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Your Ethical Guide to Custom T-Shirts

Ethically Sourced Custom T-shirts

T-shirts are by far the most popular customized promotional item. We sell a lot of shirts! This popularity also means shirts have the most different ethical options available. Navigating these options and making an informed decision is a tricky task, especially if your job isn’t researching all day long. That’s why Ethix exists- we do the research so you don’t have to!

We pride ourselves on being the most accurate source of information about ethical custom T-shirts.

Customized T-Shirts – Available Union Made, Locally Made, Organic, As well as Fair Trade T-shirts

We want to be honest with you about the qualities and shortcomings of what’s currently available in the world of T-shirts, so we created this guide.

We made another guide you can download to learn more about the actual ordering process- check out our T-Shirt Ordering Checklist + Savings Tips.

And remember, we specialize in embroidery and screen printing with unionized shops, so your embellishments are also ethical.

If you have further questions about T-shirts, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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The Complete Ethix Merch Guide to Custom Printed T-Shirts

What You Can Get What Isn’t Available Yet… (or, anymore)
Union / Living Wage / Dominican Republic 
  • Union made, living wage, Alta Gracia brand shirts from the Dominican Republic, verified by the Worker Rights Consortium
Union / Living Wage / Dominican Republic / Organic 
  • While Alta Gracia is not available in organic cotton, as the brand grows then hopefully this can become an option!
Union / USA 
  • Union made in the USA tees in a variety of colors, including union labels from UFCW, GCIU, and Workers United
Union / USA / Organic 
  • Though many different union labels are available on many colors, right now there are no American made organic shirts from unionized factories in inventory- BUT special orders are possible for 1,500 minimum units!
Union / USA 
  • Women’s union made tshirts, including v-necks, scoop neck, and polos, as well as Bayside USA brand women’s union made tees
Union / USA / Organic / American Apparel brand 
  • We know American Apparel has many popular styles for women (and guys), and they offer some organic tees, but they are still not unionized.
Union / USA / Organic
  • For little ones who need tees: baby onesies locally made by union workers with organic cotton
Wait- an organic, union made locally item of clothing?! Yes, this is the only one, but you can only wear these onesies if you are approximately 3 to 18 months old…
Union / USA Union / USA / Popular Sports Brands 
  • You cannot stay sweat-free in Nike T-shirts while enjoying a sweatshop-free certainty
Organic / USA 
  • Organic, locally made T-shirts in many fashion-forward styles for men, women and kids
Organic / USA / Union / Alternative Apparel brand 
  • We know Alternative Apparel makes many labor and environmental guarantees, but we are not comfortable with their line without greater transparency
Organic / USA 
  • Organic, locally made T-shirts at low price points
Organic / USA / SUPER Cheap 
  • Ethical shirts cost more up front to manufacture- but you save on paying external costs later as the effects of sweatshops and climate chaos become clearer
USA / Lightweight / Budget Friendly
  • Colorful 5.4 oz. shirts made in America by the trusted Bayside brand
USA / Lightweight / Missy Size 
  • Right now there isn’t a great option for American made shirts that are lightweight and made for women in standard sizes- ask us though because this is constantly changing
Bamboo / USA
  • American made bamboo T-shirts, polos, and other high quality bamboo clothing
Organic Bamboo 
  • Right now the only way to make bamboo into T-shirts requires harsh chemical processes. So, while you can grow bamboo organically, the actual fabrics are not
  • USA made camouflage T-shirts and accessories, and theme printed sleeves
USA / Union / Camo 
  • A combination of union made camo in America is not currently in production
Organic / variety of countries in Africa 
  • Edun Live organic T-shirts brand is made in African factories with organic cotton. We have concerns about transparency, so they are “red flagged” on our website- please talk to us about this!
Organic / Made Internationally / Completely Transparent 
  • Brands like Anvil, Gildan, and Hanes still have many unanswered questions. Like Edun, they have eco offerings, but we draw the line and will not sell these shirts.
Union / USA / Recycled 
  • We are very excited to now offer USA Union Made 100% recycled cotton and PET T-shirts. These 50% recycled cotton and 50% recycled polyester (PET) are stronger and more durable than 100% (virgin) cotton tees!
What / is / your / ideal / T-shirt? 
  • If you don’t see a shirt type on our site- ask us! We may be able to find exactly what you need ethically made

Feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.

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