“Be Wild. Be Free. Beru.” The motto of children’s apparel company Beru Kids goes beyond the adorable munchkins modeling peasant blouses and harem pants on its website. With all apparel made in Los Angeles, Beru Kids ethically sources every garment without cutting corners. Among today’s fast-fashion players, Beru Kids proves that sustainable practices go a long way in the children’s apparel industry.
Founder Sofia Melograno didn’t start out in the fashion business, but she always had an interest in economic development and poverty reduction. While traveling in Tanzania in 2011, Melograno met a woman who launched her own sewing cooperative that employed HIV-positive women.
“It was my first introduction to the world of ethical fashion and I’m not sure that the woman I had met even realized that producing ethical fashion was, in fact, what they were doing,” Melograno said. “That cooperative was really established to enable these women to support their families. It was that first meeting that sparked my interest—and later my passion—for this growing movement.”
Five years later, Beru Kids is one of the cutest, trendiest and most sustainable children’s apparel companies in the United States. With its Endless Summer collection and other styles including apron-back tops and graphic sweatshirts, the brand creates functional clothing for little ones using small amounts of locally obtained deadstock material (unused fabrics) and organic cotton. With this upcycling practice, Beru Kids produces apparel that is completely traceable without wasting material.
“Our use of deadstock materials and remaining ethical in our production practices will always be at the core of who we are as a brand. However, we do listen to our consumers and have made changes and additions to our collections,” Melograno said. “We kept hearing that moms really wanted organics, so we did our research and added organic fabrics that are not made exclusively for our brand and allow lower minimums.”
With sustainability and impact in mind, Melograno opted to keep Beru Kids’ production facilities in the U.S. and not overseas. After not finding sub-Saharan Africa factories that enforced safe work conditions and fair wages, Melograno continued her search at home in downtown Los Angeles. She eventually established partnerships with local factories, where garment workers are treated fairly and paid above minimum wage.
“What struck me, and really made my decision quite easy, was seeing the poverty in my own backyard,” she said. “There are parts of LA that really feel like the third world and I wanted to be able to help provide employment to LA residents, even if only on a small scale.”
As a social impact brand, Beru Kids continues to give back to the greater community with its sustainable practices and new job opportunities.
“A large portion of our highly-skilled sewers are women,” Melograno siad. “As a female entrepreneur, there’s nothing I’d rather do than support other women. We also have a lot of ideas for how we can work and support our community on a larger scale as we continue to grow.”