Is ModCloth Ethical? Brand Breakdown & Ethical Alternatives

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ModCloth is an indie women’s fashion brand creating unique, vintage-inspired clothing and accessories in sizes XXS-4X. However, we ask the question, Is ModCloth ethical?

The brand promotes itself to celebrate women, ensuring diversity and inclusion in its team and models, and not photoshopping its images.

ModCloth retails clothing from other brands, including Girlfriend Collective and more, but in this article, we will focus on providing information about ModCloth’s own clothing line.

The brand is currently owned by Noggin.inc who acquired ModCloth from Go Global Retail in 2021. Before Go Global Retail, ModCloth was owned by (now redundant) Walmart subsidiary, Jet.com from 2017 to 2020.

Let’s jump in.

ModCloth Sustainability Rating

Is Modcloth ethical?
We rate ModCloth an overall poor score of 1/5 due to a lack of brand transparency and information, and limited use of sustainable materials.

The positives: There weren’t many positives to report from a sustainability point of view due to the lack of information and absence of sustainable materials. We did find some use of sustainable materials such as recycled polyester. However, this was in minimal quantities.

The Negatives: The brand doesn’t enclose any information about its partner factories or suppliers. Therefore, it is difficult to tell whether workers are paid a living wage and have safe working conditions. In addition, ModCloth doesn’t use many, if any, sustainable materials or recycled materials.

Does ModCloth Use Sweatshops? Where are ModCloth Clothes Made?

While ModCloth promotes itself as an inclusive and diverse brand on its website, the clothing brand fails to mention who and where it makes its clothes or the working conditions in its factories, including pay and safety.

The brand specifies that the factories it partners with are subject to third-party audits to ensure it meets its code of conduct. However, ModCloth does not disclose its code of conduct or specify the outcome and results of these audits.

The brand specifies the product is “Imported” on many of its products. We found a tiny percentage of ModCloth clothing labeled “Made in the USA”; however, this was a small portion of its overall collection.

What Materials Does ModCloth Use?

The majority of ModCloths clothing is produced from the following materials:

Cotton

We found cotton formed the bulk of the material used, and we could not find any ModCloth clothing from organic cotton, recycled cotton, or BCI cotton.

Cotton requires a lot of water, fertilizers, and pesticides to grow. The cotton crop depletes the soil, and harmful pesticides can leech from the soil and pollute waterways and rivers, negatively affecting human health and aquatic life.

Alternative cotton farming methods such as organic cotton or cotton sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) are less environmentally damaging to source cotton.

Polyester

We found some use of recycled polyester in ModCloths clothing, which is a step in the right direction, although the brand still uses large amounts of virgin polyester.

Is ModCloth Carbon Neutral?

No ModCloth is not a carbon-neutral certified brand. The fashion brand also doesn’t provide any information about its carbon footprint or whether it has any initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.

Is ModCloth Cruelty-Free?

Again, there is very little information regarding ModCloth’s animal policies.

The brand features wool products, but there is no information on whether the wool has been responsibly sourced.

We did not find any fur or leather-containing products in ModCloths’ range.

Ethical Alternatives to ModCloth

We’ve highlighted some sustainable alternatives to ModCloth, using ethical practices and sustainable materials. The following alternative brands are transparent about where their clothes are made and use a combination of eco-friendly and sustainable materials.

1. Reformation

Reformation vintage inspired dress, ethical alternative to ModCloth

Sustainability: Climate-neutral certified brand Reformation, create ethical fashion from sustainable materials including organic cotton, Tencel, and deadstock materials.

Best For: Formal Dresses, sustainable jeans

Ships to: Worldwide

ethical alternatives to ModCloth

2. Christy Dawn

Sustainability: Christy Dawn creates dreamy vintage-inspired clothing made ethically from organic cotton, regenerative cotton, and deadstock materials.

Best For: Organic cotton dresses

Ships to: Worldwide

3. Big Bud Press

Big Bid Press flower jumpsuit alternatives to ModCloth

Sustainability: Los Angeles-based clothing brand creating quirky, unique clothing ethically. Big Bud Press is a sweatshop-free brand that independently audits all its suppliers.

Best For: Jumpsuits, 70s style clothing

Ships to: the US & International

4. Thought

Thought UK ethical alternative to ModCloth

Sustainability: UK-based ethical clothing brand Thought, use natural and sustainable materials, including organic cotton, bamboo, and fair trade cotton.

Best For: Womenswear, Blouses, shirts, and pants

Ships to: the UK & International

Thought Clothing London

5. People Tree

People Tree Dress sustainable stores like ModCloth

Sustainability: World Fair Trade certified ethical brand creating clothing from natural and eco-friendly materials, including soil association certified organic cotton.

Best For: Sustainable denim, organic cotton dress styles

Ships to: the UK & International

People Tree Dress sustainable store like ModCloth

6. Mata Traders

Sustainability: Fair Trade Federation member, creating ethical clothing and accessories in conjunction with fair trade cooperatives worldwide.

Best For: Women’s dresses, women’s casual and formalwear

Ships to: Worldwide

7. Beyond Retro

Sustainability: Vintage clothing prevents clothes from landfill

Best For: Unique vintage pieces

Ships to: the UK & International

Wrapping Up: Is ModCloth Ethical?

There are many other stores like ModCloth, creating vintage inspired clothing for women ethically, and with eco-friendly materials.

If you enjoyed discovering sustainable brands in this article, check out our other guides on affordable sustainable clothing, sustainable sweaters, and eco-friendly jumpsuits.

We’ve also analysed other brands including Minga London, Uniqlo, Free People and more, make sure to check them out.

Bethany
Bethany

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: 186

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