One of the things that makes out little uniforms different from what you will find in stores is the fabric that we use in each of our designs. We are not fans of the polyesters, and other synthetic materials that are typically found in costumes- they are not a sustainable material and they are not comfortable to wear for long periods. Also, they do not stand up to washing and drying very well so the costume itself will not last for long.
Instead we use cotton twill in each of our little uniforms. The cotton is a medium weight* and is incredibly durable. Our supplier is based in Hungary and they manufacture cotton for workwear used throughout Europe. So, the cotton in our children’s designs is used in the grown-up versions as well. Our cottons are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified which means they do not contain nasty chemicals and are harmless to human health.
Before we put any fabric to use in a design it must go through a series of tests including lab tests for Fire Safety. We have our fabrics tested in a lab in the UK. Costumes are covered by the EU Toy Safety Directive and there are strict limits on how fast a fabric can burn before it can be used in dress- up wear. Ironically, it is much easier to pass these tests with synthetic fabrics. The regulations are only concerned with how fast a fabric burns and plastic burns slowly but turns into a hot, sticky, melty, smelly mess. Each fabric must be tested separately as things like weave, weight and dye can affect the burn rate. It is a costly and time-consuming process, and it means that we cannot quickly switch between fabric suppliers if they run out. Some of the other challenges we face include the volatility of cotton pricing due to weather conditions. However, we are determined to continue using natural, sustainable fabrics when we can- it is just part of what matters to us as a business.
Some of the other things we test for include colourfastness and shrinkage. Each little uniform goes through 40 cycles of washing at 40°C and low heat tumble drying to make sure that they stand up to a lot of use and maintain their vibrant colours and softness. We recommend that you wash your costumes at as low a temperature as possible to reduce their environmental impact. You can read more about caring for your costume here.
We hope your children enjoy their little uniform for years to come and we encourage you hand them down, pass them on or donate them to local schools, preschools, or charities once your children have outgrown them. We passionately believe that it is better to buy once and buy well and that purchasing something that will last is the best way to reduce our environmental impact.
*Cotton weight varies from 195gsm to 280gsm (grams per square meter) depending on the design and is a 3/1 weave.
EU Toy Safety Directive: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/toys/safety_en
Oeko-Tex Standard 100: https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/our-standards/standard-100-by-oeko-tex
Intertek UK: https://www.intertek.com/uk/