Hello and welcome to our blog!
We’re Irina and Marina and we’re both mums of boys who have recently started primary school. As we prepared for our sons’ First Days, we were surprised by the lack of availability of environmentally friendly, ethical and sustainable school uniforms, tailored from smart designs and made from natural, hard-wearing fabrics. So… we did something about it!
It’s taken a grand vision, a huge amount of passion, many months of hard work and even the odd sleepless night, but we finally have a range of school uniforms that we’re both incredibly proud of.
Our mission was to give parents a real choice in their school uniform purchasing decisions and we’re thrilled with what we’ve achieved! Here are four ways we believe our EcoOutfitters products really make a difference:
1. They’re better for the environment
Our school uniform range is made from 100% pure organic cotton. While most people consider cotton to be a very natural fabric, what they don’t often know is that the production process of conventional cotton-growing is actually one of the most chemically intensive farming operations in the world. It uses approximately 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the world’s pesticides, and wreaks serious havoc on the soil, water and air.
On the other hand, farms producing organic cotton are free from poisonous chemical fertilisers and pesticides, keeping their soil and water pure, as well as protecting local communities, natural wildlife and native ecosystems.
Not only are EcoOutfitters’ school uniforms made from cotton that’s organically grown, but our entire manufacturing process from the field to the factory (and beyond) is environmentally friendly too. The whole system is conducted with adherence to the very strict GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards), including the spinning, knitting, dyeing, printing and sewing of all the products. How’s that for green credentials?!
2. They’re better for the health of our kids
Children wear school uniform for at least 35 hours a week, 39 weeks of the year. They’re often very active in them and, let’s face it, school classrooms are notorious for being either hot, sweaty and Sahara-like, or a temperature considered pleasant for penguins… with not much in between!
We consider our children’s school uniforms to be the most important items of clothing in their wardrobe, so you’d naturally expect the majority of these garments sold by shops to be made from top quality natural, breathable fibres, right?
Most of the school clothes we looked at for our sons were made from either a polycotton mix or from plain polyester, which is essentially plastic – a substance derived directly from crude oil. These sorts of materials aren’t sweat absorbent, and they don’t allow the skin to breathe properly, trapping heat which can trigger rashes and cause or aggravate skin conditions such as eczema. They aren’t very comfortable against the skin either. On top of this, the material also included stain-resistant and wrinkle-resistant coatings, made from harmful chemicals which can be slowly absorbed into the bloodstream via contact with your child’s skin.
The 100% organic cotton used in EcoOutfitters’ school uniforms, however, is totally free from these synthetic toxins, meaning your child can be safe, comfortable, properly temperature-regulated, and allergy-free while they learn. No excuse for not getting A+s then!
3. They’ll last longer
At EcoOutfitters, we’re all about the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
As our school uniform range is made from 100% organic cotton, our garments are much stronger than those made from non-organic cotton, whose composition is weakened by the chemicals used in the growing, processing and dyeing stages of production, where fibres are broken down resulting in an inferior cotton garment.
Our products may cost a little more than buying from a cut-price supermarket, but the higher price tag will definitely mean better value in the long run. And here’s why:
- We Reduce waste because our products last longer
- Our products can be Reused again and again and again because they’re more durable; and
- Our clothes are prime candidates for being Recycled as ‘Hand-Me-Downs’ because it’s more likely that kids will grow out of them before they start to fray and tear.
No embarrassing school photographs for us then – our sons have never looked more dapper on our mantlepieces!
4. We look after our workers
Have you ever wondered how the supermarket chains can manage to sell their school uniforms for as low as £2 per item? Despite assurances that they’re produced ethically, there are ongoing stories circulated of poor employment conditions for factory workers operated by these companies in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (Rana Plaza disaster is just one of the few examples that we actually got to hear about).
The scheme was developed to define a worldwide ethical status for textiles, and covers the whole environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing process, from the harvesting of the raw materials, right up to labelling and distribution, and everything in between.
We know that our organic growers receive a premium price for their cotton. And we can rest assured that our farmers in the fields and our workers in the factories won’t suffer any negative health impacts from our products, as they aren’t handling chemically loaded pesticides or dyes. We can also guarantee that they’re being treated humanely, are paid a ‘living wage’, and not being forced to work 70 hour weeks for as little as 5p an hour, like some others in the industry.
In a world where large companies hide the truth to protect their profits, we’re committed to building an open, ethical relationship with our producers, workers, suppliers and customers. And so far, we think we’ve done a pretty good job!
All the best,
Irina and Marina