Purchasing quality children's clothing can be especially problematic: because kids grow so quickly, it may be difficult to justify spending a lot of money on a high-quality garment.
One children's clothing company called Nula has found a potential solution to this problem by designing modular kids clothes that can be adjusted so they will last for three years, even as children grow.
"Part of making a product responsibly is making something that lasts and isn't just disposable," Erica Murphy, co-founder of Nula, told Earth911. "In order to make kids clothes that last, they need to adjust and grow with the kids."
Nula's other co-founder, Ashlie Kodsy, designed the line of clothing for girls that includes dresses, skirts, shorts, pants and tops that can each be adjusted by adding or removing pieces or tightening or loosening straps. The fun styles fit girls sizes two through eight and will be made in California using organic fabrics and non-toxic dyes.
"I felt drawn to kids clothes as an industry. It's a fun industry," Kodsy told Earth911. "We had been looking at this idea of convertible clothing or modular clothing, even for women, so it made sense that we would carry it over when we decided to do children's wear."
Murphy and Kodsy have been friends since childhood, and they've had the idea of starting a clothing company for a long time. When they determined they wanted to get Nula off the ground, they began considering all the parts of the clothing-making process.
"We started learning about the industry and the typical process that companies go through and the typical formula for kids clothing companies. It involves seeking out the least expensive labor and materials possible and skirting around environmental and labor regulations overseas, and we weren't comfortable with that at all. That wasn't representative of the kind of company we wanted to create," Murphy explained.
Kodsy worked for a company in Los Angeles that did its manufacturing domestically, so she learned firsthand what the process looked like and what the challenges were. The pair knew they wanted to have their designs manufactured in the United States, so they set out to find a manufacturer who understood their concept and was excited about their work, she explained.
Nula's clothing will be manufactured in California, and it will be sustainable in many ways.
"We spent forever, it feels like, trying to attack this problem of longevity and sustainability from every angle. It's easy to pinpoint one aspect of that and harp on it, but we really wanted to do it as well-rounded as possible," Kodsy said.
Consequently, she and Murphy considered even the small details of the clothing-making process like what to do with leftover fabric scraps. Discarded fabric scraps from factories often end up in landfills, creating a large environmental problem, and Kodsy had witnessed this waste firsthand. To prevent that kind of waste at Nula, that extra fabric will be sent to a quilt maker in Missouri who will use the material to make quilts and patchwork tote bags.
As a result of an in-depth planning process, Nula clothing will be durable and sustainable. Click through to see more of Nula's garments.
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