“Sustainable children’s clothing” – what does that mean?

“Sustainable children’s clothing” – what does that mean?

My daughter is currently plaguing me with endless questions, such as, “Where does light actually come from?“ or “What is plastic made of?” And even if I do actually know the answer, I often find it difficult to explain it so that even a 5-year-old can really understand.

When we explain things on this blog, we always have the goal that even the littlest ones should be able to understand – and ideally find the answer so good that they want to relay to the others in day care or school. It’s a way we can help make the world a little more knowledgeable. And knowledge makes us strong. We firmly believe that.

Do not use more than can be regrown

So let us try: When we say that our clothing is developed and produced “sustainably,” it means that we as a company take care to put as little strain on the environment as possible and to preserve it. We take care not to use more than can be regrown so that the next generations have the same opportunities in the future as we do now. Concretely, this means conserving raw materials and natural resources such as wood, water, fossil fuel, or coal. But also pollution of the environment – through emissions or toxins, for example – must be prevented. That’s all part of what we mean by “sustainable development.” We want to preserve the world for our children and take good care of it.

«What exactly makes namuk a sustainable children’s brand?”

I personally have been part of the namuk team since early 2023 and put this question to our founder, Franz, right away in my first week. His answer began with, “I have to say first of all that we are not perfect, but we do the best we can.” That made a deep impression on me because I am of the conviction that when it comes to this topic, it’s especially important to be upfront and transparent, and not engage in greenwashing.

DEFINITION OF GREENWASHING: The act or practice of making a product, policy, activity, etc. appear to be more environmentally friendly or less environmentally damaging than it really is. (Source: merriam-webster.com)

So we really are far from perfect, and yet we wholeheartedly endeavor to make a difference and protect nature. We want to explain here what exactly we are doing.

Our clothing lasts longer

We believe that we can make a big difference by producing children’s clothing that lasts longer – because with every stage of production, we use resources and energy. With every piece of clothing that lasts longer and can be worn longer, we thus save resources. So it’s always more sustainable when we can wear a jacket for three years and don’t need three different jackets. And how do we do it? We use very special materials.

Confirmed by over 500 parents

We make no compromises on materials

We ensure the extraordinary longevity of our clothing by working with extraordinarily high-quality materials. That is rather rare these days, especially in the children’s clothing market. Many brands normally try to save money on costs in production so they can later sell the product for a cheaper price. For children’s clothing in particular, many people have adopted a mindset that the clothes shouldn’t cost too much because children grow so the clothing won’t be worn very long. What is not considered is the chance to have a piece of clothing worn by multiple children.

We firmly believe that is misguided, because it’s precisely our little explorers who need high-quality clothing that can survive their wildest ideas and adventures. That’s why we insist on the very same high-quality materials that are used in adult clothing. We invest a great deal of time on testing materials. Our products are tested in labs, and additionally are tested by a select crew of little wild things until the clothes are ready for market. In the picture below, you can see four pairs of pants from different materials compared to find out which can withstand the little adventurers’ capers.

Nachhaltige Kinderkleidung - Bild von Testhosen

If, during this process, we find out that the children aren’t happy with the products, the materials don’t feel good, or they don’t pass the kids’ tests, then the material doesn’t stand a chance with us.

Abrasion resistance is just one of the many issues we pay attention to. The water column is also very important to us. A high water column means that our rain and snow clothing is waterproof. However, at the same time, it must also be breathable, because kids outside in nature are usually active and, naturally, sweat. That moisture from inside the clothes must also find its way out. That, too, is very important to us when selecting materials.

What makes our products different than many others?

One example is how we work with Cordura in our Dash outdoor pants. Cordura is a textile fiber that is up to 15 times stronger than steel. To save on costs, it’s often only used as knee protection, but we completely incorporate it throughout the pants – making them practically indestructible.

We use PrimaLoft®-Bio™ for our Bio Fleece collection and the insulation in our snow clothing. It is the first biodegradable insulation material and textile made 100% of recycled synthetic fibers. The fibers are purposefully modified so that with the help of microbes, they decompose at a faster rate in oceans or landfills. It’s a process in which they return to materials found in nature, such as water, CO2, methane, biomass, or humus. With normal plastic, that’s not possible, because remains of the material linger and harm nature. Using it is a way that each of us can
make a significant difference, because we prevent microplastics from winding up in wastewater from the laundry – and thus in lakes, rivers, and seas.

