Ethical Retailer Watch: Boden
Boden came into my sphere of awareness right around the time I was thinking about making the switch to ethical clothing consumption. Strangely, I didn’t discover them through a search for ethical researchers: no, Boden introduced itself to me, through means of an unsolicited catalogue.
I don’t remember what it was that made me think that this retailer might be different from others, somehow, but I quick trip to their website revealed that—unlike most retailers—Boden does, in fact, have a statement about their ethical practices and ecological impact.
Now, as an educated (and web-savvy) young woman, I am quite aware that just because someone says something on the internet, that doesn’t mean that it’s true—and in the case of “ethical” fashion, there’s even more incentive to utter meaningless statements about standards and ecological impact (greenwashing, anyone?).
However, there are some things that make me think that Boden is on the up and up—specifically the fact that they’re members of the Ethical Trading Initiative, self described as “a ground-breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations…[working] in partnership to improve the working lives of people across the globe who make or grow consumer goods.”
Which is, shall we say, not too shabby.
On eco-friendly terms, Boden is a little more vague. Though they have a statement about ecological impact, it seems mostly concerned with the fact that they print a paper catalogue, with no mention of how eco-friendly their fabrics are. However, good labor standards is a good start—and certainly far beyond what I know about most companies out there.
Now, with regards to the clothes: I’m not going to say that Boden’s prices are cheap, because they’re not. But they’re not mindblowingly expensive, either: they’re about in the range of Banana Republic. Also? I think the clothes are pretty cute—and definitely good for the “classy grown up lady” look I’m going for.
There’s really only one concern I have (well, aside from the vague eco-friendly status): I fear that these clothes might actually be too long for me—and given their price point, I would like to know that they’re going to fit, and fit well, before I buy them. (Call it the tragedy of buying online.)
But I’m tempted to purchase one of their more forgiving items—a cardigan, perhaps—and see how it goes. If the fit seems good to me, I might move on to one of their dresses. We’ll see. Regardless, I’m pleased to be able to add a new company to my list of places that seem safe to support. One down, several thousand to go.