Suggestions for snappy "ethical" office attire
February 27, 2008 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find "ethical" work clothes, suitable for an office job in London, UK?

My Howies jeans and t-shirt, and my No Sweat trainers are great for the weekend, but what can I wear during the week? My workplace enforces the typical "smart" look: suit with or without tie; long-sleeved buttoned shirt; yadda yadda. I've got the shoes sorted: Vegetarian Shoes are perfect. But what about the rest? I don't need a full suit (although that would be good), I really need trousers, shirts, a good summer raincoat, and a nice smart jumper or two.

Everyone's definition of "ethical" varies, so I guess I'm looking for any combination of:

# vegetarian
# organic
# Fairtrade

...but feel free to throw anything similar into the mix.

Everything I've found on the web has been either casual-wear, or disappointingly bland. So perhaps I should add "snappy" to the list of criteria above.

If there really isn't a specialist provider of this sort of clothing, can anyone recommend a high-street outfitter in the UK (preferably with a branch in London) that has a half-decent ethical policy? Most of them are transparent gloss-over efforts.

(To pre-empt a little: I'm not really looking for a debate about the whys-and-wherefores of my purchasing decisions :-) just sound options.)

Thanks in advance!
posted by ajp to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hire a local seamstress/tailor to make clothing. Order fabric from somewhere such as
posted by mightshould at 9:41 AM on February 27, 2008

Fair Indigo seems to fit the bill. They are an American company, but they do ship internationally. Although it does a run a little towards soccer-mom, instead of hip professional, I think they offer a few smart pieces for work.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:52 AM on February 27, 2008

It's not exactly rock and roll, but M&S does stuff which is organic/fairtrade. From a quick look it seems they have some jumpers and trousers.
posted by patricio at 10:01 AM on February 27, 2008

Seconding having the clothes tailored locally, but I would work with your tailor to find the cloth, different fabrics work best for different types of clothes. A suit jacket is primarily made of wool and some of the world's best is made in the Britain from British wool.
posted by atrazine at 12:48 PM on February 27, 2008

Response by poster: M&S and Fair Indigo seem possibilities for the basics, but they are a little bland for my liking. Still, I wouldn't expect anyone to second-guess my stylistic preferences :-)

Local tailoring would be great, but probably a little expensive and time-consuming.

Looks like there's a niche in the market here!
posted by ajp at 6:47 AM on March 2, 2008

Response by poster: In case anyone finds this thread of use, here are some manufacturers I've found. I haven't thoroughly looked into their credentials, but at first glance they seem to be in the right ballpark.


A little more casual, but potential:
People Tree - might be good for office summer shirts.
posted by ajp at 6:58 AM on March 12, 2008

Nau is amazing. Very high quality, really comfortable, excellent customer service, but honestly, cut for athletic/slim types. Although they cover a range of sizes, they are not roomy.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:29 AM on March 21, 2008

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