2018 update: We still stand by this advice on where to find ethical clothing for work, and links have been updated below. You may also want to check out our Guide to Slow Fashion.
Big thanks to Kate for our next post on ethical shopping: workwear brands made in the United States, Canada, and Europe! Readers, how important is ethical shopping to you? Do you have any favorite workwear brands that are made in North America or Europe? – Kat
We introduced our ongoing series of posts on ethical shopping with a roundup of several brands that are made in the United States, mostly small and/or independent labels, and startups — like Bailey44, Cuyana, and Arkins. Today we’re sharing a list of bigger, mainstream brands for workwear — names you’re more likely to recognize — whose clothing is entirely, mostly, or partially made in North America or Europe. (As several readers correctly pointed out, the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on ethically-produced clothing.) We also have a guide to fair trade and ethically-sourced clothing.
Looking at a company’s website, it can often be difficult or impossible to find out where the clothing is made, so we hope this list will be helpful and save you some time as you shop for workwear that’s ethically produced and easily accessible to the average shopper. (Pictured: Karen Kane A-Line Jersey Dress, available at Nordstrom for $89.)
Major Brands Made in the U.S.A. or Europe
- Eileen Fisher: On its website, the company explains its impressive Vision 2020 plan, which focuses on the human rights aspects and environmental impact of its supply chain. Eileen Fisher seems much more transparent about its production than many other companies; read more here. Currently, about 25% takes place in New York and California.
- Everlane: Everlane manufactures its clothing both in the U.S. and in other countries. (Its factories and distribution centers are listed on its website, and you can see details and photos for each.)
- H&M: Here’s another company that avoids vague language and presents specific information about its current production and goals. The H&M Conscious page explains the brand’s commitment to sustainability and ethical practices, and besides reading the 2017 sustainability report, you can learn far more than you may ever want to know about the company’s inner workings, including its human rights policy, extremely detailed compliance data for its suppliers, and its animal welfare policy.
- Igigi: All of the company’s clothing (sizes 12–36) is made in San Francisco.
- Jason Wu: More than 90% of the Jason Wu Collection is manufactured in NYC’s Garment District.
- Karen Kane: “Almost all” of the brand’s clothing is produced in L.A. using U.S.-made and imported fabrics (including the dress pictured above).
- Modcloth: Many items available at Modcloth are U.S.-made, and you can browse through more than 200 of them here.
- Nanette Lepore: The brand’s clothing is produced within five miles of its studio.
- Nicole Miller: Many Nicole Miller items are made in New York City; product descriptions indicate either “Made in NYC” or “Imported.”
- Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Last Call: You can use the search term “Made in U.S.A.” to find domestically produced items — although some of these are made from “imported fabrics” (with no additional information given).
Smaller Brands Made in North America (Part 2; see Part 1)
To expand on our first post in this series, below we’ve rounded up additional small brands/labels that are made only in North America; most are suggestions from readers.
- Curator: All clothing (some of which work-appropriate) is made in the U.S., and 70% is produced within 10 minutes of the brand’s shops.
- Nina McLemore: All clothing, which is available in sizes 0–18 and petites and is designed for “senior professional and executive women” (it has a Talbots-esque vibe) is made in NYC factories from “European fabrics in natural fibers and fine Asian silks.”
- Iris Setlakwe: Almost all (90%) of this Canadian brand’s clothing, which is designed to be easily mixed and matched, is made in Montreal from fabrics imported from Europe. Much of it is work-appropriate.
- Tianello: All of the brand’s eco-friendly clothing, which is offered in straight and plus sizes, is made in the U.S. using natural fabrics. A lot of it is appropriate for work, although some of the prints are a bit … much.
- Wallis Evera: This workwear company’s clothing is designed, cut, and sewn in Canada (although it offers free U.S. shipping and returns!), and many of the pieces are made from hemp fiber, an eco-friendly material that’s biodegradable and renewable. The company also uses certified organic cotton, lyocell (from eucalyptus trees), and humane silk.
- Why Don’t More Fashion Brands Manufacture in the U.S.? [Fashionista]
- What Does “Made in the U.S.A.” Really Mean? [Fashionista]
- The Myth of the Ethical Shopper [The Huffington Post]
N.B. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course we highly value all comments by our readers, we’re going to ask you to please keep your comments on topic; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. Thank you for your understanding!