top of page

How To Find An Ethical Garment Manufacturer

by Hannah Badminton

We receive lots of inquiries from brands who want to create a positive social impact but have no idea where to start looking for an ethical garment manufacturer. The guide below will help your search!

First things first…

Be sure of what you are looking for. You will need to make sure your requirements for manufacturing match with a suppliers capabilities. What quantity, fabric/materials, price, certifications are you looking for? What services will you require; designing, pattern making, sourcing, etc.? These are all things you will need to think about when choosing an ethical garment manufacturer.

1. The Ethical Fashion Forum

The Ethical Fashion Forum is an amazing resource. Their SOURCE database lists ethical manufacturers all over the world and is a great place to start:

2. Certification Databases

If you’re dedicated to finding a manufacturer that is certified with a specific organization, you can look at their websites or contact them directly for lists of their members. WFTO and Fair Trade Federation are great examples, you can search through their membership database (and find us!). You can also learn what different certifications mean here.


There are third party companies, such as Supply Compass, who can help match you with the type of supplier you are looking for. More and more of these companies are popping up to help you find your perfect manufacturer.

4.Tradeshows and conferences

These places are a perfect networking opportunity to get to know people with indepth knowledge of the industry. All under one roof!

When deciding on an ethical garment manufacturer think about…

The country you want to manufacturer in.

Be aware of the political and social environment of the country. One of the key reasons you may want to go into production with a company is because they’re in a developing country, but it is worth noting that this can impact your project further down the line. Understanding the processes of the country and realizing that there could be situations outside of your manufacturer’s control is very important. This will help to ease possible tensions that could arise in the future and to keep a peaceful working relationship.

The product you want to create

Manufacturers have different strengths and levels of expertise, ask if the factory has experience making your type of product and whether they can show you examples.

The fabric and materials that you want to use

There may be a country that is known for a specific type of material or craftsmanship. For example, Dhaka fabric is traditional to Nepal and widely used by our customers as it supports the local industry. It also reduces the carbon footprint of your product by using fabric that is available locally.

* Remember, levels of English will vary. Communication is very important. Always remember to be respectful and patient. Developing a relationship built on trust and respect will mean both parties reap the best possible rewards.

How do I find out if they’re really ethical?

Ask a lot of questions!

Transparent or ethical companies normally encourage questions and will be happy to answer any that you may have. If they’re marketing themselves as an ethical garment manufacturer then they should be especially glad to answer any queries. Try to think of all of your questions in advance to save time for you and the company.