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 for Workwear 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 Workwear 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.
- Amour Vert – 97% of their clothing is made within 5 miles of their San Francisco office.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
Eco-Friendly Clothes to Wear to Work
Not all eco-friendly clothes are made in the USA, of course, but if you’re still on the hunt, you may want to consider some of these brands…
As of 2023: If you’re hunting for eco-friendly clothes to wear to work, check out major brands like Boden, Eileen Fisher, H&M Conscious, Karen Kane, L.K. Bennett, Theory, Hobbs, and Ted Baker — Nordstrom also has a big section devoted to sustainable style! You can also check out smaller eco-friendly workwear brands like Aday, Amour Vert, Cuyana, Everlane, Emerson Fry, Grana, Reformation and Wallis Evera.
Wondering where to find eco-friendly suits for women? H&M has affordable options in their Conscious line. Theory has a number of options, and NET-A-PORTER has some expensive options like Another Tomorrow in their NET SUSTAIN section.
Eco-friendly plus-size workwear can be even harder to find! As of 2023, these are the ones we know about — you might also want to check our roundup of made-to-measure clothing.
- Alice Alexander (up to 4X)
- By VinniK (up to 7X, more casual but fun tops)
- Cooper Union (up to 7X, definitely more casual)
- Eileen Fisher
- Elizabeth Suzann (up to 5X)
- Girlfriend Collective (basics)
- H&M (Conscious line)
- Loud Bodies (up to size 10X)
- NooWorks (up to 5X)
- Pinecone Row (up to 7X)
- Pomp (Power Of My People)
- Selkie (up to 7X, more weekend)
- Treasure & Bond
- Tuesday of California (up to 7X)
- Smart Glamour (up to size 15X!)
- Treasure & Bond
- Ulla Popken
- Wray (up to 5X)
- 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]
Is H&M Conscious collect just one line of clothing at H&M? So to the vast majority of clothing sold at H&M, this would not apply? I can’t quite tell from the way it’s worded.
Also, wanted to say that this is a great post idea!
Yes, it’s just one part. It makes up quite a lot of the jersey basics and the LOGG collections. Anything from ‘Conscious’ tends to have a big green tag so it’s easy to spot.
Yes, to my knowledge the vast majority of clothing from H&M are still from sweatshops to put it frankly – like most fast fashion stores.
Arrgggh don’t let H&M fool you with this. They are the worst proponent of fast fashion. Paying a fair wage to garment factory workers is very important but is such a small piece of the broader issue of ethical and sustainable fashion. What about the tonsof textiles that are discarded every year?
Remember this story?
I’m a recent convert to Karen Kane. I work in a business (leaning business casual/business creative…higher ed administration) setting and can rely on the wrap dresses with a jacket. I am “large of chest” so I appreciate the higher wrap on the Cascade wrap dress (no cami! woohoo!) and the not-too-deep but still flattering V-necks on the other dresses.
Yes, I love Karen Kane dresses and it’s so great that they are made right here in So Cal!
My beef with Karen Kane is that it is not cut for taller women at all. I suspect their fit model is shorter than average, which is great…for some people. Everything I ever try on from them is way to short (arms, torso, skirt length). They do have some good basics, so it’s a bummer.
I am 5′ 5″, curvy, and love it!!
I’m 5’7″ and curvy, and I’ve found that the cascade wrap is fine, but the Tiffany dress (with the knot in the middle) is a wee bit shorter in the torso than I need, affecting the overall length just enough for me to tug on it a few times a day. It’s still work appropriate for me, but I get what you’re saying!
I’m 5′ 9″ and have a Karen Kane dress that is plenty long and the sleeves are almost too long (past the wrist bone). I mistakenly bought a large (usually a medium or 6 fits) so that probably has something to do with it. I has worn it before I realized it is a large. The fit is supposed to be loose so I think it looks fine.
LOVE the Karen kane cascade dresses (plus-sized girl here). They are so super soft. It’s as comfy as wearing a tshirt but looks super polished
Threadjack – I apologize.
I’ve started a new relationship (3 months in, now) with someone who I really have grown to care for. When we met, there was an immediate connection and we have been together ever since. In this time, we’ve met each other’s families, have gotten comfortable with parents and friends, and have established a relationship, and even talked future, families, marriage, etc. I am 35, he is 38 — and when we met, he was clear about his desire to “settle down”.
At first, he was extremely affectionate and effusive. Think: sweet text messages from work, flowers to my office, planned dates to dinners, drinks, out with friends, etc.
Now (and since starting at a new firm), that is no longer. He is not verbal with his affection and basically “disappears” into his office without communicating until he is done with work (say 8pm or 9pm).
