How we select our brands
By carefully selecting brands that reflect our values, we want to provide you with a collection of clothes that are beautiful and good quality, but also emphasize kindness — to people, to the earth and to your kids.
We've drawn on Emmanuelle's 20 years of experience in the field of sustainability to identify the criteria we use to select brands. The idea is to create a high bar so we all can feel good about the clothes we're bringing into the world. We're doing this work because we care about the environmental and social impact of clothes, but also because we think you care, too. We've done the research so you don't have to.
1. Made with natural materials — and without harmful chemicals
We only sell clothes made of natural materials — those that are renewable (can be replenished by nature) and biodegradable. Materials like wool, cotton, or hemp that have not been treated with harmful chemicals. We also consider the environmental and social impact of the material itself — how were the sheep raised? What land management practices do the sheep farmers practice? It’s often hard to find this level of information, but if a company choses to disclose it, it’s a sign that they are thinking holistically about their impact. There are also material certifications like the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or Oeko-Tex, which all consider the environmental and social implications of the materials and how they’re produced.
2. Ethically manufactured
The people behind the clothes are just as important as the materials. Are the rights of those who make the clothing respected? Are they paid a fair wage? Nobody wants to dress their children in clothes made by people who weren't treated well. Underpayment in the garment industry is a well-documented and widespread problem. At the same time, this information, too, is often hard to find. We look for brands that make an explicit commitment to fair wages and responsible manufacturing. We select brands that have chosen to manufacture their clothes locally, in countries that have strong labor laws. This shows a commitment to both the quality, to their communities, and to treating people with respect — even when it's going to cost more to make the garment.
3. Good quality
Clothes that are mass produced are made cheaply and are not meant to last. In fact, the fast fashion industry relies on this truth. At Bigelow Lane, we take a different approach. When selecting clothes, we consider the quality of the material and the craftsmanship of the garment. How are the seams constructed? How thick is the material? How soft and durable is the fleece? Can the clothes stand up to tough and fun play? We want the clothes we sell to last many seasons and be passed on to siblings or friends. That's why they're often designed to be cuffed so they can grow with your child. That's also why we have a "gently loved" collection of clothing — to make our clothes more accessible to everyone and ensure they live many lives.