Elizabeth Cline, the author of Over Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, says the problem has grown dramatically in the wake of global trade agreements, starting with NAFTA in 1994.

In the 1950s and ’60s, almost 100 percent  of clothing in the U.S. was produced domestically. By 1990, that changed to 50 percent. It is now a mere 2 percent.

So now, with ethically-made clothes making up a tiny fraction of 1 percent of the overall $3 trillion global fashion industry, something must change.  It really is a lifestyle choice. Particularly, if you have the ability to select the clothing, it will be more expensive, but the clothes will be better made (and just might make you feel good!)


What are your options?

Fortunately, Fair Trade certified clothing is typically only about 5% more expensive than similar items that don’t have the label. I want to feel good about the choices I make, whether it be the food I consume, the products I buy or the clothing I wear. Hopefully, more companies will continue their efforts and more consumers will choose positive clothing options.  I know I will still want stylish, trendy options (not always easy to find):

Sseko Designs uses fashion to provide employment and scholarship opportunities to women pursuing their dreams and overcoming poverty. Their shoes and handbags are stylish and fun, too.

sseko worthy apparel

JEWELRY: Look no further than Connect Goods for fabulous jewelry. They also have a wide variety of clothing and quilts.

jewlery fair trade

For men’s and women’s clothing take out Agnes and Lola is an online boutique that sells ethical contemporary fashion from designers across the African Diaspora. 

Unique garments for men and women People Tree has been making ethical clothing for more than 20 years.

little black dress ethical

Boho Hemp has great workout clothes for men and women.

ethical sports apparel

With a handful of ethical clothing sources, would you make the switch?