Is this normal? I’m used to a much more consistent level of communication. I’m also a little shocked that the romance has passed so quickly and that we’re already “settled” into this relationship where the courting is over. I also think it’s weird to not touch base during the day.
Note– he is a great guy. Very hard working, trustworthy, honorable. He is great with my family and treats me with a lot of respect and kindness. He is, however, just not a very mushy guy. Instead, he shows his love by doing things like taking out my trash and bringing his cleaning lady over to clean my house and carrying all my heavy snow equipment up the stairs and into the backyard shed. Is this normal? I am so perplexed.
“Now (and since starting at a new firm)”
Could it be that he’s wary of making a bad impression at his new place, so he’s curtailing communication during the day and working longer hours?
you cant threadjack here.
Her Dad Invented Toaster Streudel
While Anonymous is correct (and Totally Anon would probably get more responses on the afternoon thread anyway), I definitely read this post in a “You can’t sit with us!” tone.
Um, can your man friend come carry out my necessary household chores? That sounds like a dream!
My husband is not, by nature, a mushy guy. He tends to show affection through gifts of time/gifts of items (massages, taking our son out for the morning so I can sleep in, etc.).
It works well for us since I’m not a mushy/cuddly person either, but maybe read the 5 love languages book so you can articulate to him what makes *you* feel appreciated/loved so he can try to ‘speak your language’ to you a bit more?
My husband is like this, although it took much longer for the mushy romance stuff to die down. That could just be because of something else going on in his life right now. I don’t think it’s weird at all not to touch base during the day, but it’s really about what works for you.
Sorry doll…he’s just not that into you (anymore).
While this could be true, it may also NOT be true. I know that Sheketovits was all over me with cheap chocolates from CVS and calling me until I let him have sex with me. After that happened, the cheap CVS chocolate stopped — Believe me, the chocolate was as bad as the sex. It is not bad if he is not mushy. But if you have given of yourself, maybe he is pulleing back. FOOEY on men like that.
Wait, what? Taking out your trash and paying for your house to be cleaned =/= love? Well, I’d like to get me some of that not love.
You should repost this on the afternoon thread in case the mods delete it.
Have you asked him what’s going on? Three months IS soon for everything to have completely worn off.
I’d attribute this to being new in the workplace and being so stressed / conscientious there, that he feels like he can’t do what he used to. His work space set up may have changed (so people could see he’s texting), the meetings / deliverables he has to produce are all new, and he’s trying to remain in the good graces of his supervisors and coworkers. I’d give him a break.
“They” say that men are like rubber bands and pull away for periods of time and then come back around. It sounds like your guy is (rightfully so) focusing a bit more on work at the moment and has less time and energy to spend on you for the time being. He’ll be back! :-)
Sample size of one here but . . . every time I have gone in hard and fast with a new relationship (meeting the parents “early”, talking about long-term future together, etc.), the honeymoon phase has died down quickly and the routine part of the relationship sets in. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to talk about your expectations to make sure you are on the same page. Also, depending on his work day, he may not be comfortable whipping out the phone in front of his coworkers to text you – I sure wouldn’t. I still get flushed at work when someone sees me texting throughout the day even though no one cares if you text so long as your work gets done.
Thanks for the feedback, all. Sorry, I don’t know the protocol for threadjacks.
I have asked what’s going on – and his response is complete cluelessness. “What, what do you mean? Something’s going on? I’m just working.” He did say the honeymoon is over – which was kind of jarring to me given that it’s only been 3 months. He also said he’s not a super effusive and emotive person, which makes me wonder why he was so incredibly affectionate and sweet for the first 2 months and where did that man go?
This all started when he started at this new firm which caused friction between us and lead to a few pretty nasty arguments. We are not arguing anymore, but I think it’s left the impression that “you are always fighting with me”.
I’m trying to find a balance because short of this odd communication style – he’s pretty awesome.
How is he awesome? He isn’t communicating with you and he is denying any change. This won’t last.
On the substantive posts, it’ll have this written on the bottom. You can’t TJ on the posts with this warning label.
“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!”
Moving on :) His behavior does raise a red flag for me. I don’t like that he doesn’t see the differences in his behavior. And that you guys are having actual fights about it.
I’ve noticed that some men in their late 30s who’ve never been married have mastered the dating skills necessary to win a girl over – interesting texts, flowers, attention. It’s like they’re going through a dating guide checklist and they’ve gotten very good at those initial things. Because, let’s be real, the flowers, the dinners, are just skills that apply to any woman. But actually holding a relationship? That’s where these guys fall apart and start to not look so good.
