March 2, 2021

SCHOOL UNIFORM + BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES

When I got the list of everything we needed for school, I suddenly felt powerless. After years of being so careful about the impact of what we buy, and of understanding the negative impact of clothing – I “had” to buy multiple new polyester pieces with no idea of the supply chain.

With my first child starting school during the pandemic, second hand uniform sales were not an option at his school and I had to figure out an alternative route to lower the human and environment impact of sending him to school.

The real takeaway here is ASK QUESTIONS!

I decided to ask the school a lot of questions about what was possible. Even if nothing changes for you in an area, you might be part of things changing down the line. Explain why you care and see what workarounds you can find, uniform or any area. Yes it can be uncomfortable to be the one who asks if something can be done differently, but you’re not doing it to be difficult, you’re asking to bring needed change. So ask away!

For Clayton I first dug into what was listed by the school. Called the companies they suggested, looked at what they made clothes with and where. It wasn’t awful, there was some idea of supply chain but I knew I wanted to be a bit more sure on sourcing and materials. Sadly second hand wasn’t an option in 2020. So a few tips for starting out:

  • Ask about second hand sales: This is probably the best way to give uniform a longer life and spend less without using more resources!
  • Check local charity shops: sometimes local charity shops will have uniform basics or even specific pieces for local schools. This will be an ongoing thing – if I see something in a larger size I’m grab it before it’s needed!
  • Ask if there are facebook groups or online reselling options for your school.
  • See if you can start something! If your school doesn’t have anything, ask if you can start something! A google doc with available pieces and email address? A second hand sale? So much is possible!

HERE’S WHAT WE DID!

UNIFORM BASICS

SHOES

GYM KIT

OUTDOOR SPORT SHOES

SCHOOL COAT

LUNCH BAGS

  • Used via eBay: much as I wanted a pricey eco option, this was a place I wanted them to fit in, and to save money. I let them each choose a £1-3 second hand lunch bag with a TV show theme.

LUNCH CONTAINERS

SCHOOL COLOURED SWEATER + GYM SHIRT

I found some of the school coloured items hard to find done well so I searched high and low for non standard colours I needed. I found OrBasics and Mini Boden most helpful for basics in a range of colours.


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