It’s a very sad fact that we live in a world of fast fashion, where clothing is seen as so disposable that the industry has become the second biggest polluter of our planet after oil. Many knits found on the high street are made from plastic fibers, which will never biodegrade if they end up in landfill.
Growing up in Scotland, the clothing of my childhood was made to last. If you had a knit you looked after it and it would come out year after year. With this in mind, when I started Bonnie baby (which later became The bonnie mob), one of the most important things I wanted to achieve was to create something that would wear so well it could be passed down from one child to the next. Something that would be never have to be thrown away because it had bobbled, become misshapen, or ‘washed like a dishrag’.
Each Bonnie mob piece really is made to last and the quality speaks for itself. I’m a self-professed ‘yarn geek’ and I always ask the questions: ‘Will it knit well? Will it wash well? Will it last?’. If the answer is yes to all three, only then does the yarn pass the test. We also design for longevity – cuffs are made for turning, trousers for rolling, knits have a bit more width to allow for little tummies to grow, and dresses that look good at knee length but are cut wider in the body so they will still fit as a mini dress with three quarter-length sleeves many months later.
As a brand, we’re taking big steps to become as sustainable as possible. You can read more about the things we are doing – including our biodegradable packaging and hang tags, the fully-fashioned knitwear machines we use to reduce waste, our organic cotton, and the introduction of a new non-polluting, skin-friendly printing method we’re using here.
However, we can’t reduce the impact our clothing has on the environment without your help. Shockingly, three-quarters of Britons throw away unwanted clothing, rather than donating or recycling it. So we really love nothing more than to find out a much-loved Bonnie mob piece has been passed down to second, third, and sometimes fourth siblings! We’ve had so many customers tell us how our designs have been loved and worn again and again that we wanted to share some of their lovely stories with you. With our motto ‘Buy once, buy well, pass it on’ in mind, read more below.
Tracey Samuel, Founder of The bonnie mob
Amber’s fifth baby wearing The bonnie mob, passed all the way down from her eldest
"As a mother of five on a realistic budget it can often be tempting to cut corners by purchasing cheap ‘fast fashion’ from high street stores. After all, small children themselves grow quickly and aren’t in their clothing for long! However, the poor quality of these clothes quickly becomes apparent and we have often found that the clothing in question degenerates long before the children outgrow them. We have learnt our lesson and, to our surprise and delight, have found that it actually works out better to buy from mindfully-made designers such as The bonnie mob as the quality of the materials is so vastly superior. We have pieces of clothing from The bonnie mob that were purchased for our first set of twins, worn also by our second set of twins and have survived to clothe our fifth baby – such as this little hat and cardigan set, worn by my son in 2015 and by my daughter now in 2019."
Pieces Ellie bought from The bonnie mob for her eldest have been passed all the way down to her youngest
"I've been dressing my kids in The bonnie mob since my now 12 year old daughter was a toddler (12!!! How did that happen?) As Style Editor of Heat magazine, I spotted Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter, Apple Martin wearing an adorable Apple of My Eye jumper and tracked it down to The bonnie mob, then known as Bonnie Baby! Pretty good sleuthing skills, if I do say so, seeing as this was pre Instagram and Twitter! Since then, both my daughters have been devoted wearers of the label, the eldest passing down her various cardigans, jumpers and dresses to her little sister and now down to their little brother! One of my favourite pieces is this Panda cardigan that my middle daughter wore all the time. It then got passed down to my best friend's son and then she gave it back to me when I had my little boy – who was a bit of a bonus baby so I wasn't really expecting the cardigan back! Having been worn by three children, the cardigan still looks fab and gets loads of compliments, which is testament to The bonnie mob's fantastic quality and design. "I want one!" Is what most grown-ups say when they see it."
Our unisex pieces have had lots of wear from all five of Héloïse’s children
"I first discovered The bonnie mob three years ago through a stockist. It was the beautiful design that made me buy the first three pieces: matching t-shirts for my boys. I was instantly won over by the evident quality of the clothes and decided to look online for more information about the brand. Needless to say, finding out who they were was the cherry on the cake and The bonnie mob immediately became a new favourite. A family business, ethical, striving to do good around them, and with a motto that I completely agreed with: ‘Buy once. Buy well. Pass it on.’ And pass it on we did! As my sons got taller and grew out of their t-shirts, their little brothers and sister gave them a new life – with no compromise at all on the quality, as the pieces remained just as good as they were when I first bought them. Lovely colour, soft to the touch, and really no sign at all that they had been worn before!
Of course, there were more than those first three t-shirts. We bought more pieces over time, each well loved and just as good quality. Most of these pieces have now been through two children at least and some are gently tucked away until the younger sibling grows big enough to wear them too. As for the tiny jumpsuits bought for our last baby, which will soon be too small (do babies have to grow up so fast??), you can be sure that we will pass them on to friends... who will hopefully be as enthusiastic as us about the great company that is The bonnie mob!"
Sarah-Jane’s four sons have all worn The bonnie mob pieces again and again
"In 2004, my sister and I started Pure Baby, a luxury baby boutique in Chelsea in London. One of our very first suppliers was ‘Bonnie Baby’ now ‘The bonnie mob’. Claire and I fell in love with the gorgeous soft fabrics and the high quality as well as the fun bright colours and trendy clothes that Bonnie Baby had to offer. My sister and I between us have since had seven babies – all of whom wore Bonnie Baby. My particular favourite was the Bonnie Baby striped cashmere cardigan. I bought it for my son Jack when he was about 18 months old and the same cardigan was passed down through all my boys. I have four boys aged 13,11,9 and 7 now and I miss them in their Bonnie Baby jumpers – could you make them bigger please! Here is a photo of my first son Jack in Jan 2007 and my fourth son Harry in the same jumper in October 2012!! It was washed 100 times in between and I still have it in my memory box! Thank you Bonnie mob for my fabulous memories..."
Debs has passed her Bonnie mob pieces down through her three children, nieces, nephews and friends
"I love the quality and beautiful designs of The bonnie mob clothes. Whenever my children wear their clothes we get so many admiring comments. It is nice to dress them in something a bit different when every other child seems to be head to toe in supermarket brands or cheap mass produced high street items. Knowing The bonnie mob pieces are ethically produced and will last for more than one child sits far more comfortably with my conscience when we are trying to do what we can to reduce waste and excessive consumerism in our lives at the moment. I love to give Bonnie mob pieces as gifts too and know that they get treasured by the recipients.
I've passed down my entire (very large!) collection of Bonnie mob items through all of my three children, my niece and nephew, a couple of friends and have just delivered a bag of bits to my cousin’s three day old baby girl. The items have worn amazingly. They wash brilliantly, keep their shape and the colours remain vibrant. Being able to machine wash the knitwear is essential with the amount of laundry I have to do for a family of five. Lots of the items have been in use for seven and a half years and been through at least four kids, yet still look like new. With many of the designs being unisex, I've been able to use them for my daughters and son.
One of my favourite pieces was a incredibly soft bright pink and purple cashmere all in one. It kept both of my girls so snuggly in the winter. We've run out of little ones to pass this onto but couldn't bear to part with it, so we currently have very well-dressed dollies!"
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