Is ModCloth ethical?
ModCloth, home of vintage-inspired attire and accessories for the adorable nerd, was recently sold to Jet.com, a subsidiary of WalMart. Given their reputation for promoting body positivity, gender equality, and inclusion, this was a disappointing move for longtime fans.
I quit shopping at ModCloth due to a poor experience with customer service a few years ago, but I still have a handful of friends who have been very brand loyal up to this point. Plus, I get lots of blog hits for people looking for “ethical alternatives to ModCloth,” so it only seemed right to see what I could find for those hoping to maintain the ModCloth aesthetic without buying into a parent company that prioritizes CEO salaries over hourly-worker wages and benefits, and continues to overlook forced labor and poor working conditions in their overseas factories.
While ModCloth leans heavily on its commitment to photoshop-free images and size diversity as a marketing strategy, I would argue that true inclusion would take into account the wellbeing of the primarily female workforce that makes up the garment industry as well as the end consumer.
The companies listed below prioritize sweatshop-free labor, ecofriendly practices, and diversity.
I’ve included links to both brands that produce new clothing and my favorite vintage shops. Because why buy “vintage inspired” when you can buy authentic vintage?
11 Ethical Alternatives to ModCloth
1. Mata Traders
Fair trade certified | Women owned, designed, and produced | Sizes XS-XL
Feminine block printed woven and jersey cotton dresses, skirts, and blouses, plus a selection of jewelry. ModCloth actually sells Mata Traders already, but you might as well go straight to the source!
2. People Tree
Fair trade certified | Women owned and produced | Sizes UK 8-16
Knit cotton separates in a variety of feminine and menswear-inspired styles, plus accessories. ModCloth used to sell People Tree.
Ecofriendly | Made in USA | Women owned, designed, and produced | Sizes XS-XL with some Plus Size offerings
Betsy, owner and chief maker at National Picnic, makes wearable and slightly quirky garments from eco-friendly fabrics in the USA. See my features on National picnic here.
Eco-friendly | Low waste | Made in USA | Woman owned | Sizes 0-12
Sexy, minimalist, and vintage-inspired pieces made with deadstock and ecofriendly fabrics.
Woman owned | Many items made in USA | Sizes XS-4X
This is the closet match to ModCloth’s in-house collection, featuring vintage-inspired silhouettes in a range of sizes. Check the listing for “made in USA” credentials, as not everything was produced domestically.
Ecofriendly | Ethical production | Sizes XS-XL
Thought Clothing has a laid-back, British vibe that aligns pretty well with the ModCloth aesthetic. Items are made with ecofriendly fibers and produced with fair labor standards.
Ecofriendly | Made in Canada | Woman owned, designed, and produced | Sizes XS-XL
Screen printed blouses, dresses, skirts, and more in stunning floral and natural motifs.
Woman owned and designed | Ethically produced | Sizes XXS-6X
Fun, fashion forward clothing produced in NYC at accessible price points in a full range of sizes.
Vintage & Upcycled
A longtime favorite, The Kissing Tree offers a huge selection of high quality vintage pieces for women.
Fun, wearable vintage at reasonable prices. Stay tuned for a review.
11. Neo Thread
Upcycled vintage and thrift finds, some featuring quirky hand embroidery. See how I wore a piece from Neo Thread here.