am asked where I get my little’s clothes. I usually rattle off the name of the shop, agree with the compliment, and carry on about my day. What I rarely am able to get into, especially with strangers in passing, is why he is dressed so dapper. Of course as his mother I feel my child would look adorable wearing a holey tee, but there is a message behind the threads that I promise from this day forward to mention with every compliment. Even if it is just a sentence.
We’re not rich, I’m certainly not a fashionista, and it takes a holiday for me to wear makeup. When we were pregnant with our nugget I made a conscious decision to buy ethically as often as possible.
As Americans, we rarely think about making of something and focus more on the product and price. So we see the $4.99 jammies at Costco and buy five pair. There isn’t a sign that says children make the clothes, or that the working conditions of the seamstresses are not only incredibly dangerous, but that these people in another country working their hearts in literal fear are paid pennies. We don’t talk about the chemicals used in the very fabric, not only draping our children but also poisoning the workers.
And every time we dress our babies in their hard work, we are voting for quantity over quality. We are choosing to keep these people in conditions where they are one fire away from losing their lives with next to nothing to show for it. For $5 jammies.
This isn’t to say that I haven’t fallen for it, but after watching John Oliver’s spiel on fashion the husband and I decided to try harder. We’re a one income family trying to budget like everyone else, but this weighed heavy on our hearts.
That’s what I love about our generation, y’all. We’re sick of sitting on the sidelines and placing value on things that don’t deserve it. We know that when we work together, however we can, we change the world. That’s what ethical fashion, also known as the shop small movement, is based on.
I looked to Etsy and Instagram and began falling in love with just about everything I saw. There really is something for everyone. We began purchasing one item at a time, maximizing outfits and realizing that it’s not about quantity, but quality.
Not only did I find the most amazing designs, but I also found moms like me. Women who take care of their families during the day and sit at the sewing machine until the wee hours of the morning. They have passion, they stitch with love, and they offer an ethical alternative to what we find from your typical children’s clothing. Not to mention, every dime spent in their shops goes to support their families. How can you not get behind that?
As we continued our journey with the shop small movement I began to know the shop owners and make friends. It’s kind of insane once you think of it, but I have conversations daily with the makers of our clothes.
I asked one of my favorite shop owners how what she loves about the shop small movement and why she enjoys being a part of it.
Kim of Urban Tot Apparel said, “My favourite part of running a small shop is being able to express my creative side while providing a great alternative to those who want to support ethically made clothing for their children. It allows me to stay at home to raise my two boys while providing to our growing family.”
I ask everyone to seriously reconsider everything they once thought about fashion and take some time to research what’s at stake. And when you are ready to dive into the shop small movement, there will be hundreds of moms waiting to impress you online.
Check out my blog as I post updates on my favorite shops from time to time