Is J.Crew ethical?
If you’ve read any other posts in our “Alternatives” series, you might find our answer sadly predictable. J.Crew is taking some good steps towards making their brand sustainable for people and the planet, but they are still far behind where they need to be.
On the encouraging side, J.Crew no longer sources Uzbek cotton—notorious for being rife with labor abuses. They’ve also done away with the environmentally harmful process of sandblasting. They have a code of conduct for their suppliers and even have some fair trade and more sustainable options in their “reimagined” collection.
But J.Crew still has a long way to go. They still fail to pay a living wage in their supply chain, they don’t specify how they enforce their code of conduct, and their transparency is lacking across the board.
But there’s no need to sacrifice cute and casual basics that make us look and feel our best! We’ve got tons of alternatives to J.Crew that provide the same style without sacrificing sustainability. So thank J.Crew for the changes they’ve made, but encourage them to keep moving forward, and maybe shop these better brands in the meantime.
Mata Traders combines classic styles with fun and funky designs for a look that’s unique as well as classy. Wanting to "fashion their way to a better world," Mata Traders is out to end global poverty and inspire consumers to change the fashion industry. Their colorful designs are made by artisans in India and Nepal who earn a fair wage for their work. With every purchase, you empower these female artisans with economic independence, help them send their kids to school, lift up communities with jobs and healthcare, and preserve ancient artisanal traditions. And you get really cool apparel and accessories out of the deal!
INDIGENOUS is all about keeping Peruvian textile traditions alive, while providing a path out of poverty to the artisans who live there. They've now led the way in ethical apparel for over 20 years with styles that are fair trade as well as 100% organic. INDIGENOUS is doing good all over Peru now. They empower their 750+ workers by paying fair wages, give back to the community through clean drinking water, and offer training and zero interest loans to female entrepreneurs. Pair that with high-quality staples for men and women that are similar to J.Crew in style and price, and you'll see why customers love INDIGENOUS!
You could get a classic button up from J.Crew and look good. OR you could get a button up from Vustra that looks just as good and gives back 25% of your purchase to charities like Feeding America, Charity: Water, and 1% for the Planet. We choose the latter. Committed to slow and sustainable fashion, Vustra's shirts are also fair trade, organic, and toxin-free. If you’re looking to look good, do good, and give back, Vustra is the obvious choice.
If you’re looking to make swaps for more sustainable denim, check out ÉTICA. This ethical, family-owned brand is committed to making the most durable, high-quality denim that you’ll love for years to come. Compared to traditional brands, ÉTICA designs reduce water usage by 90%, energy consumption by 63%, and chemical usage by 70%. And on the people side of things, they exceed fair trade standards, providing workers with living wages, health benefits, on-staff doctors, and free meals. Plus, they give back to help with water cleanup, tree planting, and lots of other environmental causes! Oh, and did we mention they also make great jeans?
Encircled specializes in making ultra-comfortable, super versatile, and high-quality basics that cut down on garment waste and dress women in clothes they’ll love and want to wear all the time. If you’re looking to simplify your closet by finding cute basics like you’d get at J.Crew, do yourself a favor and browse their collection—all ethically-made in Toronto with eco-friendly fabrics and upcycled materials.
Women-owned Lev Apparel is out to provide high-quality, sustainable staples that fit well and feel great! They’re all about stylish designs that fit and flatter, work with your body type, and that you’ll love to wear for years to come. Lev Apparel believes that empowered women empower women! That's why they're committed to great workplace environments and fair wages for their workers—at risk women in New Delhi.
Maven Women wants women to feel their best—it's at the heart of everything they do! Their high-quality, day-to-evening attire is designed to be both versatile and classic. They want their pieces to fit and flatter all shapes and sizes, which is why they get feedback and collaborate with customers on on how to make their designs even better! Maven Women also wants women to be comfortable with the production that went into their clothing, that's why all their practices honor people and the planet. With fair labor, organic fabrics, and vegan and cruelty-free processes, you're sure to find conscientiously-designed apparel you'll love for years to come!
Echo Verde is passionate about making ethical clothing affordable to all. Based in Canada, Echo Verde believes in keeping good relationships with their local suppliers, paying fair wages to their employees, and using natural, organic materials. They do all this without huge markups, so that you can actually afford to buy their sustainable, slow fashion pieces. Check out their collection of simple, beautiful basics for women—from classic knit sweaters to organic bamboo intimates—for an assortment of timeless pieces that will last for years to come.
Antarrah is headquartered in Arequipa, Peru—the Alpaca capitol of the world! And they leverage their location well to craft high-quality pieces for men and women from alpaca and other natural fibers. Antarrah is passionate about honoring ancient Peruvian textile tradition and lifting up the community in the process. They work with local Peruvian women, honor their knowledge, and pay fair wages to handcraft beautiful and timeless basics for men, women, and children.
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