Wednesday, January 1, 2014

globalization issues - baby related

The arrival day of the LittleOne approaches and I find myself more and more often browsing through baby related websites. Compared to most other parents-to-be we know we are not well prepared yet - which means we don't think that the LittleOne will need a lot of stuff in the beginning. When it comes to clothing we did not buy anything new so far, but we got a lot of things from friends and family, even a lot of stuff that I was wearing as a baby. We are quite well equipped in this sector and there are just 2-4 things we'd like to buy new. For buying new clothes we have 2 requirements: they should be organic and they should be made in Australia. Even though Australia has quite a bit of cotton and esp. wool production, it is difficult to find clothing made from Australian raw products. So we would be fine with raw materials coming from China or India if they have the labels sustainable, organic and fair-trade.
Spending half of this afternoon browsing the web for products fitting our ideas, I found tons of websites offering organic baby clothing. But most of them are just retailers selling several different brands, so for each brand I looked up the company and by this about 90% of the content had to be ruled out, because the company was either in the US or it was just Australian-owned, which does not say much about where their products are produced (an most of them don't tell).
A while ago I talked to a colleague about the difficulty of finding organic clothes in general and she recommended to have a look on the Etsy website. You can certainly find a lot of great stuff there, but again many sellers are based in the US and I see the positive sides of buying organic shrinking a lot, when I have to have it shipped from the US. I already have issues with having stuff shipped from the other side of Australia.
The same problem now occurs for my baby-shopping plans. I'd love to support local businesses, esp. in the textile sector as it is such a dumping price market with all the issues that come with that. But living on this huge island does not seem to mean that a lot of products are Australian made. Instead, everything is shipped in from all around the world (sometimes leading to an exaggerated increased price tag) and the local producers are quite hard to find if they exist at all. "Made in Australia" is a tag very positively promoted in the media, but you can find it mostly on veggies or tourist products. The eco textile industry seems to have only a few small sprouts so far - or if there are larger companies in this sector they are hiding very well from my Google skills.
If there are any readers out there who have good suggestions for Australian-made organic clothing, please speak up! I'd be more than happy to invest my salary back in the country I currently live in.

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