I tend to agree with this. He was great at the dating piece and now has settled because we are in a relationship and therefore “the honeymoon is over”. I also think at 38, he’s gotten used to living a single life and going about things pretty autonomously without having to share/touch base/communicate with a partner or do things in partnership.
I have seen a significant effort on his part to say GM, GN, to call during lunch, etc., but it is certainly not his norm and it’s clear that he is trying purposely to do these things in order to meet my needs. The sweet texts, flowers, and dates, however, are days long gone. I do know he is making an effort to be more affectionate.
The question is – why is this such an effort when you were all of these things + a million for the first 2 months.
I appreciate everyone’s varied point of view. Helps me to put this into perspective.
“I do know he is making an effort to be more affectionate.
The question is – why is this such an effort when you were all of these things + a million for the first 2 months.”
Simple- it was always an effort for him. It was just an effort he was willing to make before a) in the beginning of dating b) you fought and c) he started a new job which appears to be taxing. Whether he is making less of an effort because he’s less enthusiastic about the relationship or for some other reason, it appears he is less willing to make this effort- the question is, are you willing to live with a lower level of affection? Or, even if you get the level of affection you want will you be satisfied by a person who needs to make “an effort” to be that affectionate with you?
Do you guys have an exclusivity agreement to not date with other people? Sleep with other people? Examine the boundaries of your relationship. I’m not saying change your FB status or put your profile back up on Match or whatever, but: make plans with girlfriends on a Saturday night if he hasn’t set something up by Thursday. Plan to go out somewhere public — and look cute. If you meet a cute new guy, well…
This will accomplish a multitude of things.
– a – keep you happy and busy on a Saturday night (plus, connected with girlfriends)
– b – tell your guy that you’re not “locked down” yet and you need to be — he’s treating you like a wife and you’re not yet.
– c – maybe you’ll meet another (Person B) to distract you from Guy A
– d – and — here’s where the rubber meets the road. We don’t know if he’s Not That Into You or if he’s honestly busy with his new job. If it’s the first, hey, at least you haven’t wasted too much time with/on him. If it’s the second, maybe this will be the wakeup call he needs to, pardon the phrase, “put a ring on it / lock it down / etc etc.”
You could always just have a heart to heart with him and ask: are you busy, or just not that into me? This is way harder than it sounds. I’ve done it, admittedly, cowardly, by email. He was NOT that into me, and called me within 5 minutes of my sending the email to tell me so. Bummer, but: I moved on.
“The question is – why is this such an effort when you were all of these things + a million for the first 2 months.”
I’m a bit late with replying (different timezone) so hope you’re still checking back. At just three months in, this is a huge red flag for me. Three months really isn’t that long to keep up basic communication in a relationship, especially when you have vocalised to him that it’s important to you.
I have watched my father (and many many other men) do this time and time again with women they want… they will put in whatever effort is necessary to get to the point where they think they’ve “got her” (ie in the relationship, the woman is emotionally involved, etc) but really it’s almost like a con because once they’ve “got her,” they just don’t make the effort any more. I honestly think it’s a form of fraud. (Not a lawyer, only using that term in a colloquial way.)
Please be very careful moving forward. If he’s not doing it now at three months in, then he certainly won’t be doing it at 3 years or 10 years or whenever. He thinks he’s got you, and now his true relationship-self is showing. Believe him when he shows his true self!
Just a guess- several nasty fights killed the honey moon phase. Does that mean that he’s over the relationship? Not necessarily. But does that mean he’s over the honey moon phase where everything is sunshine and roses and neither of you can do wrong in each others’ eyes? Probably.
“A few nasty arguments”, only three months in? That isn’t a good sign. A disagreement is one thing, but that sounds like something different, something meaner. When I was dating in my late 30s, if I had dated someone for only three months then had even one nasty fight with that person, it probably would have been the beginning of the end, rather than just the end of the honeymoon period. If either of you are getting nasty, something isn’t working, and since its so early its probably just better to write it off. Which is likely what he is contemplating.
I agree with this. For me, nasty fights are a dealbreaker. And also, if you need your partner to be affectionate and sweet and high-contact, this guy is plainly not your guy.
Sounds to me like this relationship burned brightly but has run its course.
My husband isn’t the flowers and romance type. But he’ll do stuff, change more diapers than I do, bathe the kids, take them to weekend activities to let me get a pedi, Etc. Choose what matters to you.
And your guy’s new job maybe a bit busy in the teething period.
Don’t write him off.
