Counting the real cost.

Words by

Tara Smith

Have you ever wondered how much an ethical T-shirt really costs to make?

You know, the ones made in fair trade factories where the workers are paid a living wage and have equal rights?  

Ethical label The Road published a letter addressing just that. And it's vowing to sell T-shirts at the base ethical cost.

The label, which launched today, sells simple tees, dresses, body suits and underwear at accessible prices. Its aim is to prove that you shouldn’t have to choose between good design, strong ethics, and affordability.

It penned a letter detailing what goes into making an ethical T-shirt and why anything less than $13 is bullshit:

“Want to know how much it costs to make a tee? 

It’s $13.64. If you want the farmers and millers who grow the cotton to be healthy and happy; if you want its makers to get sick leave and a retirement pension; if you don’t want its dye to poison any rivers, a tee costs $13.64.

That’s what it takes to grow it, mill it, weave it, dye it, cut it, sew it and ship it the right way. 

$13.64 is before anyone at The Road gets paid. Not the designer. Not the person who built the website. Not the person who’s writing this right now. 

$13.64 is the absolute floor price on ethics. If we sold you tee shirts for $13.64, we’d go out of business. But we’re going to do it just this once. We’re going to wear that cost, because normally, it’s the people at the start of the supply chain that have to. 

If you ever see a tee shirt for this price again, we promise you it’s not the designer, or the person who built the website, or the person who wrote the product description that didn’t get paid. It’s the grower, it’s the sewer, it’s the kid who drank the water in the river the tee shirt poisoned. 

Ethics are not a luxury, but good values don’t come cheap.”



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