What are the LEAST toxic companies in the fashion industry?

Since the most popular post on here is talking about what we don’t like, well, understandably, I thought I’d start one listing my favorite former clients and why I loved working with them… This is only my personal experience as a first patternmaker and I do not currently work for any of these companies because I mainly worked freelance for them, in a state where freelancing has been outlawed.

  1. Suay Sew Shop- a darling little factory in a darling little part of LA that ONLY does upcycling and does it better than any other factory out there. Women-owned and run, this shop is 100% all about serving the greater good for the community. check them out at suayla dot com.

  2. Burning Torch- I love working with Karen, she’s got a great eye and has been upcycling since long before the cool kids caught on to it. Her team is also great to work with. Very chill venice beach vibe she manages to bring with her after slogging across town from Venice to Vermont/101. Sometimes she brings her dog too, which is always great. Dogs vastly improve any workspace.

  3. ALC- a really cool brand based in LA, also woman-owned and run. Andrea is a doll to work with, and her team are wonderful. I hope they’re still downtown, because too many companies grow out of DTLA and wind up in Hell, I mean Vernon. She does design “in the fitting” but she has a vision and is polite about making sure it comes out. I realized while working for her that designers who do that don’t necessarily hate my patterns, they just changed their mind about the design. For the most part, right?

  4. Xirena- The calmness of Tony, the owner, is what brings the chill to this beachwear brand. I’ve worked for him at other (now defunct) brands as well, and he is always calm and kind. Truly a dream to work with, which explains why a lot of his team have been with him since the start. The design team changed while I was there and his wife is the Artistic Director, so any designers coming in need to understand that it’s her line and her vision. The patternmaking team was so easy to work with, as were everyone else. A great example of how much a CEO affects the company culture. If more CEO’s were like Tony, the world would be a better place.

  5. Vince- I loved working there and wanted to stay. It felt so safe, professional, calm, cool, and collected. Yes, they crank out a lot of designs. But it’s all very simple and straightforward. Natalie Ratabesi was Design (Artistic?) Director at the time and she is AWESOME to work for. She had me come work for her at other companies too. OK, it’s a BIG company with very silo’d departments. And the head of TD has changed since I was there, so it might be a completely different experience. She’s at Ralph now and a dream to work for. She took a chance on me, letting me learn Gerber on the job when nobody else would. I have been playing with computers since I was 8, and already was a pro in Lectra, PAD, and Tukatech. So not knowing Gerber was just silly since entirely too many companies put up with that antiquated, overpriced garbage. So yeah, all the people I worked with, from design to production, were nice. It’s also in a chic part of Hollywood, close enough to Larchmont for lunch at Cafe Gratitude or Lemonade. Or you could eat in the office cafeteria which feels more like a cafe it’s so chic. It’s a LEED (gold or platinum, I forget which) building and it SHOWS!

  6. XCVI- on the other end of town, on the border of Vernon, in a frightfully dilapidated warehouse sits XCVI. The place looks like a sweatshop, but it’s not. The work is simple and straightforward, and designers are easy to work with. The AC works and people are nice, the general mood is pretty happy. Especially among the production sewers! This is a rare bird these days- a vertical operation. They design, develop, and produce their own line(s) as well as private label. And people all seem pretty happy to be there. Most of the patternmakers are Russian, so I did feel a bit out of place as I don’t speak Russian, so I couldn’t participate in the chit chat. The view was horrible, overlooking a dusty pile of broken concrete. So if you have asthma, this might not be a good place to work. But overall it was a pleasant group of people. I just wish they could get into a better building.

  7. Yeezy- Are you kidding? I’m not breaking the NDA. Loved it though. Not sure I’d go back now though based on things publicly stated.

Those are my favorites, and yes they’re all in LA. Which designers, companies, or managers have you worked for that you loved? What did you love about them?


I love that you shed some real positivity and good words. Thanks for sharing!


I would love for you to start strings on each of these companies so that other who have had positive experiences could share. :slight_smile:


LOL, good to know when we are job hunting.

I’m not sure about the state of the business right now bc of COVID, I know a lot of people had to be let go, but I worked at Tommy Hilfiger (US) in NYC as an apparel designer from 2012-2017 and it was the greatest experience of my career to date. The work was challenging/exciting, the people were FUN, and the PVH umbrella company is one of the most fair I’ve ever come across. Work from home, tons of vacation time, huge extravagant parties for holidays or state of the business meetings, and great healthcare packages. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say we all felt very valued by TH. Obviously a lot of things depend on your boss (mine was very micromanaging), so I ended up moving on. But generally my experience there was nothing but positive, highly recommend working for Tommy Hilfiger or any other PVH owned brand.


Kellwood, City of Industry.

wow! thank you @crybaby , I had no idea he’s such a great boss. There I go making an assumption, one I’m glad to see proved wrong!

Nice! Thank you for listing this!

I honestly LOVED my tenure at Ralph Lauren, had the chance to be remote for NYC for ten years, Ralph truly loves his team. Awesome benefits, great people, you are truly privileged to work for, and with, best in class, in the industry. Some changes past few years prior to covid, but 99% positive experience here. :slight_smile: :wink: