Petite Marin Transforms Men’s Dress Shirts Into Children’s Clothing

Textile production has a dirty little secret. An enormous 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills. Petite Marin is a new California-based company borne by a concern for the environment and a respect for  local production. Two young mothers from Marin County responded to the lack of high quality clothing options for their children by making their own. Most garments on the market for babies and children they found to be made  of thin, cheap fabrics devoid of any style. Thus, the Petite Marin Childrens' Eco Couture Clothing brand came to be.


Petite Marin Clothng For Children: Source: TreehuggerPetite Marin Clothng For Children: Source: Treehugger


The upcycling process

Rachel and Marina began their business on their sewing machines using their husbands' throwaway dress shirts. Perhaps even without knowing it, they were exercising the latest outgrowth from recycling known as upcycling. This refers to the reworking and repurposing of pre-exisiting fabrics to make new items (usually clothing). It's a sustainable trend that serves to both reduce landfill waste and the environmental toll of growing more cotton.

Why men's dress shirts?

According to the Petitie Marin website:  "Cotton fibers vary from one-half inch to two inches in length. The longer cotton fiber has a longer growth cycle, yet is in demand because it is the most durable. Only 3 % of worldwide cotton output has longer fibers, and it's typically reserved for men's dress shirts. Cotton dress shirts are made to be breathable, durable and washed countless times, wheras irregular and  immature cotton fibers are about 20% thinner than mature fibers and lead to fabrics that wear out quickly.


Toddler's Adorable Outfit: Source: TreehuggerToddler's Adorable Outfit: Source: Treehugger


Sustainability, fair wages, ethical treatment and local manufacture

The two young moms are at the forefront of their business, fostering an eco-brand that is environmentally safe. They continue to select the dress shirts and cut out patterns while local seamstresses hand-sew the garments. Their company has expanded, and to meet the growing demand for their clothing, Petite Marin is expected to begin working with other local manufacturers in the Bay area.


Little Girl's Dress and Hat: Source: LocalterrorLittle Girl's Dress and Hat: Source: Localterror


An idea whose time has come

Slowly but surely, the sustainable focus behind Petite Marin has spread and fashion designers are joining the children's wear eco-fashion movement. Kallio, an eco-friendly childswear brand in Brooklyn, New York,  features a collection of dresses, tops and bottoms for boys and girls constructed entirely from upcycled men's shirts. Other companies are destined to  follow along this green path, hopefully reducing textile waste and our carbon footprint.

The future of Petite Marin

Petite Marin's goal is to create well-made clothing with timeless style and sustainable fabrics. By using the luxurious cotton fabrics found in men's dress shirts they are creating even higher quality products. Although they may not have been the first to do so, these young mothers have taken the concept of recycling/upcycling up more than a few notches, setting a fine example for other entrepreneurs and lovers of this great planet Earth.

Closing thoughts on recycling and upcycling:

We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to. ~ Terri Swearingen

Some of the sites we link to are affiliates. We may earn a small commission if you use our links.