I’ve recently discovered a company that seemed to connect lots of little dots similar to my own journey of trying to reduce the amount of PVC and Phthalates that surround my family. That unique company is called Little Inkers Alternative Naturals and they are so much more than a company that makes t-shirts ~ although they have managed to produce some of the most adorable t-shirts ever (!). Little Inkers concept is so much deeper and the founder Airiane has shared similar light bulb moments that have launched her to produce amazing and sustainable clothing.
Little Inkers founder Airiane was a mom doing everything right; proud supporter of breast feeding, making organic baby food, avoiding painted toys because of lead, plastics, so when her son was born with vanishing testicle syndrome she began to research what could have caused this. After watching the CBC documentary The Disappearing Male, she was dismayed to think his exposure to PVC and Phthalates could have attributed to this syndrome. What could have caused her son to have exposure to these chemicals/types of plastic that is known to cause testicular problems? Inks. Airiane’s partner had been working in production print shops using a type of ink called Plastisol ink for years. After watching The Disappearing Male and spending countless hours researching male genital birth defects, the founder of Little Inkers was led to believe there’s a link between her partner printing with the Plastisol inks containing PVC/Phthalates and her son’s birth defects. Read more of Airiane’s story via her blog.
Have you ever thought about PVC and Phthalates existing in our clothing? In your children’s clothing? I certainly hadn’t so I find the Little Inkers concept, mission, and final product very inspiring. They make their garments from sustainable fibers (bamboo, organic cotton, and soon to arrive ~ hemp) and each piece is hand printed using inks free from PVC and Phthalates. This conception and story of this company is inspiring – but the finished product can only be described as cool! Check out a few of my favorite designs. The tree lungs print is awesome and a cool way to make a statement for kids of any age – adults included!
Little Inkers has recently moved to manufacturing their own garments in Canada and hand prints them in their own custom screen-printing company called Greenprint Studio. Their Greenprint company only prints with inks that are free from PVC and Phthalates as well as soy and orange oil processing products. The evolution of the children’s line Little Inkers Alternative Naturals fills a niche in the infant and children’s market by offering natural clothing printed with cute slogans promoting breastfeeding, attachment parenting, homeschooling, gay parenting, and political awareness.
I really appreciate the time Airiane spent with back and forth emails sharing how you can find out if the clothes your purchase for your children contain PVC or phthalates. First you can ask questions and although it’s a very frustrating undertaking to ask the clerk at Zellers, Walmart, GAP, Old Navy, etc. if their clothing (or any merchandise) is free of PVC and phthalates ~ it is important. From my experience of never having a clerk able to answer my questions about stainless steel quality with water bottles in these stores ~ I can tell you that employees are simply not given this level of information. I’m sure the president of these stores cannot answer these questions! So what are some other clues to look for? Price is a big one because safer dyes and inks cost more for printing and we know that bamboo and organic textiles are more expensive. Plastic patches or appliques, sparkle decals, and team numbers, etc. can often contain PVC and phthalates. Where is the clothing made? If it’s produced in Europe their laws about PVC and phthalates are much more strict than other countries so this is a good sign. I know I’ve given more than one employee a very large headache when leaving their store, but the more customers asking these questions, more will filter to store managers and owners. If the public starts demanding safer products for our children that is PVC and Phthalate free, supply and demand will increase, inevitably driving every-one’s cost down.
I am very excited to have found Little Inkers and am inspired by their personal journey that has evolved into this special company. Finding their store has given me more knowledge and forced me to think (again!) about things that are touching my children. Since first looking at their site a few months ago, I’ve stopped dressing my kids in clothes and shoes that have plastic appliques, thinking about what is on their clothes and touching their skin. I will start asking more questions and demanding more from the stores I frequent. I will also continue to feel good about my choices to not buy cheaply made clothing and think more about how and where it’s being manufactured and produced. Purchasing special items that have been so thoroughly researched and created deserves my business and I appreciate the research and emotion behind the Little Inkers brand. If you are interested in purchasing a onsie in the Little Inkers designs you can visit Grass Roots online or for t-shirts, yoga pant inquires of any size or design, simply contact the Little Inkers site and find out how to order.
Related Articles: Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary