Is J. Crew ethical?
One of my "hobbies" is to catch up on J. Crew business news on fashionista.com.
I'm not sure why I find it so gripping - maybe it's because J. Crew is a real fixture among academics, and most of my peer-aged friends are either graduate students or professors. J. Crew, if you were wondering, has actually been in decline for the last several years. A combination of design mistakes (mostly former creative director Jenna Lyons' fault) and declining fabric and production quality has contributed to turning away dedicated fans of the brand.
But there really is a need for J. Crew's products: reasonable quality, business-y goods with an eye toward contemporary cuts, colors, and styles.
The problem is that J. Crew produces most of its goods in sweatshops in some of the world's poorest countries. Paired with increasing quality issues (their cashmere, for instance, simply does not hold up), it's no longer a viable choice for discerning consumers, whether their primary interest is labor ethics or simply long-lasting goods.
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Ode to Sunday, People Tree, Everlane, Grammar NYC, Maven Women, Language of the Birds
10 Ethical Alternatives to J. Crew
Brands were selected based on design similarities, commitment to ethical labor, and eco-friendly practices. Contains affiliate links.
Destined to make this list. Dozens of business appropriate blouses, blazer, and pants produced with relative transparency. Look for natural fibers for a more sustainable choice.
My Pick: The Work Pant
2. People Tree
Fair trade, organic cotton separates with classic lines and wearable colorways.
My Pick: Trisha Top
A classic for a reason, Eileen Fisher has been making organic, ethical clothes for working women for decades.
My Pick: Tencel Stretch Jacket
4. Maven Women
Dedicated to women's rights, restorative justice, and fair trade principles. Makes business-appropriate attire. Sizes XS-XL.
My Pick: Amira Dress
5. Grammar NYC
Home of fashion-forward, crisp white shirts designed sustainably and ethically.
My Pick: The Conjunction Shirt
Classic, work appropriate tops, pants, and dresses in linen and other natural fibers. Sizes XS-XL.
My Pick: Hanna Pants
A little more out-there than other brands in this list, Language of the Birds nevertheless creates some classic shift dresses in muted patterns suitable for an academic or creative work environment.
My Pick: Westbeth Paper Bag Dress
MATTER recently introduced an oversized blazer and wrap skirt, which are quite work appropriate without being stuffy.
My Pick: The Classic Blazer