Which clothing manufacturers care about more than just clothes?
January 6, 2012 10:14 AM   Subscribe

What are other clothing manufacturers with clearly stated ethics? I'm thinking of Patagonia as an example. Who else?

Patagonia clothing emphasizes durability, repairability, and environmental sustainability as goals for their company and the products they make. As far as I can tell, they seem pretty committed to this and it's not just for show. What other companies act similarly? They don't need to share the exact same values as Patagonia (some may have as stronger social than environmental focus, for instance), but I am interested in knowing who makes clothes and has an interest in more than just profits.
posted by tylerkaraszewski to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
LL Bean is known for durability. I don't know about your other criteria.
posted by dfriedman at 10:19 AM on January 6, 2012

Check out American Apparel, Tom's Shoes... there must me many others.
posted by kdern at 10:19 AM on January 6, 2012

No Sweat. Don't know anything about them beyond being aware of them.
posted by threeants at 10:22 AM on January 6, 2012

Eileen Fisher has a strong focus on social issues and fair labor practices. In fact, my aunt is their "Director of Social Accountability" or whatever her title is.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:24 AM on January 6, 2012

Alternative Apparel has social and environmental responsibility guidelines.
posted by raihan_ at 10:26 AM on January 6, 2012

Fair Indigo is another.
posted by Pryde at 10:29 AM on January 6, 2012

North Face has a separate website just for sustainability. They're very good about letting you send stuff back for repair or replacement.

In my experience most of the top outdoor brands seem to put their money where their mouth is. prAna is another example. People that work for those brands tend to have a vested interest in protecting the environment.
posted by desjardins at 10:31 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Isn't the Lululemon guy one of those Ayn Rand fans? I remember reading about that on Metafilter. Ew.
posted by millipede at 10:31 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by carmel at 10:31 AM on January 6, 2012

Blackspot shoes?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:32 AM on January 6, 2012

Oh, and as far as durability, I have a Marmot fleece that I bought used 15 years ago, wore at least 3x a week for years, and it looks and functions perfectly. You really, honestly get what you pay for with these brands. I used to work here in college (over 10 years ago) - I'd recommend any of the brands in the left sidebar.
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on January 6, 2012

Mountain Equipment Co-op
posted by squeak at 10:39 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Title Nine as the name suggests are really into women and fitness as well as sustainability and organic products. Their models are a range of sizes, they look like normal people and they're an active part of the T9 "thing"
posted by jessamyn at 10:51 AM on January 6, 2012

Second'ing North Face, not only for their sustainability focus but because they'll work on repairing nearly anything if you don't want to have to throw it away. I've had them repair sleeping bags, jackets, and gloves, and they made the process beautifully simple.

Heck, in the nascent Internet days I mailed them an expensive uber-cold-weather sleeping bag with a note describing how I tore it (stupid maneuver because I was cold and tired), noting it was beyond my sewing skills, and asking them to please repair it if possible then send me the bill. They sent it back repaired good as new and a note saying something like, "we're sorry you had to spend cold night with a torn bag. We know you said it was your fault that it tore, but we'd like to think we make things that won't tear apart after just fifteen years of use. We've repaired it for free, reinforced the tab, and we hope it lasts you another fifteen years."
posted by introp at 10:52 AM on January 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

A lot of the couture houses make a concerted effort to preserve the exquisite art of embroidery, flower or button making, etc. A lot of it is in danger, as in if X person dies then the skill will be "lost forever". I think Chanel acquired several ateliers a few years ago in order to do this.
posted by acidic at 10:54 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anvil Knitwear is another good, socially responsible company.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 10:59 AM on January 6, 2012

I like Prana.
posted by waitangi at 11:19 AM on January 6, 2012

I have a Bond boarding jacket that says it's carbon neutral on the label, and the company indicates that it works to make their products as sustainable as possible.
posted by lizbunny at 11:22 AM on January 6, 2012

