I began my transition to ethical shopping habits in 2009. Since then, I’ve found myself returning over and over again to the same few websites for the majority of my fair trade purchases. These are the sites I’ve found that strike the right balance for me of ethics, price, and style. I want to share them with you in the hopes that they’ll be as helpful to you as they have been to me!
Fair Indigo is my first stop for work-appropriate clothing. They’re a small company that works closely with carefully-chosen suppliers to ensure fair pay and working conditions and sustainable environmental practices. (Read more about their values.) Their styles are classic and cute but not super-trendy, which means I’ll be able to wear the items I buy from them for a long time. I’m especially fond of their organic cotton dresses (I own four of them). Their regular prices are a little out of my budget, but they have frequent sales that make shopping there more affordable.
SERRV is my first stop for gifts. I’ve gotten several Christmas and birthday gifts for relatives from SERRV over the years, and they have something for almost everyone, including a helpful Gifts for Him collection. Prices vary greatly by item, so it’s easy to find something to fit your budget. (In addition to gift shopping, I also visit every so often to look at this blue leather purse in hopes that it has gone on sale… alas, it hasn’t yet.) SERRV is a non-profit organization and has major ethical cred as a founding member of both the World Fair Trade Organization and the Fair Trade Federation.
Made in USA Forever
I haven’t written very much about Made in USA shopping, but it is an option I use when I’m having trouble finding a fair trade version of an item. Made in USA Forever is a small company that chooses its suppliers carefully, so you can be confident they are truly American manufacturers, as opposed to poorly regulated factories in one of the many American territories (which can still use the Made in USA label). I’ve gotten jeans and socks here, and they offer much more.
I have a love-hate relationship with American Apparel. Their manufacturing ethics are second-to-none, but my feminist self has a hard time with their retail staff strategy and their photography style, which often seems to be more about objectifying the model than showcasing the product. Despite my reservations, I visit their site a lot when I’m in need of something basic. I haven’t bought a ton from them, but it makes me feel good to know that products like ethically-made work pants are out there. Plus, they’ve started making shoes!
What are your favorite ethical and fair trade shopping websites? Share them in the comments!