Ethical Alternatives to Everlane: 17 Better Brands

Ethical Alternatives to Everlane - woman wearing light wash jeans props legs up on sidetable with plant
Photo by cottonbro on

Why Ethical Alternatives to Everlane?

In March of 2020, I decided to stop formally working with Everlane. While I didn’t pull all mentions of Everlane from the site – after all, I had been an early adopter, sharing about their “radical transparency” and factory audits as early as 2014 – I did stop working with them directly and pulled them from my Ethical Alternative shopping guides.

Everlane isn’t the worst offender when it comes to fashion brands, but there is arguably still a need for ethical alternatives, and here’s why…

I finally had to put my foot down after it became clear that recent unionization efforts among customer service staff had been squelched under the guise of Covid-19 layoffs. While it is true that fashion brands across the board have had to make budget and staff cuts in the face of one of the worst economic disasters in U.S. history, the layoff didn’t make sense.

Everlane had just launched a big online sale, and e-commerce was going to be more important than ever, which meant customer service employees would need to be ready to assist.

One can scroll through their Instagram page and see that customer service snafus have resulted in uniform rage from customers. Add to that Everlane’s hiring of an attorney known for his union-busting success and it’s not a pretty picture.

A Company Culture of Racism

A couple months later, a group of Black women using the name Ex Wives Club began to publish firsthand accounts of racist hiring practices, comments, and behaviors among upper-level staff.

The stories reveal both ignorance and overt malice toward dozens of Black women who worked for Everlane, and even attempts to steal or undermine their creative labor. You can follow them on social media here.

Put together, these cases bring to light corporation-wide behaviors that do not align with Everlane’s slogan of “radical transparency” or the implication that they strive for ethics. Read the NYT response to Everlane.

As someone who has followed Everlane for nearly the whole duration of this blog’s existence, this continues to burden me. But I can’t say I’m surprised. Everlane is venture-capitalist backed, a product of the Silicon Valley.

It’s original premise was to “cut out the middle man” in order to save customers money. It pivoted as a result of a growing desire among consumers to purchase ethically and sustainably.

What now?

I don’t think it’s impossible for Everlane to make dramatic improvements to their supply chain, including how they treat US employees. I certainly hope that they commit to do the work. There are calls to boycott Everlane in the meantime, and I support this, while also acknowledging that Everlane is bearing the brunt of critique specifically because they claimed they were better than the average mid-level fashion brand.

What do I mean by this? I think it’s important to keep in mind that simply pivoting to another brand that hasn’t said as much about their ethical criteria doesn’t make the problem go away. I think of brands like Madewell, Loft, and J. Crew – how they, by avoiding branding themselves as ethical, manage to avoid a lot of scrutiny from ethical influencers and their followers.

If you’re going to support Madewell in defiance of Everlane, just realize that you’re making a choice that isn’t necessarily indicative of systems change. It might not make anything different or better.

Everlane’s radical transparency claim is ultimately good, because it provided an avenue for marginalized and mistreated employees to say, “You’re not good enough.”

We as individuals must do similarly, seeing our mission ahead of us even as we make mistakes. We can get so caught up in calls of hypocrisy that we lower our standards from the get-go to avoid critique. But this isn’t how people grow. The difference is that we have the immediate power to make the better choice. Let’s hope Everlane does the same.

Ethical and Sustainable Alternatives to Everlane

My top picks for sustainable, ethical, and transparent brands that have similar vibes to Everlane. This post contains affiliate links.


1 | Backbeat Co. (POC-owned)

Casual, modern pieces in organic, natural textiles.


ethical alternatives to Everlane - quince

2 | Quince

Quince uses a factory-to-consumer model to offer lower prices on ethically-sourced goods. With men’s and women’s clothing, classic leather accessories, and even bedding, it’s a great option for high-quality items at lower prices than expected.


3 | Warp + Weft

Warp + Weft owns their own eco-friendly and ethical factory that recycles 98% of water used in the manufacturing process, and has been in the denim business for over 3 decades. Plus, they carry sizes 00-24.


ethical alternatives to Everlane

4 | ABLE

Ethically-made separates and denim. ABLE also publishes their wages.


5 | KOTN

Ethically sourced cotton separates from farm to factory.


ethical alternatives to Everlane - pact apparel

6 | PACT Apparel

Fair trade, organic cotton separates, socks, and underwear.


ethical alternatives to Everlane

7 | Organic Basics

Organic, ethical athletic, lounge, and underwear.


