When Eric Odier-Fink ’93 says that fashion shouldn’t hurt, he’s not talking about whether a garment feels too tight or too scratchy. He’s the co-owner of Justice Clothing, an online apparel company, and believes clothing shouldn’t harm the workers who make it.
His goal: to connect consumers with factory owners who don’t run sweatshops.
“If you don't mind buying clothing made by slaves, children, indentured servants or workers who are paid pennies a day, we are not your kind of store,” Odier-Fink says of the business that he and his wife, Mandi, began in 1996 when they were students at the University of Michigan.
Over the years, the feedback has been increasingly positive. As one consumer told them in a letter, “I look forward to trying on my new slave-labor-free jeans and spreading the word!” Active in labor and social-justice movements—and encouraged by the connections they have been making—the Odier-Finks continue work with unions and the AFL-CIO, “giving a hard time to those who think people are expendable in the pursuit of profit.”
The couple, who now live in Bangor, Maine, recently took the next step and opened a bricks-and-mortar version of their store for consumers with a conscience. If you can’t get there from here, visit them online.