PrimaLoft®-Bio™ is also integrated in all our outdoor jackets. It’s lower maintenance than down, which is commonly used, and is easier to wash. Moreover, it doesn’t lose its warming effect – even when it’s wet.

For our new Linn hiking trousers, which you can also go swimming in, we have opted for a material that is made from 100% recycled nylon - such as old fishing nets.

In addition, we’ve switched to a coating without fluorine (PFC – the abbreviation for per- and polyfluorinated chemicals) for our water-repellent materials. Because when fluorine winds up in the water cycle, it can’t be broken down in nature and becomes concentrated there after a time. By forgoing fluorine, the water-beading effect is not as strong and the outer material of the jacket can absorb small amounts of water. But kids still stay dry because the membrane beneath it does not let any water through. Here, too, we must resort to higher costs to ensure a high water column for the materials – but doing so is a great kindness to nature.

A second chance for your clothing

Because we ensure that our clothes last significantly longer, they only become unusable when kids get bigger and grow out of them. But we’ve also come up with a solution for that: Clothes that don’t fit anymore can be sent back to namuk and, after we’ve cleaned them and undertaken any necessary mending, they can get back into circulation. That’s why we launched our own ReUse program. The platform makes it very easy for adventurous kids to pass their outgrown namuk clothes on to other friends of the owl, and even receive 20% of the original purchase price back.

Nachhaltige Kinderkleidung

We also offer a repair service. If something does happen to get broken or torn on one of your items of namuk clothing, you can gladly let us know and we’ll look together at what we can to do fix it again. We currently work with a local repair service that specializes in outdoor clothing.

We turn scraps into something unique

Fabric remnants are left over from the production of our clothes. Upcycling is deeply embedded in namuk’s DNA. We’ve always made the pockets of our overalls out of scraps from the older collections. And in the meantime, entirely new styles emerge from leftover material that otherwise would wind up in the trash. You can find our Upcycled products here.

Nachhaltige Kinderkleidung - Upcycling

Collections designed for several years

We’re also committed to longevity in the designs of our collections. Our design and product team is mindful of making sure all the colors of the different collections can be combined. This is another way we make sure the enjoyment you get from your clothing lasts as long as possible and that you can easily mix and match older siblings’ clothes with new pieces, for example.

All our products are conceived with the idea that they it should be possible to use them all year long. We design the clothing so that with layering, everything can be combined with everything else. We have an inspiring blog post on the subject for you, which you can find here.

Best quality for the little adventurers

Throughout the development of all our products, we focus on the needs of children. Because we don’t produce clothing for adults but exclusively for children, we ask ourselves with every decision what is most important for little explorers on their adventures out there in nature. We aim for the right cut to give perfect freedom of movement; or, we consider, for example, what part of the pants needs to be able to handle the most or where a seam could be irritating. That’s the reason the inside of our ski pants, for example, is reenforced with Cordura. And for our outdoor pants, we place the seams so that when kneeling in a sandbox or on the floor of the forest, they won’t be annoying or tug or tear. For other common trouble spots too, such as zippers or buttons, we make no compromises in the selection of materials.

Nachhaltige Kinderkleidung - Langlebigkeit

Uncompromising where it matters

For this article, I spoke with different team members, and one thing always became clear fast: We are uncompromising – in every way it matters. Even if we could save money on a few points, that’s not an option for us if we would then risk our products not lasting as long. If we have the chance, for example, to cause less harm to our planet’s water by using PrimaLoft®-Bio™, then that’s what we do, even if it ultimately leads to higher costs.

We know this puts us in a minority in the clothing market, and for this reason, we often can’t compete on price. But we believe that in you, we have found people – and we can find more – who want to make a difference, together with us. We can take a stand against fast-fashion culture, which isn’t any less damaging for the environment than the much-criticized air traffic – only in the clothing industry, it’s talked about much less. Let us do something good for nature. It’s our most precious home.

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