Looking for eco-conscious, worker-friendly clothing sources
December 14, 2018 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I am a clotheshorse. I have accepted this about myself. However, I am also in a position to be able to afford clothes that, through their process of being made, don't actively make the world a worse place. Do you have designers/shops/resources for me? My tastes and some examples of what I already like under the cut.

I love clothes, but do not love the garment industry. I have a couple shops I love, but would like to expand where I buy clothes, and also start supporting more small businesses/designers/makers.

(I already sew and knit many of my own clothes, and know the good spots to buy used clothing. The focus of my question is new or extensively re-made clothing, but I promise that's not my only source!)

My style: Bohemian Femme, I guess? I wear a lot of comfortable dresses or skirts and tops over leggings. I rarely wear pants. I like color and prints. I generally like fitted garments, but I'm not completely married to the notion. I'm about a size 12-14, hourglass figure. I love garments based on folk dress, with especial emphasis on Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia. For what it's worth, I'm a hair shy of 37 but generally read younger, and also do not care if I'm too old for a style I love.

Shops/Designers I already Love: I'm obsessed with Gudrun Sjödén lately, though pretty much just her Nordic-inspired designs. I love basically everything at Blue Platypus. I like the aesthetic at ZhenNymph, although most of her clothes aren't super-practical for me. (I'm also not in love with the fact that all of her models are very thin.)

I've also bought one-off garments and accessories from small makers on Etsy, but it's getting really hard to just browse and find good makers. (I used to love Conscious Clothing, but it looks like she's redoing her shop, and not much is available right now.) I'm not going to say budget isn't an issue, but I'm willing to pay more for clothes that I know aren't exploitative. Gudrun Sjödén is probably around the top of my budget, but I'd be willing to pay more for a really special piece.

Basically -- what are your recommendations for bright, colorful clothing lines that have ethical, worker-friendly, earth-friendly practices?
posted by kalimac to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I really like Sabrina Butterfly Designs in Edmonton. The fabrics are nice (often stretchy!), the designs are comfortable and flattering, and her pieces last forever- I still have some from the early 2000s. I also think her prices are pretty reasonable for handmade “slow fashion”.

posted by bighappyhairydog at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and I forgot the best part, lots of her dresses and skirts have pockets!
posted by bighappyhairydog at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2018

Best answer: You may like Karina and Ureshii.

I have the cactus print Karina dress in the Ruby style and I wish I could wear it every day.
posted by marfa, texas at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2018

Best answer: Alabama Chanin. Just what you are looking for, it is awesome.
posted by chocolatetiara at 7:25 PM on December 14, 2018

Best answer: Totally plugging a friend here: Salt Clothing is a small shop in Los Angeles that sources and builds all of their stuff ethically. (Materials are responsibly sourced, construction is 100% local to LA, employees are paid a good wage.) Check it out!
posted by Leeway at 7:28 PM on December 14, 2018

Best answer: Just a note to buy natural fibres whenever possible - synthetics add plastic particulate to the water supply when you wash them.
posted by stray at 8:33 PM on December 14, 2018

Best answer: My tastes run a little more basic than yours, but I've been trying to improve the ethics of my wardrobe too. Lately I've started buying clothes from Fair Indigo and Pact Organic. I recently got a few pairs of shoes from Oliberte and they're really nice.
posted by juliapangolin at 9:29 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Smoking Lily is my go to for this. High quality cloth, high quality sewing, really serious about sourcing their cloth from leftovers of runs by other others and not wasting. They do their sewing in-house, and the prices were a little bit of a shock for me in weaning myself off fast fashion, but definitely worth it.
posted by joyceanmachine at 5:24 AM on December 15, 2018

Best answer: Thief & Bandit and Nooworks are both amazing for fun prints and have good labor practices, as far as I can tell. Thief and Bandit is better on the environmental side.
posted by snaw at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2018

Best answer: I think Yana Dee ("ethical apparel made in Michigan") would be a good fit for you.
posted by Empidonax at 7:07 AM on December 15, 2018

Response by poster: Oh my God, thank you so so so much everyone! I had set out to mark best answer those that got my aesthetic, and honestly I love everything! (Smoking Lily is a tiny bit plain for my taste, but I love that they use offcuts and overstock so whatever that's what embroidery is for and it won't kill me to have a sensible black or navy dress.)

Special shoutouts for:

Alabama Chanin. I literally covered my mouth with my hand when their splash page opened, because that EMBROIDERY. Unfortunately their embellished pieces are far outside my budget, as they should be, but I'll definitely use them for inspiration and buy their stuff that is in my budget.

Salt. This was, I think, what I was secretly hoping for -- people reccing small shops that they're friends with. I am 10000% here for this.

Honestly, though, I love all of these, thank you all so so much, I feel much better about growing my wardrobe ethically. I've been thinking of making this post for awhile, and so glad I finally took the time. If you're coming to this thread after I post this, please keep adding links!

(Seriously. If it is five years from now and you/your friend just opened up a shop that looks like Suzanne Bartsch and a nisse had a baby, memail the link!)
posted by kalimac at 11:21 AM on December 15, 2018

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