Ethical apparel Ethical apparel

If you want quality fashion that’s as affordable as it is ethical, then look no further than Costco’s Kirkland Signature range.

The way people buy clothing has changed considerably in the past decade. Where once a garment’s shape and fit were the driving purchase motivators, these days, shoppers are just as likely to consider the environmental and social impact of the label.

With business magazine Forbes recently reporting that shoppers all around the globe are increasingly considering fashion brands’ corporate responsibility and social consciousness when updating their wardrobes, it’s little wonder that more than two million Kirkland Signature dress shirts were sold in Costco warehouses last year.

While most famous for its quality and affordability, Kirkland Signature, Costco’s private label brand, is also held to stringent social and environmental benchmarks, making it as ethical as it is affordable. The result? Products that tick all the boxes and provide some serious customer satisfaction.

Man choosing shirt
Clothing on rack
Folded jeans

Quality control

While many Costco products are sourced from external brands, when it comes to clothing, Costco wants to have maximum control over the supply chain. The fashion industry is the world’s second worst polluter (after the oil industry), so brands like Kirkland Signature are trying to make a difference by producing well-crafted, affordable products that don’t sacrifice human rights or the environment.

“We have the unique opportunity to have control over the entire supply chain, including where the product comes from and under what conditions it is produced,” says Jennifer Cataldo, Costco men’s apparel buyer. “Our goals are to provide members with high quality products at the lowest possible price, [be] respectful to the people or animals that produce them, and be respectful of the environment in the way the products are produced, grown, harvested, processed, transported and packaged.”

This commitment to quality and ethics means Costco keeps a close watch on every step of the manufacturing process. “Annual factory and social audits are crucial to ensuring the factories can deliver the goods in the right time frame [while demonstrating] ethical employment and responsible sourcing,” Cataldo says.

While Kirkland Signature designers keep abreast of fashion trends, their real focus is on creating quality pieces that will stand the test of time. “As we are limited by the amount of items we can carry in our warehouses, it is most important to ensure we have core selling items with an element of fashion,” explains Tahlia Micallef, Costco women’s apparel buyer. “We work very closely with our manufacturing partners to source the right items for our members.”

Woman holding leaf
Man looking at shirts
Hands at sewing machine
Rack of dress shirts

Tried and tested

If you shop at the many fast fashion stores in Australia, you may be familiar with the frustration that comes with a new purchase hardly surviving a couple of washes before shrinking, pilling, stretching or fading. But this isn’t the case when it comes to Kirkland Signature.

“Our products go through stringent tests for a multitude of factors—washing being one of them,” Micallef says. “If the item is not up to scratch, back to the drawing board we go. We take pride in this brand to be of great quality.”

There’s an abundance of customer reviews online that show members’ enthusiasm and satisfaction with the wide range of items available. One of the most popular and ever-present pieces from the Kirkland Signature range is the men’s dress shirt, of which one member says, “Great fabric, well tailored, very low price. Would be excellent value at three times the price”.

If you’re after some affordable staples for your wardrobe that are ethically produced and designed to last, make sure to check out Kirkland Signature, available both in warehouses and online.


Originally published in The Costco Connection, Spring 2019. Pick up the latest copy at your local warehouse or read it online.