In my recent post I introduced LikU, the diffusion line from Linuschka, however I have yet to really speak about the bats tester that kicked off its UK tour with me. I shall keep this relatively brief as I have discussed the meticulous standard that Oxana is achieving with this line along with its USP – her aim to achieve GOTS certification for the brand.
The lowdown on GOTS and why you should care
It is worth discussing GOTS as it’s an acronym that is bandied about in textiles, and especially in babywearing, as a badge of honour however it has multilayered meaning. It stands for the Global Organic Textile Standard and it is the gold mark for ecological, ethical and sustainable textile production. Despite having only been introduced as a global trading standard 12 years ago it is universally accepted across all markets. It isn’t just about producing organic cotton – it applies to a variety of materials for textile production.
When you buy a product made using GOTS fibres you are supporting:
- Organically produced material that meets international standards for non toxicity and biodegradability. It is guaranteed to be free of heavy metals and bleaches used across the wider textile industry.
- Producers who commit to environmental policies that minimise waste, guarantee safe byproducts (for example water) and use recyclable packaging.
- Textiles that must meet quality tests for expected wear and cannot leave unwanted residues (vital for a product such as a wrap that children often suck on)
- Socially ethical employment practices that guarantees workers fair pay, choice, a right to organise and collectively bargain (hurrah from the trade unionist in me), proper hours of work and leave, equal rights and remuneration and defined employment such as part time, home-working and rights regarding termination of employment.
- Quality assurance with regular compliance checks that those flying the GOTS banner have integrity in the entire supply chain. That means compliance for fibre producers such as farmers, those who handle the materials post harvest through to the textile manufacture and traders.
It’s quite startling, when you read the depth of the standard, to realise what you are buying into when you see the GOTS label. Sjala, another brand I adore also flies the sustainable/ethical flag, and like LikU, although it means they have fewer yarns to choose from when it comes to wrap blends, I feel the integrity of the end product is worth the sacrifice.
Is using a non GOTS wrap less desirable? No, and many wrap brands are transparent about the high quality of their source materials. GOTS certification is expensive but that hasn’t stopped farmers and producers making sustainable and ethical yarns and they can be declared as such based on more localised standards. Consumers supporting the use of GOTS in babywearing does mean it demonstrates a market to producers and that ought to widen available yarns for the future. It also puts pressure on wrap companies to think carefully about the ethics of their product if their consumer is asking “what’s in my wrap?”
Ok so back to the bats
I’d be lying through my back teeth if I said I didn’t care for the design. I love it and the whole aesthetic just excited me from the Instagram photos let alone to when it arrived. A friend and her gorgeous twins were visiting when the package landed and we were both equally taken with it. It has a fluidity and mystery that comes from the organic nature of the art nouveau design. The bats aren’t immediately obvious yet they are the whole structure of the pattern repeat. On first sight the bats look mono but I’d suggest they are a muted olive grey rather than black. It gives the wrap a vintage feel that appeals to me. I think a hard black and white would overwhelm the eye and mean the finer details of the design are easily glossed over.
From the box and in loom state it didn’t feel rough or crunchy; I could feel the quality of the cotton that, well, reminded me of Linuschka. And it’s true to say that no corner has been cut because the LikU wraps are produced in the same mill and sewn by the same atelier as the Linuschka sister wraps. Excellent. In hand they felt medium weight with some texture and pre wash it was a generous length and width for a size 6. This width, the flipped rails and the wide hems are things I look for in wraps. For me they make for a comfier carry that utilises all of the design.
Washed, dried and ironed I wore the bats the next morning and for the next few days. It wasn’t a chore and it’s safe to say it’s the all cotton wrap that has won me over. Yes I still love blends, they’re always going to tickle my luxury yearning heart first, however the wrapping qualities that the bats yielded was a true pleasure and I felt like I was using a wrap that was interesting and it didn’t need a blend to be so.
Despite a very easy weight – approx 260g m/sq – that won’t be overwhelming for smaller babies I found the bats worked well for my toddler in both single and multi layers. I attempted to extend my range of fancy finishes (thanks to Melinda of Milly’s Hugs) with this wrap because it was so easy to work with. Second passes weren’t hard to execute well, chest passes hugged very nicely and tightening wrap jobs was a breeze.
Once in place I didn’t feel the wrap budge no matter how much Smallest wiggled and writhed. The bats felt good on my shoulders and though I never really like Front Wrap Cross Carry I didn’t get the telltale aching upper back that comes from a wrap that is either too difficult to tighten well or too bouncy.
The bats and I have had a true romance and it pained me to send them off but equally, I’m so interested to see what other testers make of them. In all honesty I’d have liked to have hoarded them for longer, to really see how the wrap broke in (I suspect they’ll be like butter very soon) and to attempt more fancy finishes because it was such fun to work with.