"Ethical fashion" is the phrase you want to google, it's a growing sector, it has its own forum the Guardian has a directory of probably mostly uk retailers, etc.
posted by runincircles at 11:30 AM on January 6, 2012

Lots of controversy surrounding American Apparel's ethics--
posted by jilliank at 12:46 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Royal Apparel is a solid, socially-conscious tee-shirt manufacturer.
posted by JDC8 at 12:49 PM on January 6, 2012

They don't make the clothes themselves, but W.L. Gore company, the makers of Gore-Tex (the real thing, not similar products) has a good reputation for treating its employees well as well as environmental responsibility. So look for the Gore-Tex brand as well.
posted by TedW at 12:51 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if hats only count as clothing, but Dohm hats might fit the bill.
posted by freezer cake at 2:39 PM on January 6, 2012

howies are one of these, and they've just bought themselves back from Timberland, who had acquired them not so long ago (much to many of their customers' chagrin). They're in the UK (based in Wales), but they have a lovely website, and tell sustainability tales on their blog and in each catalogue.
posted by lokta at 3:10 PM on January 6, 2012

The Mouseworks is highly environmentally conscious, being 100% solar powered, grows his own food, all while making awesome hats & clothing one at a time out of discarded bolts of fleece from larger manufacturers. I've got 2 of his Starburst hats, one of which I've had for 6 years & counting & it's still like the first day I put it on.
posted by yoga at 5:18 PM on January 6, 2012

List of vegan eco-friendly shoe brands. Eternal Creation clothes.
posted by superfish at 5:31 PM on January 6, 2012

Wigwam socks has nice philosophies (and nice socks).
posted by lakeroon at 5:35 PM on January 6, 2012

Nau has a clearly stated and obsessively-blogged about philosophy, which includes sustainability in materials (including using recycled fibers), utility and longevity in design (with a forever guarantee), as well as donating 2% of every purchase and making an annual "grant for change".
posted by crush-onastick at 5:47 PM on January 6, 2012

Fluevog shoes have Satan-resistant soles. Does that count?

On a more serious note, Fluevog's FAQ has information about their commitment to fair labour practices in its overseas factories: "Roughly 60% of our shoes are made in Portuguese factories, some we have been working with for over ten years. We also use factories in Mexico, Peru, China, and Vietnam. All of our factories are ISO 9002 certified, which is primarily an international quality certification, that relates to consistency and standards of production and quality. In addition to that, from an ethical standard, our factories fully comply with the Labour Law of the PRC act of 2007 (also know as the Worker's Rights Act of 2008). This brings all of our factories in line with 'Western' labour standards, and is checked regularly."

And some info about their environmentally friendly materials (that's actually what the "Satan-resistant soles" refers to: "The leathers used in production in Portugal, China, and Vietnam are some of the best leathers found in Europe, as well as the rubber soles and other materials. In the last few years we have been using eco-friendly veggie-tanned leathers, and will be using more as more options in the industry become available. Leathers used in production in Peru and Mexico uses leathers from the factories' own tanneries that use local hides. Most of our soles are either Tunite soles, a rubber mixture produced in Portugal, or 100% biodegradable Havea Tree Latex, sapped from the Havea tree in Vietnam. Almost all of our shoes are cemented using a water-based glues, and our boxes are recycled materials printed with soy-based inks."

They do carry vegan styles as well, though they are limited and sell out quickly. Fluevogs are made to be easily resoled and repaired, and thus long-lasting (less wasteful).

Sheesh, I sound like I work for them. I don't, but I do have a couple of pairs I'm very happy with.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:50 PM on January 6, 2012

Darn Tough socks maybe? They guarantee their socks for life and are the only remaining sock manufacturer in Vermont. (I've picked up some of these on the cheap at Marshall's/TJ Maxx and they are awesome)
posted by jabes at 9:14 AM on January 7, 2012

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