Our tips to explain ethical fashion to the kids. "Tell me daddy, mommy: if I want to take care of the planet, how shall I do it?"

First of all, little ones, it is not primarily the planet that must be saved, but humanity. And to save humanity, we must start by protecting our planet.

Our kids are fully aware that our planet needs help. Thanks to awareness raising in schools and in the media, children are asking questions and this is good news!

They play an important role in getting our planet on the right track, and it starts every morning when they wake up and get dressed!

So why is it important to dress children consciously and what language to use when we tell them about the life cycle of their clothes?

To those looking for inspiration, The Extra Smile shares some ideas on how to approach fashion with little green warriors!

And as my grandmother said: "Good habits start young!" Thanks granny!

 1. "Tell me, who made my clothes?"

Ask your little one what "childhood" means.

The answers will probably be along the lines of having fun, laughing, school, homework, friends, holidays and free time. They are unlikely to say "work".

It is essential that you make sure that the production of your and your kids’ clothes does not involve child labour.

So yes, be a detective and search the web for information on the brand ... it's worth it, right? All the children of the world have the right to a decent childhood. 

Curious to know who made our clothes? We are completely transparent. Click here.

Also, Fashion Revolution published a worksheet for kids aged 7-11, which is a great excercise to do during these times of confinement.

 2. Tell me mom, why don't we wear leaves or vegetables?

To combat the evil of the current generation i.e. overconsumption, there are plenty of options: recycling or reusing our old clothes are amongst.

So don’t hesitate to be innovative and set up creative workshops with your children. "Throwing away your old ragged nightgown?" Certainly not! We're going to transform it into a doll! "Your stained old T-shirt?" Nope: a new ball for the next indoor game!"

For those who want to indulge in the pleasure of shopping from time to time, there exists an abundance of innovative natural fibers made from plants (hemp, nettle fiber), tree bark (vegetable leather, lenpur, lyocell), corn (ingeo fiber) or fruits (banana fiber, and pineapple-based leather)!

This month, The Extra Smile has chosen to highlight milk fiber, which is an excellent alternative to synthetic fibers made from cow milk. Yes! We can now make clothes from cow milk! To learn more, read our article on this amazing fiber.

Our latest creation in milk fiber: our Romy dress.

3. "Daddy, what does plastic taste like?" 

Tell your little green warriors that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil. Emphasize that certain materials are more polluting than others and focus on polyester (to learn more about this synthetic fiber, see our blog)!

Little reminder: each time you wash polyester clothes (240 million tonnes are produced each year), micro-plastics are released and end up in our oceans.

A little message for your children? Here is the simple explanation given to Manon, my 7-year old daughter: "My darling, polyester is like plastic. If I buy and wash this outfit, thousands of tiny bits of this plastic will be released into the water of the washing machine. This water is then discharged into the sewers which themselves end up in the oceans. And what’s in the oceans? Fish ... and what do you eat regularly at home and in the canteen? Oh yes !! Fish ... So if you want this polyester outfit, you may very well find it on your plate and eat it! Yuk Yuk Yuk!" Result: no new polyester outfit! Yes! Mom: 1, ocean pollution: 0

At the same time, let's be honest, it is very difficult to have a 0% polyester wardrobe… This fiber is everywhere! In the seams, buttons, zippers ... The solution: use a guppyfriend bag to wash them! It encloses micro-plastics and therefore reduces the plastic in our fish.

4. Tell me, what does toxic mean?

As parents, we care about what our children eat and the circle of friends in which they move. That’s perfectly normal! What they wear every day should also be a concern.

So, first advice: look carefully at the labels of the clothes you buy! You will find all the information you need to make your choice. Today we do it automatically when we buy yogurt or a box of cakes. 

And as with food, if information is missing, it may be because something is wrong with the way the garment was designed. Chemicals may have been used or workers' working conditions may not be human.

Make sure that no toxic dyes were used in the production process.

Toxic dyes can be absorbed through your child's skin and ends up in his or her blood system. This is especially true if your children have sensitive skin.

Introduce a new game with your little darling: decipher the labels together. Small bonus: they will practice reading words and numbers! To spice up the game, ask them to check that you are doing it systematically! If you forget, they will earn the right to give you a pledge! Are you up for the challenge? (Do not hesitate to share with us the pledges that have been allocated to you!)

5. What about all those mountains of old clothes that I saw on TV?

Overconsumption… we have mentioned it already. It’s a real environmental disaster and despite the millions of tons of clothes thrown away each year (sometimes never worn), our habits and our buying urges are difficult to change!

Take it one step at a time (it's a bit like an addiction! We are addicts of compulsive buying !!) and remember what Vivienne Westwood said: "Buy less, choose well, make it last."

As a brand, it may seem strange to advise you to buy less, but there are companies that do not only exist to make a profit and The Extra Smile is one of them. We think that fashion can change and we are part of the #fashionrevolution. 

Tell your children that in Europe, four million tonnes of clothes are thrown away every year! The equivalent of 1600 Olympic swimming pools !!

Our advice to children? Tell your parents to choose sustainable brands, buy less disposable fashion, be creative and save the planet!

And what about The Extra Smile?

  • All our clothes are made with non-toxic or natural dyes.
  • We produce in small quantities to reduce overproduction.
  • We make sure that the legal age (over 18) is respected in the workshops that produce our clothes - Fairsew and Pour Un Sourire d'Enfant. We have audited these two facilities several times in the past two years and have verified that all workers are of legal age.
  • We make clothes that are made to last. Our creations are timeless and non-seasonal so that your child can wear them as long as possible.