ILO Babys Clothing - What’s In A Name?

ILO Babys Clothing - What’s In A Name?

Find out more about the latest sustainable and organic babys clothing brand to be offered at My Little Green Wardrobe, ILO Clothing.

Here at My Little Green Wardrobe we handpick every single brand we work with, ensuring their processes are kind to the planet and the workers who made the clothes.

So what makes ILO Clothing special - and what does ‘ilo’ mean anyway??

ILO Clothing is an independent organic baby and kids clothing brand made in the UK which goes up to age 8 years

Recently, I chatted with the brand’s founder, Violeta Llano, in an Instagram Live where she told me all about her awesome kids + babys clothing brand…

Tell us a bit about ILO Clothing and what on earth ‘ilo’ means??

Owner and founder of ILO Clothing, Violeta Llano

Pictured above: Owner and founder of ILO Clothing, Violeta Llano

I started trying to find organic baby clothes for my kids. I had this intense desire for bright prints, and gender neutral clothing for my children, and I really couldn't find that much that wasn't Scandinavian made. 

So, I looked at these wonderful Scandinavian made brands out there, and I loved their philosophy of childhood about nurturing and nature and play. The kids clothes were very functional for this play within nature. It’s a very Scandi approach to childhood. 

Ilo is a Finnish word that means joy!

I was trying to create something that was cheerful, colourful and gender neutral - so ilo is very relevant to the brand itself because it's such a joyful brand. The prints and colours are very unique: Scandinavian inspired, but British based

Including the balloon print, which is inspired by the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, which takes place near where we are based.

But it's complete cultural appropriation, because I am not Finnish or Scandinavian at all - in fact I'm actually Colombian, so I'm from the other side of the world.

Are there any particular Scandinavian brands that you’ve taken inspiration from for your collection?

Kids wearing Maxomorra designs

Above: Children wearing clothing by Swedish brand Maxomorra.

Big bold designs like Marimekko and Maxomorra, Paapii Designs - they are all so bright and bold and big. They are completely different to anything that was available here - it was all tiny prints, very delicate and whimsical. 

When I had my son the offering for boys was just tractors, dogs and dinosaurs - so these brands have played a big inspiration

Tell us how ILO kids and babys clothing is more sustainable… 

Baby wearing organic baby summer romper in bananas print

Sustainability is a big part of what ILO wants to achieve - so the clothes are designed to last.

If you’re going to create a baby's clothing made from organic cotton, it’s very important that they’re not clothes you only get to enjoy for three months, as most baby clothes are. 

The majority of baby clothes are used and grown out of in such a short length of time, but when you use such good quality fabrics you want them to be worn for as long as possible. 

The organic baby clothes we make have clever design features that mean they should last for months and months - and then still be in good shape to be passed on to siblings for more wear after that.

So for those people who are more sustainably-minded, these grow-with-me designs are brilliant because it's three garments in one

And for those who are on a budget, this still makes total sense, because even though it's slightly more expensive from the outset, you haven't had to buy two or three different sizes across the same period. So actually you’re looking at the best quality, and the best value all rolled into one.

Plus it's made from organic cotton. The fabrics are GOTS certified, which encompasses not just the fabric itself, but also the production processes. So it works with the growing conditions and the working conditions of the growers and the farmers; then it moves onto where it is milled, and the conditions under which it is processed; and then there’s the printing as well…

So we can be sure that that whole process is in no way exploitative, which is very important.

How long do ILO Clothing’s grow-with-me designs last?

Organic cotton baby harem pants in pear print

The baby sizes mostly last up to six months, some of them up to nine months. Babies double in size in the first 12 months so it really depends upon individual babies. 

In the toddler and older children’s sizes, the size range is two years at least.  The sizing is really expandable and adaptable.

Is ILO suitable for reusable cloth nappies?

