Modcloth Flair Maiden Dress on left, $89.99 USD. Mata Traders Pretty as a Picnic Dress on right, $99.99 USD.

There is so much to love about Modcloth. Not only do they sell cute, retro-inspired clothes and quirky home decor, but they have an infinite supply of my fave day-dress, the fit and flare. And they are one of the few clothing companies, online or off, that are incredibly inclusive and body positive.

However, the quality of their clothes and their supply chain regulations leave much to be desired. Luckily for conscious fashionistas like us, ModCloth has two magical sections from which to choose: Vintage and Eco.

Switch Modcloth

I was once a die hard fan of Modcloth. I mean, who doesn’t love quirky, cute, retro-inspired clothes from a company as inclusive as they are?

However, I will say that now that I’ve gone sustainable with my wardrobe, Modcloth does throw up a few red flags for me. The first is where their product is produced. These beauties, for instance, are both made in China:

Modcloth Dresses Made in China
They weren’t cheap, and the one on the right, as much as I love it, is completely unlined.

And while China’s garment industry made not be the worst in the world when it comes to human rights violations, it ain’t good. And it has a terrible track record when it comes to pollution. And as you may have heard, the fashion industry is the third most polluting industry on earth.

Then there’s the problem of Modcloth’s supply chain statement. Just like ASOS’, which I examined last week, it’s designed to make us feel all warm and fuzzy about shopping with Modcloth. But as the article The Myth of the Ethical Shopper explained, these regulations and measures do little to change actual change, instead producing more gaming of the system. Also, there’s no way for these requirements to be enforced, since contractors can receive products such as cute dresses from sub-sub-sub-contractors and so Modcloth may not actually know who made the garments they’re selling.

For Modcloth Vintage/Eco

Thank god for Modcloth’s Vintage and Eco Sections. I would hate to completely stop supporting a company whose marketing images are such a breath of fresh air in a fashion environment (sustainable or not) filled with underage and impossibly thin, largely white models.

So here’s my new strategy: I intend to be very, very picky when I peruse Modcloth’s website. They do have a vintage section. You can quickly join it using your Facebook login, and then shop the most sustainable way: resale. Resale does not involve abuses of labourers since these garments already exist in the world, and it is environmentally much more sound since nothing new is produced, and you’re buying something that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

However, I’m a little disappointed with the number of items available in the Vintage section. It’s a site that I’ll have to keep an eagle eye on, and snap up anything truly magnificent.

Luckily, Modcloth also has an Eco-Friendly section. There’s a much widely selection here, and it’s true to Modcloth’s aesthetic of vintage-inspired. You can find garments from designers such as Mata Traders, producers of fair-trade fashions out of Chicago.

You also have the option on Modcloth to search by individual designer. And while I’m going to steer clear of ones such as Betsey Johnson, for which I can’t be sure of the garment’s provenance, I am definitely down with handmade goods from countries with fair labour laws, such as the bags from Brit-Stitch.


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