Clothes you can be proud to wear

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With some help from some of my online friends, I've been putting together a list of resources for buying clothes that are organic and/or fair trade. Thought now might be a good time to share them.

American Apparel: Probably the best known U.S. "sweatshop free" clothing manufacturer. They also have a pretty good sized line of organic cotton clothing. Unfortunately, they are also a horrifically sexist organization (as well as being union-busting?) and not one I am much into supporting.

bamboosa shirtBamboosa: Made in America bamboo clothing and baby products. Selection is not huge, and it's really basic, but the stuff isn't terribly expensive. I like the super lightweight long-sleeved v-necks. They are available in a variety of colors, xs-xl, for $26 (regular price).

Certified Jeans: 100% organic cotton jeans made in the U.S.A. Only a few styles available, $74-$88. Women's sized only up to 14, which a mark against them in my book.

Decent Exposures: Offers a huge variety of bras and some other basic clothing (tee-shirts, underwear, leggings) all 100% cotton and some with latex-free elastic. Everything is made in Seattle at a living wage shop. Some organic choices. Not hugely expensive (for example, most bras are in the $30-$40 range).

earth creation cardiganEarth Creations: Fair trade and sweatshop-free American-made natural fiber casual clothes. Pretty basic, hippy-looking stuff, but I really like some of the women's clothes that aren't screen-printed tee-shirts, and they aren't too bad price-wise. This cute kimono-style cardigan is a blend of hemp and organic cotton, available in three naturally dyed colors, sizes small-large, for $49.

fair indigo ballet topFair Indigo: Features fair trade clothes, mostly made outside the U.S.A. Has a line of organic cotton clothing. Neither cheap nor extraordinarily expensive, and the clothes are said to be well-made (I have no personal experience with them). Fairly basic, "pretty" stuff (think J. Crew or similar). Sales section looks to be pretty good. My favorite thing there right now is the wide balletneck top show at right. It is available in brown and berry as well as white and is marked down to $19 (originally $49). It was made fairly in Macau.

The Green Loop: A Portland (yay!) company that only sells things that are "made by conscientious companies who are committed to environmental stewardship and social responsibility." They also do carbon-neutral shipping. There is a large variety here, but it is definitely not cheap. Even in the extensive clearance section there isn't much I can afford.

hemp purseHemp Sisters: Large website selling clothing and accessories made from natural fibers, including and especially hemp. Focused on handmade and fair-trade items. Also sells bath/body products. Not too expensive, decent sale section. Currently they are having a 15% off sale on handbags, in honor of Valentine's Day. I like the fair trade hemp shoulder bag at the left, marked down to $33.99 from $39.99. I don't like that the website doesn't say where it's made, though.

blue canoe top.jpgLotus Organics: Very nice looking organic natural fiber clothing, made under Fair Trade conditions. I wish there were more information on the site as to where the clothes are made. Features clothing by several different manufacturers, including dressier clothing, exercise stuff, and baby/kids clothes. No separate sale section, but lots of stuff seems to be on sale. I like the Blue Canoe crossover top at right, which is available in a ton of colors and is marked down to $36 (originally $46).

maggies pajamasMaggie's Functional Organics: Sells "fair trade clothing and accessories made with certified organic fibers." The stuff is mostly loungewear, socks, and cotton basics, as well as stuff for babies and kids. Nothing high fashion, but it looks like good stuff and it's not extraordinarily expensive. I've seen the socks in person at my co-op and they definitely seem nice. There is also a good close-out/irregular section. The thing I am liking most at Maggie's currently are the lounge pants and camisoles sets at left. They are made of organic cotton, fair trade, in Costa Rica or Nicaragua. They are currently $30.34 (down from $37).

mantra socksNatureWear Organics: Organic natural fiber clothes made outside sweatshops by companies including Maggie's and Blue Canoe. Pretty basic stuff, but a wide selection and fairly decent regular prices (as well as a clearance section). I like the organic cotton blend Mantra Socks by Maggie's, selling for $7.65 (down from $9). They are available in five olors with corresponding mantras, including my favorite, the black ones that say "Just Breathe."

no sweat teeshirtNo Sweat: "Union-made Sweatshop-Free Casual Apparel." Not necessarily organic (though some things are). Basic casual clothing and some housewares, made responsibly, for decent prices. Mostly tees, socks, basic jeans, etc. I particularly like the funky Rosie the Riveter tee-shirt shown here. It's organic, made in Bethlehem by members of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, and sells for $18 in sizes up to 2X.

rawganique dressRawganique: Sells sweatshop-free, U.S., Canada, and European-made organic cotton, hemp, and linen clothing. Also sells paper products, bed and bath stuff, and books. Not cheap, but given the mission, how could it be? I'm especially impressed with the wedding line, and love the hemp and raw silk dress at left. It's available in sizes 2-24, in three colors (ecru, eggplant, and sage). It's made in Europe and costs $179.

Shirts of Bamboo: Bamboo clothing and body products, made by companies adhering to social accountability (SA 8000) standards. Fairly large selection of basic clothes, screen printed tees, kids' stuff, and bath stuff.

As always, used is best. But if you can't buy used, it's good to have options that are easier on the environment and supportive of fair labor practices, right? Please leave any suggested additions to this list in the comments.

5 Comments

blue canoe sells their own stuff directly, too, and their customer service is great. like most of the places you posted, their stuff is spendy but sometimes the sale items are more reasonable.

You can also visit Inca Kids (www.incakids.org) this is a project I am running to support Peruvian artisans and their traditional lifestyle. We offer affordable FAIR TRADE and HANDMADE apparel, accessories and safe toys. Everything is made of natural fibers, 100% cotton or 100% Alpaca wool mostly.

Help us spread the word!

Gigi

Thanks for compiling this list. I knew about Green Loop and agree with you that it's expensive. I basically see it as a boutique, targeted toward people with $$$ who happen to want to live more green.

Another store to add to your list is Alternative Apparel (http://www.alternativeapparel.com). I haven't ordered from them yet, but they offer basic clothing similar to American Apparel, at similar prices, and their "Alternative Earth" collection is all organic.

Hi,
I am the owner of NatureWear Organics. I came across your blog today. Just wanted to say thank you for noticing us, and thank you for talking about organic clothing!

Peace,
Audra

I've also been looking for companies like these. I think the best i've found so far for ethics, variety and price is JERICO. Check out what seems to be an all around wonderful Canadian company - www.jerico.ca

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