15 Nov

How Ethical is Dior?

Founded in the 20th century by Christian Dior, Dior has revolutionised womenswear in its own way. The designer is most well known for being the creator of the “New Look”, a modern silhouette at the time, which broke with traditions by emphasising women’s hips and busts.

The maison, which is owned by LVMH, has been dabbling in sustainable fashion: inspired by Dior’s love of gardening, Maria Grazia Chirui recreated a forest for the Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 runway, promising to replant the trees in the Parisian region after the show.

But is this enough? How ethical is Dior?

Environmental Impact

Dior is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, but there is no evidence it minimises textile waste. It has also set an absolute target to reduce emissions generated from its owned operations by 25% but hasn’t set a target covering its supply chain. Plus, there is no evidence it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals! For all these reasons we rated Dior’s environmental impact ‘Not Good Enough’.

Labour Conditions

Unfortunately, Dior’s labour rating is also ‘Not Good Enough’. Although it monitors health and safety issues with an internal procedure, there is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain or that it publishes supplier lists, and it sources its final stage of production from countries with extreme risk of labour abuse!

Animal Welfare

Like many big luxury fashion houses recently, Dior has stopped using fur, down, and angora, which is a small step in the right direction. But it still uses leather, wool, and exotic animal skin and hair, which is why it scored ‘Not Good Enough’ for animal welfare. As material innovations hit the shelves, we hope to see these luxury fashion houses—who can certainly afford it—investing in animal-free options.

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

Overall we rate Dior ‘Not Good Enough’. The brand has made small improvements, such as setting a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emission and being a member of the Better Cotton Initiative. However, the luxury fashion house still needs to reduce its use of harmful chemicals, ensure it pays its workers a living wage, and consider our animal friends. There’s still a very long road ahead!

See the rating.

Good Swaps

Ethical alternatives to Dior

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

Pink Box Pleat Dress – Ships internationally

A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct that includes a living wage definition!

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ Farfetch.

Katharine Hamnett

Rated: Good

Organic Cotton Blazer – Ships internationally

Made in Italy, Katharine Hamnett is committed to ethically and sustainably sourced materials and production. The brand’s utilitarian and unisex yet chic pieces, like this silk dress, are made using eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester.

See the rating.

Shop Katharine Hamnett.

Bianca Spender

Rated: Good

Harem Trousers – Ships internationally

Bianca Spender is Australian fashion royalty, who has taken sustainability into the heart of her label. From smart workwear to statement gowns, this is a label that employs the highest standards of design and quality. Bianca Spender uses deadstock fabric and natural fibres, making all her garments in Ethical Clothing Australia-accredited factories. This is a re-rate for this designer, and we’re delighted to be able to give the brand a ‘Good’ rating.

See the rating.

Shop Bianca Spender @ Farfetch.

Vintage shops

Next time you’re in your favourite second-hand shop, why not have a look for vintage (or more recent) Dior items? You never know what amazing treasures you might find.

When in doubt, rent it out

Nowadays, many websites allow you to rent dresses, items, and bags for an event, so think about this option next time you want to dazzle the crowd with a Dior saddle bag!

Editor's note: feature image via Dior, all other images via brands mentioned. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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