Anthropologie – a Long Way to Go

ModernSprout Seed Kit at Anthropologie
ModernSprout Seed Kits at a local Anthropologie store.

A few weeks ago, I went hunting for ethical products in Anthropologie. If ethics and cost weren’t an issue, my house would be draped in Anthropologie. I fell in love with their global, Boho style years ago.

I had high hopes for Anthropologie. Their website occasionally stocks products from several well-known ethical brands, including Naja*, Coyuchi, Mercado Global, and Fortress of Inca. You can find fair trade baby toys, organic beauty items, and several made-in-the-USA clothing brands.

Unfortunately, when it comes to their retail shops, ethical sourcing is, shall we say, a growth opportunity for Anthropologie. The fair trade and organic items from the company’s website are nowhere to be found in stores.

Anthropologie stores do stock some made-in-the-USA pieces, although you’ll need to hunt for them. Left of Center, Lacausa, Michael Stars, and Love TanJane are a few of the American-made brands I discovered in my local shop. I also found a display featuring Baggu, a handbag brand that manufactures in the US and China and seeks to minimize waste through their designs.

American-made jeans  are one of the easier items to find in stores, with Paige Denim and Citizens of Humanity getting sizable rack space.

Handpoured soy candles from Candlefish at Anthropologie
Candlefish products are made from soy wax and hand-poured in Charleston, South Carolina.

When it comes to ethical linens and home goods, you’re mostly out of luck. Anthropologie’s gorgeous, globally-inspired textiles appear to be subject to standard manufacturing practices with no additional certifications. I would love to see Anthropologie add a line of GOTS-certified linens, similar to Target’s organic Threshold sheets*.

There are some bright spots of artisan-made products at Anthropologie stores, including hand-poured soy candles from South Carolina-based Candlefish and handmade Kingston Jewellery from Australia. On my last trip into the store I found lovely, non-GMO seed starting kits from ModernSprout.

The good news is that Anthropologie is doing some things right. I love that their website provides visibility to smaller, artisan-made brands, and I appreciate the USA-made apparel in their stores. I imagine stock becomes an issue with many ethical brands, who may not be able to supply Anthropologie’s 200+ store locations.

Considering their global aesthetic, I’m going to keep holding Anthropologie to a high ethical standard. I’m hoping we will see more sustainable brands and partnerships from Anthropologie in the future.

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