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Uniqlo is known for its timeless aesthetic and high-quality basics. But sadly, the “It’s a Start” brand’s ethics don’t quite hold up. But we have good news: we went on the hunt to find more sustainable alternatives to Uniqlo’s best sellers.
Uniqlo’s making a start, but it’s not enough
Uniqlo is known for its timeless aesthetic and high-quality basics. Some of its items go viral on social media, like this nylon bag TikTok went wild for, or more recently, this pair of wide-legged work trousers. And let’s not forget the brand’s famous light puffer jacket.
Sadly, the Japanese brand’s ethics don’t quite hold up, and we rate Uniqlo “It’s a Start” based on our team’s research here at Good On You. While Uniqlo has set some decent environmental policies in place and has made a start for animals, there’s no evidence it’s providing fair wages for its workers. It still has a lot of work to do before it can be considered a “Good” or “Great” ethical brand.
This rating can raise questions, especially when applied to large, fast fashion brands. But “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.
So, if you like Uniqlo’s basics but are looking for alternative brands making a solid effort across the board for sustainability and ethics, we have good news. There are “Good” and “Great” brands making items similar to Uniqlo’s best-selling pieces but doing better for people, the planet, and animals.
A note on affordability
Good On You wants to help you find sustainable options no matter your budget. But we recognise that many sustainable brands appear more expensive up front. That’s because more goes into a price tag than the cost of fabric. Fast fashion prices are often low because workers are not paid living wages and sustainable practices are not followed in production.
Fast fashion has also distorted our view of clothing prices. We now spend much less and buy far more low-quality garments than we did a few decades ago. When taking into account cost-per-wear, higher-quality items you’ll wear again and again end up costing less in the long run despite the initial investment.
We aim to highlight the range of more affordable sustainable brands, but we also encourage you to seek out the most sustainable options that work for you. Sometimes this means shopping second hand, other times rediscovering and restyling what you already own.