Great Options For Children's Clothing In Norther California

By Clinton Arnhold

People are discovering that the state of children's clothing in Northern California that is sold on the common market has become quite dismal. These products are of poor quality materials that shrink and fade color over everything in the washer. The mere fact that the seams are so loosely sewn that they easily pull apart is enough to make one wary of these mediocre apparel brands.

Thankfully, there are responsible companies in the region who are producing quality products worth consideration. Some of the qualities that make them so great are:

- Children love to wear hand-block printed and hand-loomed finest quality cotton. This clothing has been manufactured in an ethical environment by artisans who use only the best natural dyes

- This apparel can be passed down to younger ones when outgrown because they are stylish, casual, and made to be durable.

- The prints used on this clothing are original, and comes in both muted and vibrant colors

- These finely constructed clothes are handmade using heritage textiles, guaranteeing a natural hypoallergenic quality. The range of materials are created by the hands of artisans and include silk, wool, and wholesome cotton.

One especially beautiful heritage textile is decorated with a pen or "kalam" and is called Kalamkari. Kalamkari got its origin in India in the 13th century, and is made by a very complicated process involving 17 unique steps of fabric decorating. Kalamkari is primary manufactured today in the southeastern State of Andhra Pradesh in India, by families of weavers who learned the craft from previous generations.

The all natural dyes used in these clothes are created using plant stems, flowers, bark, leaves, minerals and choice metals. Each article of apparel is washed as many as 20 times after dying, before the fabric is deemed steadfast and ready for sale.

- Much of the apparel is decorated using the more than 250 year old Indian tradition of hand-block printing. Wooden blocks with an imprinted relief design are loaded with the desired color and then pressed firmly against the taut cloth. This is a painstaking, labor intensive and slow process that generates some amazingly artistic unique patterns.

- What could be nicer than t-shirts that are 100% fair trade and certified organic? Organic cotton uses no pesticides or synthetic fertilizer while it is grown, and GMO (genetically modified seeds) are ever used. All weeds are removed by hand during the growing process, and a fine balance between insects and their natural predators is maintained by using only healthy soil.

The World Trade Organization's definition of fair trade is a business partnership based in open dialog, mutual respect and full transparency, in order to promote better equality in the practices of international trading. Buyers pay an amount that is adequate enough that the artisans and cotton producers can sustain an acceptable livelihood. In exchange, consumers get quality products while encouraging positive social change.

There are options for high quality, unique clothes for children.

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