“Better for the planet. Peace of mind for you. Anything for baby.”
That’s the tagline behind Gerber Childrenswear’s latest line of clothing made with organically grown cotton, which will be available at Target, Walmart and BuyBuy Baby.
Christened Gerber Essentials, the range of onesies, footed sleepers and side-snap shirts might be organic baby wear’s “most mainstream moment yet,” according to MarketingDaily.
“Parents have always been looking for quality products at a value that is easily accessible,” Connie Pence, Gerber’s director of marketing, told the news outlet. “We recognize that socially responsible fashion is evolving—and the importance this has for today’s consumer, including millennial parents who are more conscious about creating a better environment for their children’s futures.”
Millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996, are a critical group to capture as they progressively cross the threshold into parenthood. Roughly 1.2 million of them gave birth for the first time in 2016, accounting for 82 percent of U.S. births that year, according to National Center for Health Statistics data.
They’re also the demographic most willing to pay extra for goods and services from companies that are committed to environmental and social stewardship.
But swaddling their babies in organic clothing isn’t just a gesture of altruism. Organic cotton, grown without pesticides or harmful chemicals, is frequently touted as the most natural, nontoxic option to bump up against delicate newborn skin.
And being a good parent is a top priority for this generation. In a 2015 Pew Research survey, 60 percent of millennial respondents said being a parent is “extremely important” to their overall identity, compared with 58 percent of Gen X parents and 51 percent of baby boomers with children younger than 18.
Though organic cotton currently makes up less than 1 percent of overall cotton production, according to the nonprofit Textile Exchange, an uptick in consumer demand has stoked a nearly five-fold increase in organic agricultural land over the past decade, from 11 million hectares in 1999 to 50.9 million hectares in 2015.
Similarly, the demand for organic clothing “is all consumer-driven,” said Lori Wyman, the North American representative of the Global Organic Textile Standard, a leading textile-processing standard for organic fibers. “And people are wary of greenwashing claims and want to see third-party certification.”
While Gerber’s clothing made with organically grown cotton doesn’t have the GOTS seal of approval, as MarketingDaily pointed out, it’s certified to Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, which has its own rigorous assessments.