Fair Trade Clothing Companies

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Throughout the past couple of weeks, I’ve written several posts about conscious consumerism. I know it can be difficult to search through all of the clothing companies out there and research the ethics of their business models before making a purchase. I completely understand that sometimes it’s a little hard to motivate yourself to put in tons of effort to find a fair trade company when all you’re looking for is a simple t-shirt that you could pick up at Forever 21 for $5. It’s easy to be discouraged when the vast majority of what is available for consumption is produced unethically.

Over the past few months, I’ve compiled a list of some socially-conscious brands that I’ve come across, and I want to share it with you in the hopes that it will make your ethical shopping experience a little easier. I’ve tried to include a vast array of shops that sell everything from everyday clothes to swimwear to undies to jewelry in a range of prices. And to make it just a little easier for you, I’ve linked the website for each shop. All you have to do is click the name of the shop you’re interested in, and you’ll go straight to their website.

I’ve also gotten some requests to include some options for all the guys out there, so every shop with asterisk beside the name has options for anyone who’s looking for some male attire.

Clothing

23 Skidoo

Ace & Jig

Alternative Apparel*

Braintree*

Bridge and Burn*

Everlane *

Gather and See

Indigo*

Les Sublimes

Mata Traders

Modcloth Made in the USA

People Tree*

Raven and Lily

Reformation

Seamly

Slumlove Sweater Company*

Symbology

Tent Marketplace

Threads 4 Thought*

Vintage Style Me

Zady*

Active Wear

Albion Fit

Patagonia*

Threads 4 Thought*

Tracksmith*

Swimwear

Albion Fit

Kortni Jeane*

Denim

Monkee Genes*

MUD Jeans*

Undies/Socks/Jammies

Braintree*

Sudara*

THINX

Wear PACT*

Shoes

IX Style

Fortress of Inca*

Humble Hilo

Nisolo*

Oliberte*

Sseko

The Root Collective

Bags

IX Style

Duluth Pack*

FEED*

Humble Hilo

Love 41*

Market Colors

Mulxiply

Raven and Lily

Tribe Alive

Jewelry/Accessories

IX Style

Greenola Style

Haiti Design Co-op

Indigo

Love 41

Market Colors

Mata Traders

Mulxiply

Raven and Lily

Symbology

Tribe Alive

Home Goods

The Citizenry

Humble Hilo

Indigo

Nkuku

Raven and Lily

Children’s Clothing

Ace & Jig

Humble Hilo

Indigo*

Kortni Jeane*

Seamly

Sudara*

Wear PACT*

Additional Resources

The Good Trade

The Her Initiative Ethical, Conscious, Fair Trade Shopping Guide

The True Cost – Buying Better

Disclaimer: I haven’t partnered with any of these shops to write this post. I’m just passionate about promoting brands that do good things and treat their workers and our planet well. Also, I haven’t purchased items from each and every one of these shops. These are just the ones I’ve found through my intensive internet searches for ethical options and keep on a running list on my computer. I hope it helps!

For those of you who are on a budget (like me), check out my Ethical Shopping on a Budget Part 1 and 2 to see my tips for buying cheap clothes without supporting fast fashion.

What’s your favorite fair trade company?

– Lauren

Les Sublimes | Fashion Without Compromise

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On this blog, I talk a lot about making conscious decisions about what we consume, particularly when it comes to fashion. Recently, the Fashion Revolution has been gaining more and more momentum and challenging consumers to be more conscious that their clothes are made by human hands. Recently, I’ve partnered with an inspiring Paris-based start-up brand called Les Sublimes that embodies the socially-responsible consumption and sustainable practices that the Fashion Revolution is all about. Les Sublimes creates stylish wardrobe essentials without compromise. Every item is not only fashionable, timeless, and high quality, but all materials are produced responsibly and with integrity.

