Last year I reviewed some school uniform from one of the supermarkets and it struck me how incredibly cheap the items were. Now, I'm all for a bargain, but at what price does a £1.50 skirt come? How on earth is it made and perhaps more importantly to me, who has made it?
With stories in the press of pleas for help being sewn into the labels of mass-produced clothing bound for the UK, the real cost of cheap clothes has been bothering me even more lately.
Ecooutfitters are breaking the mould for school uniforms and assure customers that every worker in the chain, from planting and harvesting the cotton, right through to labelling and distributing their garments are treated humanely and receive a fair wage. They have signed up to the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) scheme which assures ecological and social responsibility.
In addition to worries about workplace conditions, more and more of us are worried about the global impact of the clothing industry. As consumer have 'demanded' cheaper; easy-care; stain-resistant; non-iron garments, the processes and chemicals used on our children's clothing has increased. Even those of us avoiding man-made fabrics might be surprised to learn that the production of conventional cotton is one of the most chemically intensive farming operations in the world. Cotton grown in this way uses 25% of the world's insecticides and over 10% of the world's pesticides, having severe and long-term impacts on the soil, water courses and the environment as a whole.
Ecooutfitters use only 100% certified organic cotton, free from chemicals so not only are they better for the planet, they're a better choice to have next to your child's skin.
Natural cotton allows your child's skin to breath, helps regulate body temperatures in hot sweaty classrooms and the organic cotton has no chemical residues which can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema.
We tried out some uniform items from Ecooutfitters and my initial observation was of the obvious quality and weight to the fabric over cheap, mass produced items. The fabric to the cotton skirt and pinafore was thick and feels very durable, I'm sure she'll outgrow it before it wears out. They are beautifully made with little details like ribbon trims and internal adjustable waistbands for a comfortable fit.
The skirt costs from £14.95 and polo shirts £8.95 and whilst I appreciate it's more than you'd pay in a supermarket or discount retailer, given what's been said above I don't think it's a huge price to pay. It's certainly going to last a lot lot longer than the cheap stuff you can pick up for a couple of quid.
Check out their whole range of uniform items including polo shirts, trousers, pinafores, skirts and PE kit.
Disclosure: Thank you to Ecooutfitters for sending us a selection of uniform items to sample.