Is Mate The Label Ethical? Brand Analysis + Alternatives

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Mate the Label is a brand popular for its use of organic materials and sustainable clothing, but does it show the same care to its workers? In the following article, we’ll discuss the question, “Is Mate the Label ethical?”.

Mate is an American clothing brand founded in 2013 by Kayti OConnell Carr. The brand creates organic clothing essentials like t-shirts, sweatshirts, and dresses, free from non-toxic materials.

Is Mate the Label Fast Fashion?

No, Mate, the Label isn’t a fast fashion brand. Instead, the brand creates small collections of sustainable basics from high-quality materials and sells them at a price that reflects the actual cost of the garments. In addition, the brand releases limited seasonal collections and doesn’t constantly create new clothing based on rapidly changing trends.

What Materials Does Mate The Label Use?

Mate uses sustainable materials like organic cotton, linen, and Tencel for its clothing.

Is Mate the Label ethical?

Organic cotton is a more sustainable and ethical alternative to conventional cotton, as it’s grown without pesticides and uses around 88% less water to produce than virgin cotton.

Conventional cotton farming is notorious for exploiting workers in the supply chain, with many cotton farms using forced or child labor. On the other hand, organic cotton ensures that high social standards are met throughout the farming process.

The brand also uses natural nontoxic dyes that don’t contain any harmful chemicals.

Is Mate The Label Carbon Neutral?

Yes, Mate the Label is a climate-neutral certified brand. In addition, the brand has achieved zero carbon emission in its scope 1 supply chain and is investing in reducing and offsetting its scope 2 and scope 3 emissions.

The brand plans to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by:

  • Working to source all of its cotton locally in the USA.
  • Introducing more recycled cotton into its collections.
  • Allowing customers to recycle their clothing with Mate ensures no waste to landfills or incineration.

Is Mate The Label Ethical?

Mate the Label provides transparent information on the factories it works with. The brand currently works with five factories; four are within a 17-mile radius of the Mate head office with Los Angeles in the USA, and one is based in Peru.

Mate also has a code of conduct its factories must follow, which specify suppliers should use no child or forced labor, and that any hours over 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week are paid overtime.

The brand also works with natural dyes and specifies in its code of conduct that no employee should be exposed to hazardous chemicals.

The brand specifies that its suppliers must meet city minimum wages (currently $15 per hour in LA) but doesn’t specify that workers must be paid a living wage.

Mate says it visits its factories regularly, but it doesn’t disclose if its LA factories are certified or audited by any third-party auditors.

Mate the Label works with a supplier in Peru which is Fair Trade certified, and workers are paid a living wage.

Where are Mate The Label’s Clothes Made?

Mate the Label creates most of its clothing in Los Angeles, California. In addition, the brand works with a Fair Trade supplier in Peru which produces its knitwear.

Is Mate The Label Cruelty-Free?

Yes, Mate is entirely vegan and cruelty-free. The brand doesn’t use animal products and instead uses natural, plant-based fabrics.

Does Mate The Label Have A Clothing Recycling Program?

Yes, Mate has partnered with SuperCircle to offer customers the chance to recycle their old Mate clothing into new products in return for store credit.

Unfortunately, Mate has yet to extend the recycling program to all types of clothing, and it only currently accepts Mate the Label clothes.

Ecothes Opinion: Is Mate The Label Ethical?

Is Mate the Label ethical?
Overall we rate Mate the Label a 4/5. We consider Mate a sustainable and ethical brand, and we would happily support the brand.

What we liked:

✔ The use of only organic and sustainable materials and natural dyes.

✔ Mate works with Los Angeles factories to ensure ethical standards and carbon reduction in its supply chain.

✔ Mate partners with a Fair Trade-certified factory in Peru.

✔ The brand has started a recycling program to return old Mate clothing.

What we didn’t like:

❌ The brand doesn’t specify its suppliers must pay a living wage (it only specifies suppliers must meet minimum wage)

❌ The brand doesn’t specify whether any external audits occur in its factories.

Sustainable Brands Like Mate The Label

If you’re already a fan of Mate the Label, check out our favorite sustainable fashion brands like Mate below.

1. Pact

Pact ethical alternatives the Mate the Label

Sustainability: GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton clothing made in Fair Trade-certified factories

Ecothes Rating: 4.2/5

Best for: Affordable organic cotton casual wear

Ships to: Worldwide

Pact organic cotton long sleeve t shirt

2. For Days

For days brands like mate the label

Sustainability: Female-founded Zero-waste clothing brand using recycled materials

Ecothes Rating: 4/5

Best for: Sustainable basics

Ships to: the US & International

For Days sustainable brands like Mate the label

3. Reformation


Sustainability: Los Angeles-based brand creating sustainable fashion from deadstock materials and natural fabrics

Ecothes Rating: 4.5/5

Best for: Dresses, blouses, denim

Ships to: Worldwide

Reformation sustainable fashion

4. Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective ethical clothing

Sustainability: Sustainable activewear made from recycled materials

Best for: Recycled leggings, crop tops

Ships to: Worldwide

Girlfriend collective

Wrapping Up: Is Mate The Label Ethical?

Overall we believe Mate is an ethical brand and is taking steps to ensure fair and safe treatment of the workers in its supply chain.

If you enjoyed this article, we think you’ll love our article on the worst fast fashion brands to avoid.


Bethany Worthington BSc (Hons) (she/her) is the Sustainable Fashion Editor and Co-founder of Ecothes. She has a passion for the environment, and a long love of all things clothing, and combines those two interests with Ecothes. In her free time she loves dancing, hiking in the countryside, and laughing with friends.

Articles: 207

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