How Ethical Is Louis Vuitton? - Good On You
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16 Dec
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How Ethical Is Louis Vuitton?

Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s most recognised luxury fashion brands, thanks to its distinctive monogrammed accessories and clothing. But with Virgil Abloh as artistic director on board, has the 164-year-old French fashion house updated its values for the 21st century? Join us as we answer the question: how ethical is Louis Vuitton?

The appointment in 2018 of Virgil Abloh as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of menswear shook up the fashion industry. The American designer/DJ/stylist was originally known for being Kanye West’s creative director. He has since made waves with his luxury streetwear label, Off-White—worn by the likes of Jay-Z, ASAP Rocky, Beyonce, and Rihanna.

Abloh’s first show for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week in June 2018 incorporated elements of streetwear and redefined the very meaning of luxury.

While the designer’s appointment can be seen as democratising luxury fashion and bringing youth culture to an elite brand, is the house of Louis Vuitton also addressing ethical and sustainable fashion concerns of the younger generations?

Environmental Impact

Unsurprisingly, luxury label Louis Vuitton is simply ‘Not Good Enough’ for the planet. While it has set an intensity target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its own operations, it hasn’t set a supply chain target. There is no evidence it minimises textile waste, and it uses few eco-friendly materials. It complies with its own Restricted Substances List but there is no evidence it has taken meaningful action to eliminate hazardous chemicals. Like numerous other luxury fashion houses, Louis Vuitton also regularly burns unsold stock, contributing even further to the damaging fashion industry that values exclusivity over sustainability at every turn.

Labour Conditions

The brand also scores ‘Not Good Enough’ for its treatment of workers across the supply chain. It received a score of 21-30% in the Fashion Transparency Index, and its final stage of production is undertaken in medium risk countries for labour abuse. While it likely publishes information about its supplier policies, audits, and remediation processes, it does not publish a comprehensive list of suppliers or information about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association. It doesn’t disclose policies or safeguards to protect suppliers or workers from the impacts of COVID-19, and there is no evidence is ensures payment of a living wage in any part of its supply chain!

Animal Welfare

Louis Vuitton is rated ‘Very Poor’ for the animals because of its use of fur, down, leather, wool, exotic animal skin, exotic animal hair, and angora. While it has a general statement about minimising animal suffering and traces some animal products to the first stage of production, there is no formal animal welfare policy to be seen. Such a blatant disregard for the wellbeing of the sentient creatures we share the planet with is outdated, and with so many vegan fabric innovations out there, using them in such a way simply isn’t necessary any more!

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

Louis Vuitton has been rated ‘Not Good Enough’ overall based on information from the research done by our team at Good On You. 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. Consumers deserve to know who made their clothes, and what impact their clothing choices have on the planet and animals. Louis Vuitton needs to become much more transparent in order to meet the expectations of a new generation of fashion fans.

See the rating.

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Ethical alternatives to Louis Vuitton

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

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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!

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O My Bag

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O My Bag merges style and a responsible approach, creating vintage inspired, rugged-chic bags made from eco-friendly, high quality materials. The Dutch label also uses low impact and non-toxic dyes in its products.

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Katharine Hamnett

Rated: Good

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.

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Bethany Williams

Rated: Good

Bethany Williams offers an alternative system for fashion production, aiming to find innovative design solutions to sustainability. The brand manufactures locally and uses eco-friendly and recycled materials. The current collection ‘Breadline’ highlights the hidden hunger issues in the UK by working alongside the Vauxhall Food Bank and Tesco.

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RVDK

Rated: Good
RVDKBrand dress

RVDK, who is a guest Haute Couture member, offers a positive and ethical high fashion alternative. It creates high-quality, long-lasting products, and uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including recycled materials and deadstock. Its use of eco-friendly materials reduces its climate impact and limits the amount of chemicals and water used in production.

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Editor's note

Feature image via Pexels, 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 2,500 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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