8 | American Giant

Ethically-made tees, leggings, denim, and more in a large color selection.


ethical alternatives to Everlane - tradlands

9 | Tradlands

Tailored shirts, swingy dresses, and cotton separates made in audited factories.



ethical alternatives to Everlane

10 | Zoux Xou (Black-Owned)

Vintage-inspired shoes, ethically made shoes.


11 | Nisolo

Boots, sandals, mules, and more.


12 | ABLE

Trend-forward, feminine shoes.


13 | Fortress

Soft leather shoes, boots, and more.


14 | Allbirds

Sneakers, flats, and skippers made with natural, low-waste processes (including running shoes!)



ethical alternatives to Everlane - tree fairfax

15 | Tree Fairfax (Black-Owned)

Bag belts, woven leathers, and more.


16 | Parker Clay

Soft and sturdy leather goods.


17 | ABLE

Large selection of ethically-sourced leather goods.


More Denim recommendations

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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  1. Woe to the man whose apparel corral is wider than 9×9!

    I’m glad to find stores for basics that don’t exterminate Uyghurs or turn their nearby districts into yet another toxic waste dump, but can’t it be done while exhibiting Real Raiment Imagination? Is there really an absolute dearth of blazers? Hasn’t anyone invented an epidermis-free leather jacket? Is there any footwear to replace Nikes & Tevas, or To Boot, like Zou Xou?

    It feels like the sixth day of Pesah, and the whole world is organic yeast & flour.

    Would you please write an article addressing this aspect of fixing the real green threads supply chain?

    1. There are some upcycled leather jackets sold by Amour Vert, but most of the faux leathers on the market are plastic, so that’s an area that still needs innovating. Allbirds and Geisswein make running shoes, and OESH makes good sandals.

      Can you explain what kind of problem you’re interested in interrogating? Lack of creativity in the sustainable supply chain?

  2. I’m going to apologize in advance for being that person critiquing a list of ethical manufacturers. I know you do your homework and the label ethical means different things to different people—and it’s impossible for a company to be perfect in all aspects. I don’t consider myself an ethical hardliner, either. It’s also easy to critique such a list, harder to put one together.

    But why is Tradlands considered an ethical company? As far as I can tell they are even less transparent than Everlane. They used to manufacture in the US, then Mexico, now China. Which is fine, but their button downs are still at the same. Exact. Price. In fact, they are slightly more expensive than Power of My People, which manufacture button downs in Canada. How high quality can these shirts possibly be to cost so much? I get that there are details and fabrics that make them more durable, but other companies make quality shirts as well. Also, and this is a personal complaint, but the buttons are absurdly, cartoonishly thick, as a supposed indicator of “quality.” I’ve had one button break in my entire life, it’s not really a problem, and the thick Tradlands buttons are actually kind of hard to pass through the button hole. As far as I can tell they have an aggressive and successful influencer campaign, and that is pretty much why they are considered “ethical.” I’m sorry to write all this on your blog, which is the least deserving of such a rant. It is the result of pent-up frustration with seeing this brand featured again and again. And probably at myself for having bought into them!

    1. First of all, I looooove this rant. Thank you for targeting the problem rather than me as a person. You’re right – standards are murky and then change, but because their reputation precedes them, they just keep being thought of as ethical. I’m going to email my contact there and see if I can get some specific information. I do think their fabric quality is luxurious, but the price point is still rather high.

      1. I got details back from Tradlands and will be sharing them in a separate post, so keep an eye out for that.

    2. I want to echo Leah’s comment here to say I like this rant! I don’t think you need to apologize for being “that person” – you expressed a critique in a very respectful way without slamming Leah as a person. I also think you bring up a very good point about being cognizant of ethics/green-washing and how companies can change (for the worse) over time, so we need to stay informed.

      I’ve also bought a Tradlands shirt (a couple of years ago now). I like it, yes, but does it deserve the hype? Eh. I agree they just have a very well-run marketing campaign and probably get a *lot* of goodwill from gifting to influencers.

      1. Your point about companies changing for the worse is especially relevant considering what’s happening with Everlane.

    3. Just wanted to let you know that I received an initial response from Tradlands and am waiting for answers to my follow-up questions.

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