What It Takes To Make Things Ethically The Clade Way

Nobody is perfect. No company is perfect. We definitely aren’t.


But it will help to define our ethics right up front. We see the ultimate goals of our company, Clade, as: living our values in such a way as to do what is virtuous, helping ourselves and others reach their full potential, and being rational – or if you like, having respect for the nature of things. We’re a for-profit company, and we want our company to flourish.


When it comes to making things ethically it’s as simple (and difficult) as producing according to an ideal. This ideal kicks in from the very beginning, let’s say, when we are conceiving of a garment, and continues all the way through manufacturing to its sale and the ownership experience.


And all of this depends on practical wisdom, which is the art of determining the right way to achieve the best end. Without the practical wisdom, or knowhow, (much of which we’ve had to gather via trial and error) all our virtue and morals would be admirable but useless in the tangible world.


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End-to-end ethical is easy and fun to say but in practice it is exceedingly difficult. I doubt that more than a few clothing brands in the past 100 years have undertaken this full-bore approach to ethics. Too difficult and expensive, not to mention fully counterculture to the past 100 years’ prevailing zeitgeist: make it faster, cheaper, I don’t care how, I don’t even want to know how.


At Clade, our motto is ‘permanence in style.’  This, at a time when permanence and beauty seem to be under sustained attack, seems a very odd thing to say out loud in the clothing business.


Nonetheless, the conception of "permanence" propounded by philosophers Roger Scruton and Roger Kimball dovetails seamlessly with the ethos of ethical fashion. Scruton, in "Beauty: A Very Short Introduction," underscores the alignment of beauty and sustainability, implicitly championing for a permanence that reveres both aesthetic and ethical qualities. Kimball, extrapolating on culture and permanence in "The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia," denotes that true value is derived from a steadfast adherence to cultural and aesthetic values that resist the ephemeral trends of the zeitgeist.


Marrying these philosophies with Clade’s motto, "permanence in style," there’s a potent alliance between the timeless aesthetic and enduring ethical values. This means crafting garments that not only stand the test of time in terms of design and quality but that also put forth a steadfast commitment to moral and ethical production practices.


Clade’s endeavors in clothing, therefore, weave together the perennial charm of its creations with a steadfast commitment to ethical production, ensuring that the elegance and moral rectitude of each piece are not transient, but are permanent.


  • We try to adhere to a design ethos of durability, utility, and beauty.


  • Clade will only use materials that regenerate the systems in play or at least help ply a way toward a regenerative, living systems industrial changeover.


  • Clade will only use producers and factories where human rights are safeguarded and worker quality of life guaranteed and audited frequently (and preferably firsthand, by us.)


  • If at the end of these requirements we’re able to make anything at all we add a nearly Euclidean test of design integrity: The thing should be so obviously a good thing that without any serenade or hype it speaks for itself.


If you’re still reading, we commend you. But then this is after all a discussion of ethics. Ethics has its end in what Aristotle referred to as eudaimonia, by which he meant life happiness or flourishing, via wise, rational, virtuous actions. The end Clade seeks is flourishing in business, where we do good and do well. The impact of this flourishing on workers, consumers, the planet is identical to its impact on the brand: they do good, and they do well.


Clade is about doing what’s right and making something that lasts. It's about stitching up garments that tell stories of good doings from start to finish, made in places that treat people well and using stuff that doesn’t harm our earth. And we reckon if we stay true, making threads that both do good and look good, we might just weave Clade into a brand that outlasts us all, standing firm in style and ethics alike.

What It Takes To Make Things Ethically The Clade Way