Baby clothes rentals: the new way to kit out your newborn?
As parents look for ways to sustainably raise their kids, baby clothes rental services are on the rise. Here are the companies to know...
Baby clothing is a real culprit: kids on average move up seven sizes (!) in their first couple of years, and baby clothes are no doubt a significant contributor to the hundreds of thousands of tons of clothing that end up in landfill every year.
Once upon a time, parents would never have considered putting their precious babes in a secondhand outfit, but now, pre-loved clothing for kids - especially of the designer variety - is a booming business. When they do buy new, conscientious parents actively seek out ethically produced, organic clothes (baby brand Mori is a favourite) as well as anything made from recycled materials, like in Alex and Alexa's new range, Oii.
John Lewis recently launched a hand-me-down initiative, encouraging parents to give items like coats a second, and third, lease of life with organic cotton labelling inside, so the new owner can easily cross out the name of the old one.
Baby clothes rental initiatives are also having a moment: these subscription box services rather ingeniously let parents rent a selection of baby items which they can swap for the next size up when baby grows too big for them (plus, they arrive as fun subscription gift packages). You'll also notice brands experimenting with roomier silhouettes and adjustable designs for kids, introducing pieces that a baby or child can wear for far longer than a mere three months.
Here are the brands to know if you're keen to try renting baby clothes - and other items, like maternity gear.
The baby rental companies to know
Founded by Eve Kekeh - who was inspired by her own experiences of having a massive age gap between herself and her youngest sibling - Bundlee is partnered with the NCT and has clothes to rent for toddlers up to 24 months.
Choose from girls', boys' or unisex clothing bundles, which contain a mix of bodysuits, sleepsuits, onesies, tops, cardigans, jumpers, joggers and leggings, all ethically made in Britain and free from any chemicals. The service is £24 monthly - and the clothes are designed to be worn for everything, from trying that first sweet potato puree to soft play session mornings (parents, don't fear: the clothes are insured against stains and normal wear and tear).
Once your little one outgrows that first bundle, you can swap it for the next size up. And pat yourself on the back for not sending anything to landfill - and helping to increase the lifespan of clothes by up to 400%.
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Belles and Babes
Belles and Babes not only provides organic baby clothing for everyday and special occasion outfits for weddings and parties, you can also hire a maternity capsule wardrobe from the site (£20 a month for six pieces of clothing) - the ideal way to get through your nine months in style, without buying items you'll wear only a few times in your life.
Baby clothing hire goes up to age 12 months, and features boy, girl and unisex bundles from brands like Pigeon Organics, Little Green Radicals and Mori. You'll get 18 items a month for £35 - each bundle is worth up to £400.
Edinburgh-based Graceful Changes not only offers baby rental parcels with everything from sleepsuits to outerwear from beloved organic kidswear brands like Frugi, Kite and Picalilly (as well as handmade labels like Biau-Biau) - you'll get 15 items a month for £30 - they also offer clothing for children up to the age of three.
Using the company's MyTurn library, parents can customise their package if they like, as well as selecting seasonal items like beach hats or snowsuits. Formalwear pieces for babies are also available to rent.
Started by working mum of two, Sarah, The Little Rental Company offers organic clothing options for babies to save you space, cash and to help minimise environmental harm. You'll find clothes for kids up to two years, in boy, girl and unisex packages. Each bundle includes 21 pieces of clothing, for £42 a month - a mix of bodysuits, sleepsuits, onesies/rompers, tops, bottoms/skirts, shorts/dresses and jumpers/cardigans - all items are organic and Fairtrade.
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The clothing companies that grow with your little one
There are lots of ways to make children's clothing more sustainable, and Petit Pli, founded by aeronautical engineer Ryan Mario Yasin, is a brilliant example. Not only are the garments made from recycled water bottles, they're designed to fit children from nine months to four years - the idea for the brand was born after Ryan gave his new nephew a clothing item that the baby had already outgrown.
Choose from a pullover, bottoms or a two piece set in a range of colours - the pleated garments are all rainproof, ripstop, lightweight, breathable and feature cool detailing like reflective tabs, expandable pockets and adjustable tabs and elastics. Plus, their monofibre construction means they're recyclable too.
Luna and River
While not expressly designed as a grow-with-your-child brand, the relaxed silhouettes and unisex colour scheme of Luna and River's kid's clothes - made from organic cotton and linen fabrics - means they can last a lot longer than traditional baby styles. The roomy pieces include sleeveless and short-sleeved rompers, oversized tees, bubble trousers and culottes - buy up and these will suit your little one for a couple of years.
US brand Snugbub has a range of expandable sleepsuits which have adjustable and detachable booties and adjustable sleeves, so each piece can suit baby from their first day to their first birthday. The bodysuits are all unisex and made from 100% organic, breathable cotton.