In honour of Fair Trade Month we are diving into some fast fashion giants and their ethics. Today it is all about the fashion giants: Zara + H&M

Style Under Scrutiny

Mar 12, 2024Madison Barefield0 comments

All about the fashion giants: Zara + H&M and how to fight exploitation

According to Good On YouZara received a rating of "Not Good Enough" on all fronts.

While the brand is somewhat transparent they have made little to no progress on payment of a living wage across its supply chain. We will give Zara this, they are likely to publish a list of suppliers in the final stage of production, some information about the findings of their supplier audits, as well as some information about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association. But we agree with Good On You: For a company with such a huge profit margin, this simply isn’t good enough.

When it comes to environment, Zara has made some progress launching a "Close The Loop" repair and reuse program. However, as Good On You says, it is important to remember that Zara has fast fashion traits such as on-trend styles and regular new arrivals. This business model is inherently harmful to the environment.
Person who suffered from exploitation shows a "I made your clothes" sign.
Meanwhile, H&M scores slightly higher with "It's A Start." Good On You found that H&M has made some improvements on its labour policies in recent years, but overall its workers are not treated ethically enough.
Following the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 H&M made some progress on health & safety, but they also promised to pay 850,000 workers a living wage by 2018, a promise they have continually failed to meet.
While the brand does have a project to improve wages, there is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage across its entire supply chain, despite promises to the contrary. On another bad note, almost none of H&M’s supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights.
When it comes to environment H&M, like Zara, started a clothing recycling program. They were also among the first fashion giants to stock a "conscious" sustainable fashion collection. On the other hand, the majority of the materials it uses are not eco-friendly, and the brand still operates under an unsustainable, fast fashion business model.
People in a wreckage after a catastrophe

When We Know Better, We Do Better!

As Not I But We works toward creating our own capsule wardrobe pieces and everyday staples we are cognisant of all the ways fashion harms people & the planet. But we can write a different story, one where fashion becomes a powerful catalyst for change.
Together, we can craft a future where clothing not only expresses our individuality but also our collective responsibility to nurture the environment and invest in the lives of those who make our garments. With each choice we make, each piece we create, we aim to redefine fashion as a force for good, weaving threads of consciousness and compassion into every stitch of our journey.
Women is wearing a brown scrunchy on her arm.
PS: Remember there is no shame here! Knowledge is power. We can't change the world overnight, but we can take small, meaningful steps, starting with our purchasing habits. Remember to tell us what big name brands ethics you want to know more about.

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