woman wearing brown sweatshirt by newlook
03 Nov
woman wearing brown sweatshirt by newlook

How Ethical Is New Look?

NOTE: This brand’s rating is under review and subject to change. The article will be updated soon to reflect any changes in scoring.

New Look is one of the fast fashion giants. Opened in 1969 in the UK, initially as a single fashion store, the brand rapidly grew to become the global chain we know today, boasting 6 million social media followers, 800 stores worldwide, and shipping to 70 countries.

In 2018, the brand experienced some financial troubles and announced it would be cutting down its prices even more. But as we all know: “Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.” So, who or what is paying for New Look’s low-cost strategy? Today we take a look at this British brand’s impact on people, the planet, and animals and ask that burning question: how ethical is New Look?

Environmental impact

New Look’s environment rating is “Not Good Enough”. It has fast fashion traits such as on-trend styles and regular new arrivals, and uses few eco-friendly materials. It has a policy approved by CanopyStyle to prevent deforestation of ancient and endangered forests in its supply chain, which is one positive. Still, there is no evidence it reduces carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain. All in all, New Look has a long way to go to prioritise the planet.

Labour conditions

New Look’s labour rating is also “Not Good Enough”. It received a score of 31-40% in the Fashion Transparency Index, a drop since the last report. Disappointingly, none of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights. While it publishes some information about suppliers, there is no evidence it is on track to pay a living wage, nor did it disclose policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19. Do better for your people, New Look.

Animal welfare

The British brand uses wool from non-mulesed sheep and doesn’t use fur, angora, or exotic animal skin, but it still uses leather, down, and exotic animal hair. It has a formal animal welfare policy aligned with Five Freedoms and has committed to reducing the use of animal products, which is why its animal rating is “It’s A Start”.

Overall rating: Not good enough

Based on information from our research, we rated New Look “Not Good Enough” overall. The brand needs to reduce its environmental impact by producing less, eliminating hazardous chemicals, and setting water usage reduction targets. It also needs to implement its project to improve living wages, be more transparent with its customers about its practices, and source alternative eco and animal-friendly fabrics for its production line. 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.

Luckily, the Good On You team racked their brains and found some ethical alternatives to New Look. Have a look below.

Good swaps

Ethical alternatives to New Look

People Tree

Rated: Great

Sustainable fashion pioneer and leader People Tree is a ‘Great’ ethical brand and one of our favourites. The brand uses eco-friendly materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct. Find most products in UK sizes 6 to 18.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree.

Shop People Tree @ thegreenlabels.


Rated: Good
woman wearing tonle white sustainable jumper

tonlé provides environmentally-friendly women's clothing with a zero-waste design process. To do so, the brand uses remnant fabrics from large manufacturers as well as recycled threads and reclaimed wood from local suppliers for its trim and accessories. Its range is inclusively sized from XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop tonlé.


Rated: Good
A man with a tan-coloured hooded coat looks at the camera.

Thanks to recycled materials like rescued ocean plastic, Ecoalf creates sustainable fashion with the same quality, design, and technical properties as the best non-recycled ones. Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf @ Labell-D.

Shop Ecoalf @ OASEAS.

Shop Ecoalf.


Rated: Great
A woman with black hair and grey t-shirt looks at camera

A.BCH is a Melbourne-based, Australian-made fashion label for individuals who care about garment provenance. It utilises renewable, organic, and recycled materials. Find the range in sizes XS-XL, or customise to fit you!

See the rating.

Shop A.BCH.

Plant Faced Clothing

Rated: Good

Streetwear without sweatshops, that's the motto of this British 100% plant-based, ethical, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free streetwear apparel brand. Buy Plant Faced Clothing in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced Clothing.


Rated: Great

milo+nicki makes cruelty-free, ethically-designed, eco-conscious womenswear with Indian & Zambian roots. The US brand uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials like GOTS certified cotton, and is a leading advocate for better labour rights! Find most of the range in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop milo+nicki.

Shop milo+nicki @ Made Trade.


Rated: Good

ISTO.’s mandate is simple: create clothes to transcend the seasons and work as staple items in your wardrobe all year round. It has one single collection and pursues quality over quantity to try and make its items permanently available. It uses organic and natural materials, and is incredibly transparent in showing you the true cost of your clothes when you go to purchase a piece for your wardrobe. The range is available in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop ISTO..

Christy Dawn

Rated: Great

Christy Dawn is a minimalist showroom for vintage-inspired women's clothing and footwear, locally made with surplus fabric. The US brand rates 'Great', making it a fabulous boho option for your wardrobe. Find the clothes in standard sizes XS-XL, or shop the Extended and Petite collections.

See the rating.

Shop Christy Dawn.

Editor's note

Feature image via New Look, 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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