J.crew launches fair trade denim

by Stephen Garner

Fair Trade USA has announced the beginning of a long-term partnership with the J.Crew Group and the introduction of J.Crew and Madewell’s first-ever Fair Trade Certified collection. Available at both retailers’, the collection includes over 30 men’s and women’s denim styles ranging from $60 to $128.

With a strong focus on empowering factory, farm, and store employees, J.Crew Group’s partnership with Fair Trade USA will create an environment where people are encouraged to develop and sustain a lasting impact at work, at home and within their communities. 

“We’re excited to partner with Fair Trade USA as we expand our sustainability practices,” said Libby Wadle, president of Madewell. “Through our work with Fair Trade USA, we’re empowering workers, ensuring fair conditions and equal economic opportunities for everyone who touches J.Crew and Madewell products.” ​With a robust plan in place to grow their Fair Trade program, the J.Crew Group aspires to be one of the biggest apparel participants.

Madewell Men's

“It is so refreshing to see companies like J.Crew and Madewell step up to offer a better denim product that is not only beautiful and on trend, but also eco-friendly and socially responsible” added Maya Spaull, vice president of apparel and home goods at Fair Trade USA. “Denim is a staple wardrobe item around the world, and is an iconic part of American fashion culture. We all wear it, yet often do not stop to think about where it comes from and who made it.” 

Since the launch of Fair Trade Certified coffee 20 years ago, Fair Trade USA is now the leading market-based model of sustainable production, trade and consumption in the United States. The nonprofit organization partners with over 1,300 brands to certify more than 30 different product categories. The first apparel and home goods factories were certified in 2013, and with 48 certified factories (plus an additional 39 in the pipeline) it is one of the fastest growing categories — directly benefiting over 77,000 factory production employees in 13 countries. The program has generated well over $7.5 million in additional income for factory staff and their families. 

“The products we buy and the clothes that we wear connect us to each other around the globe,” said Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “Fair Trade connects our purchases to impact. This monumental initiative from J.Crew and Madewell uplifts thousands of employees involved in apparel production, and also empowers shoppers in the United States to select and wear styles that were created in line with their values. ​It sets a positive example for the entire industry.”

Madewell Men's