We are sorry we did not find out about this online boutique in time for Christmas, but let’s take a few minutes to explore this store that offers style with a conscience.
Jessica Althoff attended a conference in 2008 and was inspired by a panelist who said that we do not have to choose between our passions. The speaker mentioned that if you want to work for an organization that plants trees in the rain forest but love chocolate, work for a company that uses sustainably harvested cocoa. A light bulb went on, and this year, Future Standard launched.
Future Standard combines fair trade, organic, and ethical clothing with chic fashion. Althoff, however, also chooses each of the items based on their aesthetics and beauty. With the combination of fair and fashionable in mind, Future Standard has the goal of creating demand for quality clothing that does not compromise on ethics. So besides selling clothes made locally, organically, or with concern for workers in mind, the boutique aims to influence designers that clothing can be done without using chemicals or exploiting workers abroad.
One designer Future Standard carries is LTR Brands, led by designer Tiffany Parros. Based in Los Angeles, where its clothing line is also made, the company takes organic bamboo thread, weaves it into fabric, and uses organic dyes. The results are sleek clothing that drape well on the body, feel like pajamas, and do not leave a trail of guilt. A number of celebrities (yes, including the one who made news at the Betty Ford clinic) have been seen wearing LTR–and whatever you may think about our celebrity culture, such exposure can only help designers like LTR and stores, online and brick-and-mortar, like Future Standard.
For now the site focuses solely on women’s clothing and accessories including jewelry and handbags. Althoff does all the ordering on her own, carefully discerning what designers are genuine about their care for the environment and people. Most of the clothing featured on the site is made in North America, and designers are grilled about their practices and how they source their materials. If it is clear that a designer is making steps towards using more sustainable and ethically produced fabrics, Future Standard rewards them with more orders.
Althoff’s blog is also a good source to check on what is going on in the fashion industry; she brings up issues like the sandblasting of jeans, and offers more detail about the designers whose clothing ends up for sale on Future Standard.