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29 Nov
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How Ethical Is Hollister?

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US label Hollister has made a name as a top teen fashion destination over the years, but unfortunately, the brand isn’t doing enough to manage its impact on people, the planet, and animals, and rates “Not Good Enough”. This article is based on the Hollister rating published in November 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

Hollister has a long way to go

If you were born in the noughties, chances are you have Hollister in your wardrobe right now. Considered one of the top five clothing brands for teens, this Abercrombie & Fitch subsidiary was launched in the year 2000 in the US and has been pumping out trend-led styles ever since. Wading through Hollister’s website presents a throwback array of band tees, flared jeans, and pleated skirts we could’ve sworn went out of fashion a decade or two ago. Y2K resurgence, we see you.

In any case, with 5m followers, a loyal fanbase, and no signs of slowing, we thought it was about time to dig a bit deeper into this youth-led brand that claims to be “For you, for the community, and for the planet” right on its homepage. Is Hollister really about “leaving the world a little better”, or is there a bit of greenwashing going on? How ethical is Hollister?

Environmental impact

Off the bat, Hollister’s environment rating is “Not Good Enough”. Despite its claims of planetary care on its website, where it states it is doing its part for the planet, it currently uses few lower-impact materials, and there is no evidence that it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals or taking steps to protect biodiversity—you know, some of the most crucial steps towards caring for the Earth.

While it has set an absolute target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its direct operations, its supply chain misses out on the commitment. While this initiative is certainly better than nothing, it covers a fraction of the brand’s overall footprint, and there’s a long way to go before it can call itself a responsible brand.

Labour conditions

Hollister is also “Not Good Enough” for its workers. None of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety or other labour rights. It received a score of 31-40% in the 2023 Fashion Transparency Index, which is slightly up from the previous score, though there is certainly still room for improvement.

There’s no evidence Hollister supports diversity and inclusion in its supply chain, and perhaps most worryingly, it doesn’t appear to pay a living wage in its supply chain, either. Do better, Hollister.

Animal welfare

Speaking of trends—Hollister seems to be trending towards a low overall score at this rate. And—yep. Also “Not Good Enough” for animals.

While the brand now has a formal policy aligned with the Five Freedoms of animal welfare—which is an improvement from the last time we rated them when they didn’t have one—there are no clear implementation mechanisms in place. There’s no evidence it traces any animal-derived materials even to the first stage of production, and its leather products have no clear origins.

Its wool is supposedly mulesing-free, but there’s no evidence to verify that claim. It doesn’t appear to use down, fur, angora, exotic animal skin, or exotic animal hair, which is good—but more needs to be done to ensure the brand is treating the non-human animals in its supply chain better.

Overall rating: ‘Not Good Enough’

So, how ethical is Hollister? Overall, we rated Hollister “Not Good Enough” based on our own research. From a lack of robust policies for the planet to no sign of a living wage for people to little effort for animals, it’s clear this brand has a long way to go to achieve a higher rating. As more and more young people are tapping into the trend the world really needs right now—the sustainability trend—we hope to see the brand making more effort across the board to stay relevant and true to its word of leaving the world a little better off.

Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

See the rating.

Tackling responsible fashion as a teen is tough. But before you get too disheartened, check out these more sustainable alternatives to Hollister below. You might just find something that ticks all your boxes.

Good swaps

“Good” and “Great” alternatives to Hollister.

Afends

Rated: Good
Someone on roof wearing clothes by Afends.

Born in Byron Bay, Australia, Afends is a responsible brand leading the way in hemp fashion. Drawing inspiration from the environment, streetwear, and surf culture, Afends’ mission is to create more sustainable clothing through innovation, action, and positive change. As true hemp advocates, they purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow their own hemp crops and ignite the hemp revolution.

Find most of the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.

WAWWA

Rated: Good
People wearing clothing by WAWWA.

UK brand WAWWA aims to make clothing that puts the Earth and its inhabitants first by creating organic, fair trade, and vegan-friendly clothing with a positive social impact. It uses lower-impact materials including recycled materials, lower-impact non-toxic dyes, and reuses its offcuts to minimise textile waste.

Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop WAWWA.

REER3

Rated: Good
two images of people in clothing by REER3

Founded by a Brazilian-born fashion designer and artist based in Germany, REER3 stands for slow fashion streetwear in a reduced design, produced more sustainably. It uses lower-impact dyes and materials such as organically grown, GOTS certified cotton and recycled polyester, and it's 100% vegan.

Find the range in XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop REER3.

non

Rated: Great
People in denim jackets and shirts by Non.

non is a UK-based label that offers raw selvedge denim jeans, jackets, and accessories that are designed to last.

The jeans are available in sizes 26-36.

See the rating.

Shop non.

ABLE

Rated: Good

ABLE is a US-based clothing and accessories brand that works with communities all over the world to make a meaningful impact, producing slow fashion that pays a living wage to women who have faced extraordinary circumstances. It uses lower-impact materials, and reuses water and materials to minimise waste. With thoughtful design and a level of quality that guarantees its products for life, its pieces aren't just an investment for your wardrobe, they are an investment in women around the world.

Find the range in sizes 2XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop ABLE.

Threads 4 Thought

Rated: Good

Threads 4 Thought uses a range of lower-impact materials including TENCEL™ Modal harvested from the limbs of beech trees. This process means that the trees are never cut down and 95% of the production materials to make the yarn are recovered and reused. The brand's manufacturers are a combination of Fair Trade USA certified and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production certified.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL, with an extended sizing range up to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Threads 4 Thought.

LA Relaxed

Rated: Great
Someone in long sleeved top and dress by LA Relaxed.

"Simplicity, sustainability, style" is LA Relaxed's motto. The brand reduces its climate impact by using renewable energy in its supply chain. It also uses some lower-impact materials, including organic cotton and TENCEL Lyocell.

Find the collection in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop LA Relaxed.

Shop LA Relaxed @ Cerqular.

Editor's note

Feature image via Canva, 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 the directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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