Once we have finalised the design of our little uniforms it is time to find the raw materials that can bring them to life. We chose materials that align with our own values. It is important to us that our little uniforms last for years of imaginative play whilst being comfortable to wear, authentic in their design and made in a sustainable way.
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. 240gsm* cotton twill is not what typically goes into your high street costume but, it was important to us to use natural fibres that are breathable and comfortable enough to be worn all day as well as robust enough for regular laundering over the years.
Our supplier is based in Europe and they manufacture cotton for industrial workwear used throughout Europe. The cottons 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. The first test we start with, we check for colour durability and shrinkage. We have lost an awful lot of fabrics at this early stage but there is no point in moving forward with fabric if it is not going to stand up to repeated laundering. It takes 40 wash cycles before we pass a fabric. You can read more about caring for your costume here.
Once a fabric has passed the initial tests it is on to flammability testing. 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; 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.
Buy once, buy well
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.
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/