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A grey knitted sweater with white text overlaid reading J.Crew above a highlighted sad emoji face.
20 Sep
A grey knitted sweater with white text overlaid reading J.Crew above a highlighted sad emoji face.

How Ethical Is J.Crew?

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American brand J.Crew is known for its preppy styles for the whole family, but how ethical is J.Crew? We rate the brand “Not Good Enough” for its lack of action. This article is based on the J.Crew rating published in March 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

The popular fast fashion marketplace under the microscope

J.Crew is known as a favourite store of former US First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded in 1983, the American brand offers preppy and colourful staples for women, men, and children. J.Crew believes “great style begins with great design”, but how do its designs impact the planet, people, and animals? How ethical is J.Crew?

Environmental impact

Our planet rating evaluates brands based on the environmental policies in their supply chains, from carbon emissions and wastewater to business models and product circularity. Here we rate J.Crew “Not Good Enough”. The brand uses some lower-impact materials including recycled materials, but that’s where the positive news ends. There’s no evidence it’s taking meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals or water use in manufacturing, nor does it appear to be taking actions to protect biodiversity in its supply chain. A pretty dirty result from a brand with such a clean image. 

Labour conditions

Workers’ rights are central to our people rating, which assess brands’ policies and practices on everything from child labour to living wages and gender equality. Here we also rate J.Crew “Not Good Enough”. There’s no evidence J.Crew provides financial security to its suppliers, which can result in poor working conditions and wages. The brand also doesn’t appear to support diversity and inclusion in its supply chain, nor does it assure workers are paid a living wage. While its Code of Conduct covers the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles, its lack of transparency and action here means it can’t achieve a higher score.

Animal welfare

Brands’ animal welfare policies and, where applicable, how well they trace their animal-derived products are the focus of our animals rating. J.Crew is making some effort for animals, so it gets a middling score of “It’s a Start” here.  It has a formal policy aligned with the Five Freedoms of animal welfare but no clear implementation mechanisms in place. It appears to use leather, shearling, exotic animal hair, and silk, and it uses recycled wool in some of its wool products. It doesn’t appear to use down, fur, angora, or exotic animal skin, which is good, but there’s no evidence it traces any animal-derived materials to the first production stage, so the welfare of both animals and workers can’t be guaranteed.

Overall rating: ‘Not Good Enough’

Overall we rated J.Crew ‘Not Good Enough’ as the brand has very few robust and tangible environmental, labour, and animal welfare policies. Even though J.Crew’s website has extensive descriptions about steps to improve its impact on the environment and workers, they don’t communicate sufficient information about the brand’s policies, nor do they concern the majority of the brand’s line, which is why some people could consider that J.Crew is greenwashing.

Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

See the rating.

Good Swaps

Discover some of our favourite “Good” and “Great” alternatives to J.Crew below. These better brands are making concerted efforts for people, the planet, and animals in production and are deserving of a spot in your responsibly-curated wardrobe when you need to shop new.


Rated: Good
People dressed in outfits by We-ar4.

WE-AR4 is a US based design-to-wear essentials brand for an effortless style. Founded by fashion industry veterans, it merges intelligent design and uncompromising style. Rather than developing new materials, it rescues existing ones, choosing to “thrift” high-quality leathers and luxury textiles left over from other brands, giving them new life, and uses certified lower-impact materials.

Find the range in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop WE-AR4.

Artknit Studios

Rated: Good
Someone dressed in top and bottoms by Artknit Studios.

Artknit Studios creates timeless knitwear in 100% lower-impact materials, made responsibly by Italian makers. Its partners are committed to anti-waste practices using only certified and locally-sourced fibres, true to the brand's motto of "buy less, buy better".

Find items offered in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Artknit Studios.

Shop Artknit Studios @ Urbankissed.


Rated: Great
Asian woman wearing red sleeveless skivvy dress by A.BCH.

A.BCH is a Melbourne-based, Australian-made fashion label for individuals who care about garment provenance. It utilises renewable, organic, and recycled materials.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL, or customise to fit you.

See the rating.

Shop A.BCH.


Rated: Good
Someone in dark blue collared shirt by Carpasus.

CARPASUS is a Swiss menswear brand that makes fine shirts, ties, socks, and pocket squares. CARPASUS uses GOTS certified cotton and manufactures locally to reduce its carbon footprint. It also traces its supply chain and ensures workers are paid a living wage.

Find most products in EU sizes 36-46.

See the rating.



Rated: Good

JAN 'N JUNE is a more sustainable, fair and transparent fashion label from Hamburg. Created by young female entrepreneurs who could not find what they were looking for and decided to make it themselves, this minimalistic, super stylish fair fashion label succeeds in being more sustainable and affordable at the same time.

Find sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.


Shop JAN 'N JUNE @ Earthkind.

Nina Rein

Rated: Good

Nina Rein is a German brand that creates more sustainable business attire in Europe under fair conditions. The brand's aesthetic is clean, feminine, and colourful, and each piece includes little details everyone loves.

Find most items in sizes 34-44.

See the rating.

Shop Nina Rein.


Rated: Good
Close view of someone in shoes by COG.

Based in France, COG is a footwear label that creates more sustainable, vegan shoes from 100% recycled materials, including natural corks, used cotton scraps, end-of-life rubber, and plastic bottles fished out of the sea.

Offered in sizes EU 35-46.

See the rating.

Shop COG.

Shop COG @ Immaculate Vegan.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
A man wears navy jeans and a blue top

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year. MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton.

MUD Jeans are available in a range of sizes, usually from W25 L30-W33 L32 for women and W28 L34-W36 L34 for men.

See the rating.

Shop MUD Jeans.

People Tree

Rated: Great

Conscious fashion pioneer and leader People Tree is a seriously more responsible brand. It uses lower-impact materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct.

Find most products in UK sizes 6-18.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree EU.

Shop People Tree @ Wearwell.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use the directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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