When you first make the switch from fast fashion brands to socially-responsible brands, it can be a little overwhelming to wade through all of the clothing brands out there, research their ethics, and determine whether or not they’re making a sincere effort to treat their workers with respect and provide them with a living wage. Much of the time, popular fast fashion brands “address” concerns about the conditions under which their clothes are produced by providing a brief, vague statement on an obscure section of their website about how they are working to improve sustainable practices and provide better wages for the garment factory workers. However, these brands rarely provide details about how they’re working toward these changes. In my experience, brands that are passionate and earnest about social change are forthright about it.

That’s what initially impressed me about Les Sublimes: their incredible transparency. Take a look at their website, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s no question what Les Sublimes stands for. For example, there’s a page on the website that details all of the materials they use, where they’re produced, and why those materials are better options for the planet. On another page, you can learn about Thierry and Madame Pérard – the owners of the multi-generation family business that produces the clothing – and how their business employs mothers and provides them with fair pay, health care, and training programs to help improve their skills. Les Sublimes even reveals how they distribute their profits, which is something I’ve never seen another company do.

Les Sublimes launched a campaign on their Indiegogo page today to raise $10,000 EUR to finish producing their first collection. This campaign is an opportunity to not only support their business but also to preorder the collection.

The collection consists of six styles, each of which is a classic wardrobe staple. My favorite items are the Stockholm Tee, the Buenos Aires Dress, and the Paris Tank (pictured, left to right). Future collections will complement this one and offer more seasonal colors or fabrics.

Les Sublimes 2

Each piece is easily styled, versatile, and suited to a variety of personal styles. I love the way the Pokhara Tee (pictured above) is styled with a leather skirt, but can also be worn with skinny jeans and a flannel. In the same way, the London Dress (pictured below) can be worn with a leather jacket and sneakers or with a fun hat and sandals.

Les Sublimes 3

More Cool Reasons to Support Les Sublimes:

  1. For every item sold, Les Sublimes and their partners provide 1 month of education to a girl in need. By providing education to young girls, the girls can gain the knowledge and skills to find good jobs and lift their families out of poverty. 1 month of education for 1 item sold? That’s pretty amazing.
  2. Not only are the pieces from the Les Sublimes Spring Collection made of eco-friendly materials, Les Sublimes seeks to reduce its waste by donating unused scraps to be made into new textiles. The clothes are also packaged using more sustainable materials than traditional packing materials.
  3. No animals suffer in the production of their clothes.
  4. All of the workers involved are treated fairly and with dignity.
  5. If you sign up for their rewards program, you can earn perks while giving back. For example, by joining the rewards program and referring your friends, you could earn $10 EUR off a purchase or provide reusable pads so that girls don’t have to miss school when they have their periods.

Overall, Les Sublimes is doing great things. Definitely check out the Les Sublimes website and their Indiegogo campaign!

– Lauren

*Photos courtesy of Les Sublimes.

Oldies

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I am a lover of old, discarded things. There’s something magical about the way used vinyl crackles on the record player, and finding an inscription in a secondhand book. Stumbling upon the perfect beside table or film camera at a yard sale is a great and satisfying way to spend a Saturday. And some of my favorite art is assembled from banal, discarded items plucked from the side of the road. To me, there is something profoundly beautiful in choosing something that everyone else has overlooked and giving it new life. It really is true that one girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure.

My love of secondhand things extends to clothes, of course, especially now that I’m trying to be a more conscious consumer. I know a lot of people who think that thrift stores or vintage shops are good only for dingy, un-stylish pieces, but in my experience, that hasn’t been the case.  Some of my favorite clothing pieces are from secondhand clothing shops. For instance, I found this men’s Ralph Lauren shirt that’s been tailored into a stylish shirtdress at a vintage shop in Manchester, England called COW Vintage. It’s the coolest vintage shop I’ve ever set foot in, so it was really easy to find some great things.

Usually, thrifting requires some patience and willingness to dig a little, but you can come away with some unique, retro, and cheap items that you can’t find in any old store if you put a little work in. And because it takes a little more effort to find something you love, the find is always more satisfying.

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What are your favorite thrift store finds?

– Lauren