We get the appeal of Uniqlo, we do—this Japanese chain store has taken off in recent years and now boasts more than 1,300 stores worldwide. Unlike so many other mass-producing fast fashion giants, Uniqlo ditches the ‘new styles every week’ mindset and opts instead for more timeless, classic staples that appeal to a wide range of people. But does that absolve it of all guilt for people, the planet, and animals? Is it okay to buy from this brand as a conscious consumer, or should we look for sustainable alternatives to Uniqlo? Let’s discuss.
Uniqlo has taken some steps in the right direction for the planet and animals. Its use of some eco-friendly materials and encouragement of longevity with a repair and reuse program is positive. It also gets a thumbs up for banning the use of fur, angora, shearling, and karakul and for committing to eliminate other animal products like mohair. However, it still has a long way to go on the labour front—for such a large, successful company, paying a living wage should be a top priority. To make matters worse, the brand has been caught up in an ongoing worker’s rights case for years, and owes Indonesian garment workers $5.5m worth of severance pay. Uniqlo must take responsibility for the people in its supply chain before it can be considered an ethical company—and it can certainly afford to do so.
Overall, we rated Uniqlo ‘It’s A Start’ based on our team’s research here at Good On You. We know this rating can bring up some questions, especially when applied to such large brands. ‘It’s A Start’ means just that—the brand is making a start. Uniqlo is already ahead of comparable brands by creating timeless staples that don’t go out of fashion nearly as fast. And if your options are Uniqlo or a brand like SHEIN that is making little to no effort for people, the planet, and animals, Uniqlo is a clear winner. Progress over perfection!
You can also reach out to brands who you think need a nudge in the right direction. If enough customers demand change, brands that genuinely care about their impact will have no choice but to respond in kind. Check out the ‘Your Voice’ function on the app, or slide into Uniqlo’s DMs on social media to let them know what you think.
That aside, if you’re after stores like Uniqlo that are making a solid effort across the board for sustainability and ethics, we have good news. There are ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ sustainable brands you’ll love more than Uniqlo out there, and we have rounded up 12 of our favourites for you below.