This list is helpful. I would also encourage the hive to consider looking at companies that are fair trade. There are many great clothing companies out there (although smaller) that are fair trade. Patagonia, for example, has a line of fair trade clothing. Also if anyone has the chance, the documentary the True Cost is excellent and heart breaking. And, most critically it shows the major differences between those companies who are fair trade versus those fast fashion companies who use sweatshop labor.
However, I also think just buying less is helpful. The amount of clothing that gets disposed is shocking. About 80% of clothing donated to charity ends up being shipped overseas to be disposed of, because they can’t sell it in their thrift stores.
Yes — before buying new clothes, I actually check eBay. There are tons and tons of new or very gently used clothes that people are trying to unload, often at steep discounts. Many stores will give unsold inventory to an eBay wholesaler to sell. I’ve gotten most of my kids’ clothes from other moms selling great stuff on eBay, and it’s helped me both save money and not contribute to buying so.much.new.stuff.
This is a great post. Thanks for this series!
Thanks for this post! I recently watched The True Cost, and since have only been purchasing clothes made in USA, Canada and UK. Although I’d already found most of the mainstream brands listed, I’m looking forward to checking out the smaller ones to add some more variety!
Leota and Eva Franco are made in USA (at least all the dresses I have are)
I don’t know the specific labels, but Anthropologie has a fair amount of things made in the US.
I’ve recently picked up several items from new-to-me brand Leota. I think a number of their dresses would work well in all but the most conservative business environments
Thanks for addressing this topic. I think it’s really important to be conscious of where clothes are made. It took me a long time to train myself to look at labels before price tags. And, to be honest, I still buy fast fashion made overseas sometimes. But even stores in which I have no business shopping (at my age) have items made in the US. Here’s a blouse from A’GACI, where I have to pretend I am shopping for an imaginary daughter. http://www.agacistore.com/miliana-blouse/35030-28375.html?dwvar_35030-28375_color=31#pmax=20&prefn1=refinementColor&pmin=10&prefv1=Green&start=1 Don’t worry — I do not style it with an insanely short skirt as seen here.
I’m glad to see this topic pop up here again, but I feel like other than adding “and Europe,” this is still largely focused on the US and omits a lot of Canadian/European brands that would be helpful for anyone interested in more ethically sourced clothing. Obviously, for some buying domestic is important for other reasons, but I think that if you’re framing this in terms of ethics, it’s helpful to cast a wider geographic net.
Also, I’d love to see a post on shopping really small. There are still tailors and seamstresses out there who will make custom clothes for relatively reasonable prices and I think it’s a fantastic way to a) truly shop locally, b) put money directly into the pocket of the person making the clothing, and c) get really well-fitting clothing. Etsy makes this all a lot easier, but I’m sure many cities and towns have their own local businesses for this sort of thing.
My understanding is that Judith & Charles is designed and made in Canada (Montreal).
Does anyone know what has happened to Dobbin clothing? I went to buy a dress last month, and it looks like they have shut down for now.
I don’t but just tried to do the same. I have three dresses from them that I really love. Reasonably priced, nice fabric, conservative enough, and a good fit.
I bought one dress from them in May and loved it. The message on their site is super weird. I wonder if Kat knows? I would love to buy more dresses bc they were cut so well, reasonably priced, and appropriately modest for work!
See my reply to Basia below re: Dobbin
Hi ladies – I’m proud to say that Front Room’s clothing for the busty bosslady (yep, as in clothes for women with big boobs that are corner office ready) are designed and made in Canada. I can tell you that making in Canada/North America is a conscious choice and by no means the easiest. It is much more expensive and the factories here are slower (a combination of not having enough people & older equipment). As a small brand it is difficult to get access to factory floor space – and, like airlines, factories overbook their capacity figuring someone will bail. When they all show up (especially now with the lower CAD $), they bump the little guys (yours truly). e.g. I’m scrambling to get holiday dresses done because I was bumped – sitting on fabrics I have nobody to cut (yet).
You do realize ethical clothing is ALSO made in non-White majority countries right? Check your Western privilege.
Great! Please share! I currently have US, Canada and UK on my list because I have lived in those countries and am familiar with their minimum wage and labour laws and enforcement. I’d be happy to add to that list!
Does anybody know what happened to Dobbin? I bought an AWESOME dress from them in May on recommendation from this site, but now the website says they are on a “break” and won’t accept orders. How strange – does anyone know if they are going out of business?
I bought a dress from them as well which promptly ripped in the armpit so I sent them several emails- they responded 2 weeks later saying they are having an “ongoing and complex personal issue and cant respond to customer requests and have no access to inventory” She also said they would get back to me if they resumed business. So odd!!