As the founder of a kids yoga clothes company that is in the business of consumerism, I am hands down the WORST consumer. Perhaps it was my job at Saks Fifth Avenue in my 20s, where I have a closet of clothes to remind me that I already have everything I need. Or the stuffed drawers of t-shirts and tops that I attempt to equally rotate wearing, but opening that drawer usually brings on some low level of anxiety. I used to love shopping, but rarely frequent stores anymore.
The truth is, I simply have zero interest. Perhaps it’s the idea that the average American gets rid of 70 pounds of clothing per year, that’s a red flag for me to maybe do something else productive with my time and money. Or this idea of people buying t-shirts for $4.99 that end up falling apart after several washes or end up in that same pile of 100 t-shirts you already own. Or the fact that I physically have no room in my tiny Brookyln apartment to bring in anything more. And let’s be totally honest here, isn’t it more fun to spend time and money exploring, meeting friends and booking that next trip instead of shopping for stuff you definitely don’t need?
So why am I running a kids clothing company for the very demographic that grows out of their clothes at lightning speed? The simple answer is, I think we can all shop better, still look super hip (if that’s what you’re going for) and end up with more money in our wallets to invest, travel and go do cool stuff with.
Here are five ways that you can consume smarter, including for the ever-growing babes:
Why do kids need so many clothes? Seriously people, they grow fast. Why do they need an entire closet full of clothes? If a kid is guaranteed to grow out of a pair of pants within months of its purchase, the kid doesn’t need 20 pairs of pants. I know I know, kids’ clothes are really freaking cute. I don’t even have kids and I want to buy every kids’ outfit I see. In the long run, less pants means more money for just about everything else and less clutter. Experiences over mass consumption. Your kid will thank you. So just buy less all around. Period.
Photo: Asher in his Sat Nam babe leggings that he lovesss.
Thanks Belma McCaffrey for the pic!
Get into the habit of becoming an investigator So how can you shop more strategically and more mindfully? It’s simple. Look for better quality, such as Fair Trade and organic cotton labels. Get in the habit of reading labels. What are your clothes made of? Where are they being produced? If you want to turn a blind eye to that $4.99 t-shirt, go right ahead, but know that the garment worker on the other end is probably working in subpar conditions for subpar wages inhaling bad chemicals. Difference between Fair Trade and not; organic cotton and not; shopping at Old Navy vs. the up and coming designer. You have a choice.
Seek out cool companies that are finding innovative ways to dress us I’m a big fan of Sprout Fit (I also happen to know the founder, we launched our companies around the same time!) They make adjustable clothes that get bigger as your baby grows! So essentially one onesie can be worn for an entire year. Sprout Fit is inspiring to me as a business woman and for our next onesie production; I 100% want to embrace this concept and see how we can incorporate this more, so kids can get more miles out of their clothes. I’m also loving that Rent the Runway is becoming more and more known for not just formal dresses, but being able to rent out your wardrobe for the work week and other occasions.
Instead of tossing, get stuff mended I love those little shoe taps that you can add to the bottom of shoes. I’ve taken the same pair of boots to my local shoe store at least three times to get those little taps replaced for a mere $3 each time. Instead of tossing, mend more and cherish the clothes you already have.
So much cool stuff to see and do (that doesn't involve shopping!) Like going to the Empire State Building when your friend is visiting and soaking up these views that never get old.
- Do your part at the end All clothes have an end life, but they do not need to end up in landfills. And don’t think you’re winning any do gooder medal for dropping off 70 pounds of garbage bags of clothes to your local Salvation Army. The reality is, much of those clothes end up overseas and do not stay at your local Salvation Army, because they are unsellable. What is the solution? Many baby and kids’ clothes are in excellent condition, so think about those friends, relatives and local women/children shelters that could give the clothes a second and third and fourth life. We simply need to buy less all around. Fast fashion is not a solution to anything and you can vote with your wallet by buying less, better quality and being conscious of what to do with your clothes when you’re done with them.
Companies must care about a garment’s full life cycle and not pretend that its job is over once a customer makes a purchase. It’s important to talk about what really happens to clothes after they are no longer wanted and educate each other, so we can all make more mindful decisions. Better decisions mean less waste, more meaning and a less cluttered planet.