Petite Marin repurposes men's dress shirts into beautiful and durable children's clothes

Petite Marin kids' clothes
© Petite Marin

This new California-based company is run by two entrepreneurial moms who understand the value of local production, quality fabrics, and reducing one's environmental impact.

When two mothers from Marin County, California, set out to buy clothes for their young children in early 2014, they were disappointed by the lack of high quality options. Most clothes for babies and kids are made of thin, cheap fabrics, feature garish logos, and lack real style.

The best solution, they quickly realized, was to make their own. Rachel got out her sewing machine and, using one of her husband’s old dress shirts, made a few items that so impressed her friend Melina that the two of them decided to turn it into a business. That is how Petite Marin Children’s Eco Couture Clothing was born.

This brand-new company uses ‘upcycling’ to source all its fabrics. Upcycling is the reworking and repurposing of pre-existing fabrics (usually in the form of other clothes) to make new items. It is a wonderfully green way to use fabric that’s already in existence, and consequently reduces both landfill waste and the environmental toll of growing yet more cotton.

Petite Marin kids clothing 2© Petite Marin

All of Petite Marin’s items are repurposed from men’s dress shirts. The website explains why this fabric is so desirable:

“Cotton fibers vary in length from one-half inch to two inches in length. The longer fiber cotton 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, whereas irregular and immature cotton fibers are about 20% thinner than mature fibers and lead to fabrics that wear out more quickly.”

Currently, Rachel and Melina continue to handpick shirts and cut out patterns, while local seamstresses hand-sew the garments. To meet growing demand, the company will soon start working with other local manufacturers in the Bay Area – always maintaining a focus on ethical treatment, fair wages, and quality workmanship, as Melina told TreeHugger.

Petite Marin kids' clothing 3© Petite Marin

Petite Marin’s beautiful clothes are available for purchase on the website, and shipping is flat $5 fee.

Related Content on