20 Dec

The Best and Worst Rated Brands of 2021

Wondering which brands topped our ratings this year, and which ones are being left far behind? This survey highlights the brands that score the lowest and the highest in 2021 based on our world-leading methodology.  

2021 has been quite a rollercoaster for the fashion world. As many places started to emerge from nationwide lockdowns, we saw a significant rise in clothing purchases, especially online, after a slower year in 2020. And even while demand for sustainably and ethically made fashion has seen an uptick throughout the year, so, too, have the worst-offending fashion brands raked in record profits.

These are many of the brands topping fashion’s annual list of best and worst brands as rated by Good On You. This year, it’s once again the fast fashion giants from Boohoo and Forever 21 to Cider and Crocs that are scoring the worst and being the least transparent.

One fast fashion brand, in particular, stands out for all the wrong reasons: SHEIN. The China-based online retailer has come under fire and made headlines repeatedly this year. It has been accused of zero transparency, child labour, offensive items, copying designers, and more.

There’s an Orwellian discord between the track record brands like SHEIN have and the growing number of greenwashed claims they make. In November, a report by Stand.earth found that over 50 fashion brands are at risk of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest due to their production of leather goods. Of these brands, big names like Coach, LVMH, Prada, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Teva, UGG, and Fendi were all found to have multiple connections to the harmful industry. And many of these brands are also known for producing “eco-collections” and advertising their sustainability efforts.

Increasingly, we know that shoppers see through these shallow and untrue claims. As fashion’s most rigorous and comprehensive ratings platform, we’ve observed a growing number of consumers checking the big brands’ records and opting to go second hand or support more sustainable designers. In furthering this mission, 2021 saw Good On You reach some exciting milestones, which you can read all about in our Year In Review roundup.

With almost 3,500 fashion brand ratings now live on the directory and in the app, and more coming every day, it’s easier than ever to compare brands’ impacts on the issues that matter most. But for those wondering who the standouts are on both ends of the spectrum, this survey highlights the brands that score the lowest and the highest based on our world-leading methodology.

Without further ado, here is our roundup of the best and worst fashion brands of 2021.

The 10 worst brands we avoid

These well-known brands are almost all ultra fast fashion brands that create cheap clothing at breakneck speeds, and they’re all rated “We Avoid”, our lowest score. They are making no headway or concrete effort for people, the planet, or animals across the supply chain and are notorious for poor quality clothing that often ends up in landfill after just a few wears.

The 10 least transparent brands

Transparency is the first step towards a more sustainable fashion business, and we think you have a right to comprehensive and accurate information about how a brand impacts people, the planet, and animals. These 10 brands provide no publicly-available information on their production and didn’t garner even a single point in our ratings system.

The 10 most ethical and sustainable brands of 2021

While it’s important to call out those poorly-rated brands that are harming the planet and its inhabitants, the best part about what we do at Good On You is discovering and sharing “Good” and “Great”  fashion brands that care about reducing their impact. These are the 10 highest rated brands of 2021 that deserve your support.

Thunderpants USA and NZ

Rated: Great

Thunderpants USA is a manufacturer of quirky, organic cotton underpants for the whole family.

See the rating.

Shop Thunderpants USA @ Made Trade.

Shop Thunderpants USA.

Thunderpants is a New Zealand brand that makes clothing for the whole family, designed to fit and built to last.

See the rating.

Shop Thunderpants NZ.

Boll & Branch

Rated: Great
Cropped view of a beige bed covered with organic white sheets by Boll & Branch.

Boll & Branch is an American brand that offers luxury bedding properly priced. It uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including GOTS certified organic cotton, and ships via sea freight to reduce its carbon footprint. The brand is also certified Fair Trade and ensures a living wage in most of its supply chain.

See the rating.

Shop Boll & Branch.

No Nasties

Rated: Great

Another leader when it comes to ethical fashion, No Nasties makes simple and stylish clothing from Fairtrade organic cotton in India where it is actively working to grow the ethical consumer market. Find the clothes in sizes S-XL.

See the rating.

Shop No Nasties.

Shop No Nasties @ Made Trade.

Sorella Organics

Rated: Great

Sorella’s certified organic sleepwear range includes tops, pants, wraps, nighties, as well as maternity wear. The label’s founder Anna McGregor has a background in international human rights work. This is obvious with her use of Fairtrade certified cotton, and it ensures strict social standards are met in production and trading. Best of all, purchasing the clothing won’t make you cry over your bank balance. Find the range in sizes S-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Sorella Organics.

Mayamiko

Rated: Great
woman wearing mayamiko colourful top

Lovingly crafted in Malawi, Mayamiko takes ethical to the next level with their unique and beautiful fair trade fashion and accessories. With a stunning mix of modern and traditional textiles and cuts from Africa, Asia and Italy, this 100% PETA-certified vegan brand should be high on your list for colourful clothes. A leading advocate for better labour rights, the brand have also created the Mayamiko Trust, a charity working in the community to train and empower disadvantaged women.

See the rating.

Shop Mayamiko.

The Classic T-Shirt Company

Rated: Great

The Classic T-Shirt Company is a US brand that creates premium tees and ethical t-shirts with luxury and integrity. All of its products are GOTS certified organic cotton and it does not use any animal products. The Classic T-Shirt Company’s range is available in US sizes XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company @ Urbankissed.

Culthread

Rated: Great

Culthread is a UK-based clothing label that offers stylish, practical, and everlasting jackets and accessories from vegan and deadstock materials. Culthread's goal is to make quality coats and lifestyle products that you will want to wear and treasure forever. Find most items in sizes XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop Culthread.

Shop Culthread @ Immaculate Vegan.

Monsoon Blooms

Rated: Great
man wearing yellow monsoon blooms t-shirt

Following the wisdom of Ayurveda, Monsoon Blooms creates Fairtrade International-certified organic cotton underwear and basics, naturally dyed with plants. It does not use any animal products and makes its product by hand to reduce its climate impact.

See the rating.

Shop Monsoon Booms.

Infantium Victoria

Rated: Great
young POC girl wearing preloved green velvet dress by ethical vegan brand Infantium Victoria

Infantium Victoria offers beautiful vegan luxury for all ages. This German brand scores 'Great' across the board! Its products are certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and it sells previously owned products to minimise textile waste.

See the rating.

Shop Infantium Victoria.

Shop Infantium Victoria @ LVR Sustainable.

Y.O.U Underwear

Rated: Great

Y.O.U Underwear is a UK-based sustainable brand, that makes ethical underwear for the whole family so they can look good, feel good, and do good.

See the rating.

Shop Y.O.U Underwear.

More top-rated brands by category

While these 10 brands have the highest rating on Good On You, we think the brands featured in these roundups should also be praised for their hard work:

As conscious consumerism continues to rise in 2022, the team at Good On You will continue to work every day to bring you robust ratings you can rely on, so you can shop with confidence.

Head over to our ratings page to find out more about the ins and outs of our methodology.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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