Back to Basics for B2S: Part 2

Shopping the local mall for green options

Who doesn’t like to shop at the mall?!? The smell of cinnabuns wafting on the air, the piped in musack, the perfectly temperate climate-controlled environment, and the electric hum of a thousand shoppers bustling from store to store, arms heavily laden with bags emblazoned with trendy store names. 

Okay, so going to the mall, isn't really like a scene from an '80's movie. Usually, it can feel more like elbowing through the masses, and panic sweats becasue you're on a time line, or can't find those black pants that were supposed to be in stock. It can be totally overwhelming with sale signs sparkling in your eyes like flash bulbs, and amazingly put together outfits on models that you know will look utterly ridiculous on you.

But the mall is also the mecca where back to school gear is found, and many parents are, perhaps unwillingly, dragged by their trend-savvy kids to make that seasonal pilgrimage in order to pick up some colourful tees, some great hoodies, and a few pairs of pants. So what do you do when you want to make greener choices but still find yourself trekking out to the mall for back to school gear?

h&M conscious gear for girls

You shop consciously. Literally.

Getting Greener At Your Local Mall

Being aware of how the clothes you and your family wear are made and where the textiles come from is a big step in shrinking your ecological footprint. By choosing to purchase clothing that is organic, or sustainable, or consciously produced, you are sending a very pointed message to fast fashion. You're saying that you want to see more sustainable, more organic, more fair trade, fair wage, and safe working environments. You want to see fewer sweatshops, less pesticide laden fabrics, and less irresponsible manufacturing techniques. Phew! Who knew that making such a small change could say so much??

In my last article on back to school gear, I talked organic basics. And they rock, they really do. They’re soft and come in great colours and styles, and use way less chemicals than their conventional counterparts.

But what if you don’t have access to organic lines of clothing or feel you can’t afford to invest in them, or would like to add and diversify the organic pieces you’ve already purchased for your child?

Drumroll please….

I give you conscious clothing.

Conscious Clothing Is Green, Too!

Okay, here’s the thing. Conscious clothing isn’t necessarily all organic. It can include sustainable manmade fabrics, natural fabrics, and even conventionally grown textiles. Typically, what makes this clothing different than your average t-shirt is that the are manufactured in facilities that promote safer working practices and fair wages. It may also mean using more eco-friendly measures to produce the product, like green energy, less water waste, and recycling.

And they’re attainable, as in, at your local mall. Your kids will get a say in what they wear, and let's face it, every kid has an opinion on these things! And they’re affordable. And you know what? You can still feel good about your green choices. 

Here's just a sample of stores in your local mall offering conscious/sustainable products. This year, back to school shopping is going to be a little more fun!

H&M’s Conscious CollectionI know, when you think H&M you think of that huge store with a million different pieces that can sometimes seem totally so trendy that you can’t even. But you know what? They’ve got a whole conscious line that they’re pretty serious about. Not only are they working toward using more sustainable fabrics, organic cottons, and recycled elements, they’re also committed to ensuring the fair treatment of its factory workers. And when you’re sick of your clothes, they even provide a garment collecting program for you to donate your old duds to (which is a great place for that crop top you bought because it was 2.99 and have never worn once. Not even to try it on).

Roots, as most of us Canadians already know, Roots is home to fantastically cozy sweats, hoodies, and flannels. But what you might not know is that Roots is also committed to fair working practices at their facilities. They also seek out suppliers who shares Roots' goals of minimizing environmental impact in manufacturing processes, are starting to use more recycled textiles, and sustainable fabrics

American Apparel Yes, that store, with the weirdly posed manequins wearing strange colour combinations and not a lot of clothing. They have a kids basics collection that features easy-to-wear leggings, sweats, and tees. Better yet, American Apparel makes all their clothing in the United states. They also pay their workers fair wages and seek to lower their carbon footprint by recycling their manufacturing waste and utilitzing solar energy. 

A big thanks to H&M Canada for letting us check out these adorable Conscious basics! They're in stores now for Fall 2016.