How do I know if children's clothing is ethically and ecologically manufactured?
This was the question that Mirjam Sokka, 26, started to think about after having her first child three years ago. Now she is a mother of two and has noticed that there is no one right answer to the question.
– For example the use of organic cotton is, in the end, quite unecological as its production uses very much water. There may also be ethical problems concerning working conditions, she reflects.
– Then again, the production minimums of more ecological materials, such as linen, nettle or recycled materials, are so large that even their manufacturing process ends up being unecological if the garments are not sold. The use of these materials also raises the price of garments further.
However, you can always try to make better choices: lyocell rather than viscose, organic or fair trade cotton rather than regular.
Getting to know the clothing industry and her love for fashion led to Mirjam founding her own company, Kaiko Clothing. Kaiko manufactures children's and women's clothing, and this autumn also the first men's clothes will be launched.
The spark for the company was actually kindled a few years earlier when Mirjam watched news about clothing factories that had collapsed in Bangladesh.
– Around that time, people in Finland started to favour children's clothes manufactured in Finland, which is good. However, I was left to wonder what the destiny of women working in developing countries would be if they would be left unemployed. I wanted to help them and that is why Kaiko regularly donates money to the education of Nepalese women.
When I buy children's clothes
- I prefer second-hand. Especially clothes for small children are used so little that there are a lot of clothes in good condition available at flea markets.
- With new clothes I check if they have certificates for ecological production and non-toxic materials. These include for example GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), which tells that a garment has been manufactured in an environmentally friendly way, and Oeko-Tex, which guarantees that there are no harmful chemicals in the garment.
- I check out the story of the company that manufactured the garment. It is interesting to know what kinds of values the company has and what are important matters for the brand.