fairechild is pioneering a new future for children’s outerwear. Sustainable fashion designer Tabitha Osler is on a mission with the simple goal of developing clothing that helps rather than harms the earth.
Tabitha has an acute awareness of the urgent change needed in the fashion industry with relations to its negative effects on the environment. This, amplified by her entry into motherhood, is forefront of mind as she reflects on the effects of climate change on our children’s’ ability to live in a world with access to fresh water, bounties of food, and natural resources. The social and environmental impacts of fast fashion coupled with climate change exposes a serious gap between consumer habits and responsible stewardship of the Earth.
Tabitha aims to connect children with their environment and give them an opportunity to not only respect, but fall in love with the natural world. Her design challenge is to create waterproof garments that allow children to be outdoors – everyday, all day, whatever the weather – in the most transparent way possible.
Tabitha began this journey in November 2016. After witnessing blatant disregard for the protection of the environment, Tabitha knew that she wanted to do things differently and that if she wanted to radicalize the industry she had to start at the source; textiles. Her goal was to find a fabric that was renewable and diverted resources from landfills while protecting the wearer from the elements.
The first fabrics she looked at were renewable, decomposable textiles like organic linen and hemp. The drawback was that even when waxed, neither would ever be truly 100% waterproof. Further investigation led Tabitha to innovative products such as fabric made from fruit skins, Amazonian natural rubber and leather made from mushroom caps. Unfortunately, while these products solved a design problem, they didn’t solve Tabitha’s – to create waterproof, breathable outerwear for children.
Tabitha was also concerned about landfills and the end of life of the garment. Taking the lead from the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and the natural world, Tabitha wanted a material that would be endlessly reusable to ensure it didn’t join the millions of tonnes of textile waste in North American landfills.
Being one determined boss lady, Tabitha eventually found her answer at the Sustainable Angle Fashion Expo in the UK where she discovered Sympatex, a German company creating a 100% waterproof fabric manufactured from PET bottles. The fabric was comprised of three layers and was 100% waterproof, windproof, breathable, soft, and lightweight. Not only was the fabric 100% recycled, it was also 100% recyclable if reclaimed – not to mention Bluesign and Oeko-tex certified in addition to being as sustainable and as technically proficient as outerwear textiles come.
So here we are; plastic bottle to raincoat to plastic bottle again, or better yet, new fabric. That’s the life cycle Tabitha envisions for her line of children’s outerwear. When a fairechild garment wears out, our customers return them which helps fairechild close the loop by ensuring our “waste” is transformed back into a “resource”.
fairechild sources all our materials in the most transparent way possible. We have open lines of communication with our suppliers so that we know the source and the origin of the raw materials – even for notions like elastic and snaps. In this way fairechild, with Tabitha Osler at the helm, is taking responsibility for the manufacturing of these products and, in turn, giving our customers a solid confidence in their purchase.