J. Crew has long been a staple for people who work in offices, schools, and other settings that enforce a slightly more composed dress code. The brand projects a sophistication and attention-to-detail that could fool anyone into thinking their clothes are thoughtfully made. But the reality is they’re not as buttoned-up as they look; thus, ethical alternatives to J. Crew.
J. Crew has actually been in decline for the last several years. They just exited bankruptcy in 2020. A combination of design mistakes 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. In fact, workers in the Philippines planned to sue one of J. Crew’s factories for dismissals and union-busting just this past February.
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.
For the last couple of years, J. Crew offered Fair Trade Certified Denim. Remarkably, J. Crew actually paid for a factory to be certified, revealing at least an acknowledgement of fair trade’s marketing value if not a growing commitment to ethics themselves.
However, as of fall 2022, J. Crew no longer has a designated fair trade section on their site and a site search reveals a 404 error message.
In this post, I’m sharing alternatives. to J. Crew that offer better transparency and quality…
Ethical Alternatives to J Crew
This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase, at no additional charge to you.
M.M. LaFleur recently completed a sustainability analysis to ensure that they build their business with sustainable goals in mind. To that end, they prioritize gender equality, nontoxic fabrics, and high quality. They also sell pre-loved items!
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.