Is American Eagle Ethical? 5 Sustainable Alternatives — Updated for 2022

Ahhhh...American Eagle. Mid-2000’s Mall Staple. Where else would you go to get your preppy polos and low rise jeans? And while everyone around me (frankly, I never much cared for the prep look) were proudly donning the huge American Eagle logo on their tees, it never occurred to me to ask: Is American Eagle Ethical? Are they taking care of the planet and their workers?

While their styles may have changed over the years, it seems that their business practices, unfortunately, have pretty much stayed the same. Like many popular fast fashion brands, American Eagle is responding to public pressure for more ethical and sustainable processes by coming out with a small “sustainable” line, setting targets they are nowhere near meeting, and issuing vague statements about their commitment to ethics while still not paying a living wage in their supply chain.

We applaud any small changes in the right direction, but we still think we can all do better! And with so many brands out there that are way above board when it comes to their human rights and environmental ethics, why settle? For stylish and sustainable alternatives to American Eagle, check out DoneGood Approved brands like...



For those easy-breasy, comfy-casual vibes, you can’t do better than Toad&Co! As makers of trail-to-tavern eco-conscious casualwear, Toad&Co has lived their mission to live well, do good for 20 years. With a wide range of fun, well-designed clothing for women and men, these products are functional as well as comfortable, but none of that comes at the expense of style—or sustainability.  They're going the extra mile to ensure ethics in the clothing industry. From eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled fabrics, to reusable mailers, giving back 1% to the planet, and repairing gently-used clothes to be loved again. 

Shop Toad&Co



American Eagle has always been popular for their jeans, but why not find some that do a little more good for the planet and the people in it? ÉTICA is Spanish for "ethical," and this ethical, family-owned brand is committed to making the most durable, high-quality denim that women can wear for years to come. Compared to traditional brands like AE, 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! 


The Good Tee

the good tee

It's all in the name—good tees that do good! The Good Tee was created out of a desire to do things differently than fast fashion brands do. That means slower production schedules, ethical working conditions, and fair wages for everyone. They're proud to offer certified fair trade and organic cotton tees that are great for the planet and the people who make them. With The Good Tee, you’ll find affordable men's, women's, and kids' sizes in comfy and classic styles. 

Shop The Good Tee


If you want those classic women’s looks that are perennial favorites with AE, you might want to check out WVN! WVN believes that we look and feel our best when we know our clothing was made with the highest social and environmental standards. That's why they go above and beyond to make sure their clothes and their brand are the most sustainable they can possibly be—from their home base in Santa Cruz to their sewing centers in Nepal. Their organic cotton is GOTS certified, they use low impact dyes, their factories are Fair Trade Certified, and their entire company is a B Corp. All this attention they put into their company means quality, stylish, ethical clothing that you'll love!

Shop WVN

Passion Lilie

Passion Lilie

For fun and funky looks with a global impact, check out Passion Lilie! Their vintage and retro men's and women's styles are designed in New Orleans and handmade by women in India with cultural hand-block printing and hand-weaving techniques. The makers are all paid a living wage in a great work environment and take great pride in their craft. These designs are good for the planet, too! All of Passion Lilie's pieces are vegan, non-toxic, and made with eco-friendly practices!

Shop Passion Lilie

If you're looking for more ethical alternatives to big corporations, check out these posts:




Erin King
DoneGood Contributor

Writer, editor, and all-around language enthusiast who uses her love of words to help others.


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