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16 Ethical Brands We Love

It’s no secret that the clothing and textile industries often utilize forced labor, human trafficking victims, and unfair working conditions to keep costs low and profit margins high. When the demand for cheap clothing is high, many large companies will compromise worker safety to satisfy this demand. Oftentimes, this means outsourcing the manufacturing to countries where they can operate under the radar or under less scrutiny from government regulation. 

It has always been clear – cheap items always come at a cost to someone else. 

On the flip side, in today’s “woke culture”, consumers are often scrutinized for feeding into this labor demand because they might not have the means to shop expensive fair-trade brands. Let’s face it, it can be hard and costly to support shops and brands that are doing the right thing! But each little step matters. Your dollar, and where you choose to spend it, matters! One purchase at a time… 

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 16 ethical brands we love! From home goods to accessories to apparel, each of these brands is going above and beyond to provide safe conditions and fair wages to their employees.

Take a look!

Photo courtesy of Able

Able

Bags, clothes, shoes, and jewelry

$ – $

Able started after women in Ethiopia, who were coming out of the sex trade, were in need of employment. This beautiful brand economically empowers women across the world to meet this need for safe employment. With a flagship store in Nashville, Able has manufacturing partners in Ethiopia, India, Portugal, and China.

Photo courtesy of AIM Apparel

AIM Apparel

Bags, apparel, and accessories

$ – $

We might be a little biased here, but AIM Apparel is one of our favorites! All products at AIM Apparel are made at AIM’s Employment Center by survivors of trafficking and those protected from exploitation. These handcrafted products are bringing freedom for women around the world! Shop using the link below to get 10% off your purchase!

Photo courtesy of BYTAVI

BYTAVI

Clothing and Handbags

$ – $

BYTAVI seamstresses are the heart behind this brand. Developed to provide employment to women in Cambodia, BYTAVI strives to produce quality items while encouraging their employees to develop a healthy work/life balance. On top of that, the fabric used is remnant, so each product is limited to the materials they have. Your one-of-a-kind piece is just waiting! Use code AIM10 for and exclusive 10% off when you shop!

Photo courtesy of Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi

Packs and bags, outerwear, and activewear

$ – $

Cotopaxi’s mission is to “make products that last – and have a lasting impact”. They do this by creating ethically responsible outdoor wear and supporting organizations that fight poverty. Focusing their efforts in Latin America, the Cotopaxi Foundation allows this brand to give a percentage of profits to multiple organizations.

Photo courtesy of Everlane

Everlane

Denim, Everyday wear, bags, accessories

$ – $

“… we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt“. Everlane does just that. Because they partner with ethical factories AND source great materials, everything about this brand is just right!

Photo courtesy of Fortress

Fortress

shoes

$ – $

We love how Fortress thinks: “We truly believe that the people who make our shoes are just as important as those who buy them.” These amazing shoes are handmade in Peru and this brand ensures fair wages, gender equality, and safe working conditions. That’s a win-win-win in our book!

Photo courtesy of Freeleaf

Freeleaf

Home Decor, Accessories, and Jewelry

$ – $

This home goods and accessory shop is providing employment and support to women who are at-risk or who have been previously exploited or abused in Asia. These one-of-a-kind products are knotted using ancient techniques and traditions. They are incredibly beautiful and intricate pieces! Use code AIM15 for 15% off your purchase!

Photo courtesy of Give A Damn Goods

Give A Damn Goods

Fashion, Home, and Gifts

$ – $

This fun, mini-market gives you the option to shop by your values! Collecting various small brands in one place, all with their own mission – sustainable, anti-trafficking, eco-friendly and more! Give A Damn Goods also highlights brands that are BIPOC owned, made in America, and Artisan made. Shop with code AIM15 to get 15% off!

Photo courtesy of Life Is Good

Life Is Good

Tees, Hats, and Accessories

$ – $

A brand that has been built around one stick figure, Life is Good is serious about social and environmental responsibility. Since 1994, the founders have been making people smile, relax, and embrace optimism through their apparel. Even more, the Life is Good Kids Foundation prepares educators and childcare professionals to inspire optimism in vulnerable kids.

Photo courtesy of Naadam

Naadam

Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories

$ – $

Naadam brings the comfiest cashmere sweaters to the everyday person by working directly with herders and sweater makers in Mongolia. “…fair for them – and for you.” We love the mission behind Naadam and the community they are building around these sweaters! And probably our favorite product… this adorable puppy sweater (don’t worry, they make apparel for people too).

Photo courtesy of Nisolo

Nisolo

Shoes and Accessories

$ – $

Nisolo is creating intentional designs while providing their producers with fair wages, , and healthy work environments. All of this PLUS their items are sold straight to consumers, without a middleman, so you receive the high quality at a fair price. Their shoes and accessories are the epitome of timeless!

Photo courtesy of PACT

PACT

Apparel, underwear, and home

$$

Made with “Earth’s Favorite Fiber, Organic Cotton“, Pact is creating clothing that is not only extremely comfortable, but each item is made in Fair Trade Certified factories. These pieces are good for the environment, good for the people making them, and – let’s be real – they’re good for us too!

Photo courtesy of Penh Lenh

Penh Lenh

Jewelry

$$

A Cambodia-based brand, Penh Lenh’s name means “whole”. As founder, Rachel Dodson explains, this name directly counters the Khmer word for someone who has been sexually abused or trafficked, which translates to “broken”. These delicate jewelry pieces are empowering women in this community by providing “dignified employment, skill training, and educational opportunities”.

Photo courtesy of Survivor Made

Survivor Made

Candles and Leather Goods

$$

A branch of Refuge for Women, Survivor Made is creating beautiful leather goods and candles AND providing employment opportunities for women who have been trafficked or sexually exploited. This mission of Survivor Made is one we can stand behind!

Photo courtesy of United By Blue

United By Blue

Apparel, Accessories, and Lifestyle

$$

As you may have guessed, United By Blue is on a mission to clean our oceans and waterways. For each product purchased, one pound of trash is removed! And to continue this trend of minimizing and eliminating waste, their products are made sustainably and facilitate a less wasteful lifestyle. Along with the planet, United By Blue is also standing up for people by committing to ethical manufacturing!

Photo courtesy of United By Blue

Wolven

Activewear and swimwear

$

This gorgeous brand is all about creating, sustainability, and celebrating differences. Each piece is made with the earth in mind, having as little an impact as possible. Additionally, they prioritize people throughout their supply chain. With factories in China and LA, Wolven ensures high standards for working conditions wherever their producers are! Fun Fact – Wolven has it’s own “Pre-Loved” option to sell/shop pre-owned, gently-used items, encouraging this sustainable option! 


* Price range was accurate as of February of 2022. Not including sale items.

What’s Next?

If you want to take the next step, check out Know The Chain to see which popular brands (not just clothing!) are excelling at ethical production… and which are not.

Do you have a favorite brand that we missed? Share it with us on ! Tag @aim_org or Agape International Missions.

 

EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original location.

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

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