ILO Babys Clothing Organic Cotton Baby Romper

Yes! The organic baby romper in particular is designed to have a lot of space in the crotch area. This is great for reusable cloth nappies and in the first months the baby romper is more like a growbag. 

To begin with, newborns won’t even necessarily have their feet out of the holes, so it will just be a circular shape that's more like a growbag.

As they grow, their feet come out, then their legs come out and you can unravel the cuff as the baby grows.

There are extra poppers on the shoulders too, to expand the fit of the body as they get bigger. 

And it is a very stretchy fabric too which helps with comfort and fit. 

So the baby might start wearing it as a grow bag which will be very baggy and low in between the legs but as they grow, it becomes more like a bodysuit.  This adaptability makes it perfect for cloth and reusable nappies!

I always used reusable nappies with my children, so it's important for me to design my clothing so it accommodates cloth nappies.

It's one of the things that brought me great joy when my children were babies seeing the washing line, hung out with reusable nappies to dry. 

It made me so happy!

Why was it important that these baby clothes are made in the UK?

Composite image of British flag and a dressmaker with measuring tape

I think about this constantly because you get approached by factories abroad all the time that want to manufacture your brand for you. 

I come from Colombia, so I'm not manufacturing babys clothing here in Britain for patriotic reasons. I really care about the conditions in which the clothes are being made. 

I do not want to be part of the problem of fast fashion and wastage. I'd rather be a small part of the solution.

So I did it for two reasons: firstly, the social conditions. 

I wanted to be able to ensure the conditions during the manufacture of my garments. You can go and visit a factory abroad, but how do you really know that those are actually the conditions?

And after having read about disasters in the manufacturing industry, I didn't want to be any part of that, because it's really hard to keep on top of what's going on in your factory. 

And the second reason was the cost of transportation - not what it costs financially, but the environmental costs of the transport. 

So I tried to keep things as local as possible with a view to keeping things as green and ethical as we can. So those were my considerations as to why we should manufacture in the UK. Right now we manufacture everything where I am now, which is Bristol.

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  •  We are focusing on smaller production on an on-demand basis, which is also greener because then you don't end up with masses of things that maybe nobody wants. 

    If you just have the fabric, you can be a lot more flexible in terms of what and when you manufacture - so we are expanding our range thanks to not having to work with minimum quantities set by factories.

    This way it means we can really respond to what's needed, as opposed to polluting the environment with too much stuff and promoting over-consumption by constantly discounting.

    British made and British designed kids and baby clothing

    Organic baby summer romper in blue lobster print on gold background

    We use local illustrators and designers and I commissioned Bristol-based artists to do their designs for me. However, I have a background in design, so I also wanted to have a go at the repeat patterns for fabric designs myself.

    As a result, this summer’s collection of organic baby clothes and organic kids clothes are all my designs. 

    I have to confess some of them are with my son’s help! He is 12 years old, and he is amazing at drawing. One of the designs we did together is the lobsters. He hand drew the lobsters on a funky background.

    We are also launching a banana print. We used to have a banana print about three years ago and it was super popular. 

    We also went a bit tropical and did a papayas print on a creamy vanilla background and they have been really popular. Perfect for kids' summer holidays.

    And the last one is a rainbow stripe which can be worn year round and layered with a long sleeve top for winter. In the summer, it's nice and baggy and you get that airflow going through to keep little ones cool.

    Amen to keeping cool over the summer!

    Make sure you check out the full collection of ILO's gorgeous Scandi-inspired prints. And for more information about ILO Clothing, you can watch/listen to the full Instagram Live by clicking here.

    With love,


    Lucy Todd Author: Lucy Todd
    Lucy Todd is the founder of My Little Green Wardrobe. She started her own ethical clothing journey after spending countless hours trying to find suitable clothes for her own children. Her expertise are in the manufacturing and distribution of clothing, with a particular focus on sustainability, ethical working practices, harmful chemicals, and the environmental impact of the apparel industry.
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