Ethical Alternatives to J Crew: 11 Better Brands

ethical alternatives to j crew
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated in December 2020. Contains affiliate links.

Is J Crew ethical?

One of my “hobbies” is to catch up on J. Crew business news on fashionista.com.

I’m not sure why I find it so gripping – maybe it’s because J. Crew is a real fixture among academics, and most of my peer-aged friends are either graduate students or professors. J. Crew, if you were wondering, has actually been in decline for the last several years. A combination of design mistakes (mostly attributed to former creative director, Jenna Lyons) and declining fabric and production quality have contributed to turning away dedicated fans of the brand.

But there really is a need for J. Crew’s products: reasonable quality, work-appropriate goods with an eye toward contemporary cuts, colors, and styles.

The problem is that J. Crew produces most of its goods in sweatshops in some of the world’s poorest countries. Paired with increasing quality issues (their cashmere, for instance, simply does not hold up), it’s no longer a viable choice for discerning consumers, whether their primary interest is labor ethics or simply long-lasting goods.

The one exception to this is J. Crew’s recently added Fair Trade Certified Denim. Remarkably, J. Crew actually paid for the factory they use to be certified, revealing at least an acknowledgement of fair trade’s marketing value if not a growing commitment to ethics themselves. Let’s hope they expand!

SHOP J. CREW FAIR TRADE

Ethical Alternatives to J Crew

ethical alternatives to j crew - quince

1. Quince

Using a manufacturer-to-consumer model, Quince can keep prices low on their selection of cashmere, washable silk, and other luxury staples.

SHOP QUINCE

2. Sezane

This French brand offers elegant clothing, shoes, and accessories with numerous ethical and sustainable credentials, all clearly noted on each product listing.

SHOP SEZANE

3. Everlane

Everlane has come under fire for under-performing on ethics, but their “more sustainable” collection offers organic cotton, tencel, and recycled knits that are still a better choice than J. Crew.

SHOP EVERLANE SUSTAINABLE

4. People Tree

Fair trade, organic cotton separates with classic lines and wearable colorways.

SHOP PEOPLE TREE

ethical alternatives to j. crew - amour vert

5. Amour Vert

With feminine prints and high-end finishing, Amour Vert offers sustainable clothing that works well in any setting.

SHOP AMOUR VERT

6. Eileen Fisher

A classic for a reason, Eileen Fisher has been making organic, ethical clothes for working women for decades. Plus size line available.

SHOP EILEEN FISHER

ethical alternatives to j crew - maven women

7. Maven Women

Dedicated to women’s rights, restorative justice, and fair trade principles. Makes business-appropriate attire. Sizes XS-XL.

SHOP MAVEN WOMEN

8. Grammar NYC

Home of fashion-forward, crisp white shirts designed sustainably and ethically.

SHOP GRAMMAR NYC

9. VETTA Capsule

Prioritizing versatile clothing, VETTA offers several capsule collections intended to work together, from lounge to glam to business. They use ethical and sustainable business practices, as well.

SHOP VETTA


BONUS! FOOTWEAR

10. Darzah

Classic and elegant shoes that incorporate Palestinian tatreez embroidery. Hand crafted and fair trade.

SHOP DARZAH

11. Nisolo

Minimalist, ethical leather shoes and accessories in classic, business-appropriate cuts.

SHOP NISOLO

12. Ponto Footwear

Using recycled leather and biodegradable materials, Ponto produces a wear-everywhere shoe that is better for the planet.

SHOP PONTO

See other posts in the Ethical Alternatives series

Looking for more? Shop 100+ sustainable and ethical brands with my Sustainable Brand Directory.
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