But thankfully an app, recently rolled out in Europe, is now making it easier for shoppers to cut through the BS and shop according to their principles. Good on You brings together publicly available data on thousands of fashion brands and rates them out of five.
The free app, which contains data for more than 2,000 brands launched here in June. It's been around for a while elsewhere (in Australia since 2015 and the US and Canada since 2017), and already claims to reach around 120,000 ethical consumers each month.
The app's rating system ranks brands for their impact on people ( workers across the supply chain), the planet (use of resources and energy, carbon emissions, impact on water and waste disposal), and animals (use of fur, angora, down feature, exotic skins, and the like), using information from the brands' own reported data, certification schemes (including Fair Trade and Global Organic Textile Standard), from investigations by NGOs such as Greenpeace.
Good On You then gives brands one of five ratings: "We Avoid," "Not Good Enough," "It’s A Start," "Good," and "Great." In addition to searching for specific brands, the app allows you to figure out the most ethical brands for specific items (from dresses and jackets to eyewear and jewellery). Users can also set their preferences to filter results by rating, refining each of the three categories – environment, animal protection, and labour rights – on a spectrum from "less important" to "very important."
Fashion brands are increasingly being held to account on ethical issues – whether it's by supporting the notion of a circular economy, banning mohair and other animal products, or donating their profits to charities and their workers – and Good On You will only improve public awareness of these issues and pile even more pressure on companies.
How ethical are our favourite brands?
Adidas (4/5, Good)
& Other Stories (3/5, It's a start)
ASOS (3/5, It's a start)
Balenciaga (3/5, It's a start)
Cos (3/5, It's a start)
Free People (2/5, Not good enough)
Gucci (3/5, It's a start)
H&M (3/5, It's a start)
Louis Vuitton (2/5, Not good enough)
Lululemon (3/5, It's a start)
Maje (1/5, We avoid)
Nike (2/5, Not good enough)
Primark (3/5, It's a start)
Stella McCartney (4/5, Good)
Topshop (3/5, It's a start)
Uniqlo (3/5, It's a start)
Urban Outfitters (2/5, Not good enough)
Whistles (2/5, Not good enough)
Zara (3/5, It's a start)