08 Sep

How Ethical Is Hollister?

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If you were born in the noughties, chances are you have Hollister in your wardrobe right now! Considered one of the top 5 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. For those of us born before the turn of the century, wading through Hollister’s website presents a confusing 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? This article is based on the Hollister rating published in August 2020.

Environmental Impact

Off the bat, Hollister’s environment rating is ‘Not Good Enough’, despite its claims of planetary care. It currently uses few eco-friendly materials, and there is no evidence that it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals or implement water reduction initiatives—you know, some of the most crucial steps towards caring for the Earth.

It does reuse some of its offcuts to minimise textile waste, which we commend. It has also set out some goals on its website about reducing its fashion footprint, including partnering with BCI cotton and aiming to reduce water use in denim production by 30% by 2022 and incorporating less harmful dyes and fabrics. While these initiatives are certainly better than nothing, they cover a fraction of the brand’s overall footprint, and there’s a long way to go before it can call itself ‘eco-friendly’!

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 21-30% in the Fashion Transparency Index, and while it likely publishes information about its supplier policies, audits, and remediation processes, there’s no sign of a comprehensive list of suppliers or information about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association. There is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain, and it didn’t disclose any adequate policies to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19!

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! With no animal welfare policy in sight, no evidence it traces any animal products even to the first stage of production, and leather and wool products with no clear origins, there’s a lot to be desired here. It doesn’t use fur, angora, or exotic animal skin, and its down is accredited by the Responsible Down Standard, 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 ethical fashion as a teen is tough! But before you get too disheartened, check out these sustainable alternatives to Hollister below. You might just find something that ticks all your boxes.

Good Swaps


Rated: Good
Someone on roof wearing clothes by Afends.


people in essentials by Afends.

Afends – Essential Sets

3 is better than 1. Essentials made from hemp and organic cotton, in styles to suit you. Classic, baby, oversized and more. Buy 3 Essentials for $150 on Afends Essential Sets. Minimum spend $150. Sale items excluded. (Ends: 27 SEP)

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Someone wearing denim jeans by Afends.

Afends – Men’s Denim

Laid back or loosened up. Reworking denim staples, with worn washes and utilitarian details. Made from organic cotton and hemp. Find your fit for denim that never dies. Buy 1 pair of jeans, get 1 free Men's Denim. (Ends: 30 SEP)

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Someone sitting on denim jeans wearing womens denim jeans by Afends.

Afends – Womens Denim

Pick your go-to player with our must-have high rise jeans, classic 90-inspired flared jeans or low rise baggy fits. Find your fit for denim that never dies. Buy 1 pair of jeans, get 1 free Women's Denim. (Ends: 30 SEP)

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Born in Byron Bay, 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.


Rated: Good
kelly slater wearing outerknown trunks

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a responsible brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand is Bluesign certified and has partnered with the Fair Labour Association.

Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Outerknown.

Shop Outerknown @ Wearwell.

Shop Outerknown @ Good.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
A man wears navy jeans and a blue top

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year. MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton.

MUD Jeans are available in a range of sizes, usually from W25 L30-W33 L32 for women and W28 L34-W36 L34 for men.

See the rating.

Shop MUD Jeans.

Citizen Wolf

Rated: Great

Citizen Wolf uses revolutionary technology to give you high-quality custom fit t-shirts. It's so confident in its t-shirts that it guarantees they’ll be the best you’ve ever worn. After capturing your customisations, the brand hand makes each tee in Sydney from certified lower-impact fabrics like cotton, hemp, and Merino wool milled in Melbourne.

See the rating.

Shop Citizen Wolf.


Rated: Good

Canadian brand tentree believes big change starts small. Small as in bringing your reusable bag to the grocery store, making fewer, more thoughtful purchases, and choosing to purchase more sustainably when you do. The brand plants ten trees for every item purchased to help regenerate ecosystems and provide planting jobs in communities around the world, and has already planted over 65 million trees.

All tentree’s products are created with an Earth-First approach, meaning they're made in fair, safe working conditions, and constructed using lower-impact and recycled materials.

tentree’s super comfy fabrics and easy wardrobe staples are typically available from XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop tentree.

The Common Good Company

Rated: Great

The Common Good Company produces clothing using recycled materials, proving that there is not only a better way to produce but a better way to consume.

Find the clothes in AU sizes 6-14.

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Shop The Common Good Company.

Editor's note

Feature image via Hollister, 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 more than 3,000 brands.

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