The J.Crew Group on Tuesday announced a long-term commitment to working with Fair Trade USA, starting with a new Fair Trade Certified collection as part of the mission of its Madewell and J.Crew brands to introduce more sustainable product, and create a supply chain that puts workers first.
J.Crew said “to ensure secure working conditions and equal economic opportunities for everyone who touches J.Crew and Madewell products,” it has selected Vietnam’s Saitex Factory as its first supplier for Fair Trade Certification and is looking into additional factories to certify in the near future.
“With a deep focus on empowering factory workers, farmers and store associates, J.Crew Group will foster an environment, in partnership with Fair Trade USA, where people are empowered to generate and sustain lasting impact at work, at home and in their communities,” she said.
To kick off the partnership, J.Crew will launch 18 styles of denim and Madewell 16 styles, across men’s and women’s denim. The goal is for the J.Crew and Madewell brands to offer one of the largest Fair Trade Certified Apparel assortments to their customers in the coming years.
The Fair Trade Certified denim styles are part of the brand’s eco collection created in partnership with Saitex and Milan’s Candiani denim mill. The collaboration process uses 65 percent less chemicals and 75 percent less water than conventional fabric.
Saitex, known for being the denim supplier for Everlane, focuses on renewable energy, wash efficiency, air drying and turning its manufacturing waste into bricks for affordable housing. It is a zero-discharge facility and has reduced its energy consumption by 13 million kilowatts of power annually. The manufacturing operation produces premium denim and over-dyed products, with a capacity of more than 6 million garments per year.
Fair Trade USA has been certifying apparel and home goods factories since 2013 and it’s one of their fastest growing categories, with 48 certified factories currently benefiting more than 59,000 factory production workers in 13 countries. Through 2017, the program generated more than $7.5 million in additional income for factory workers and their families.