New Look is one of the fast fashion giants. Opened in 1969 in the UK, originally as a single fashion store, the brand rapidly grew to become the global chain we know today, boasting 5 million social media followers, 895 stores worldwide, and shipping to 66 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?
Although New Look is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, it remains a fast fashion brand, with on-trend styles and regular new arrivals — a fundamentally unsustainable model. The brand has set a greenhouse gas emissions target, but doesn’t specify whether it relates to its direct operations or its supply chain. Plus, there is no evidence that it has taken any meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals, nor is there a current water reduction target in sight, which is why we rated New Look ‘Not Good Enough’ for its environmental impact.
New Look’s labour rating is ‘It’s a Start’: it has a Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles and is a signatory to the Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Accord. What’s more, it has a project to improve wages in part of its supply chain and audits some of its supply chain, but it doesn’t specify how often auditing occurs, so there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.
The British brand uses wool from non-mulesed sheep and doesn’t use fur or exotic animal skin, but it still uses leather, down, and exotic animal hair, which is why its animal rating is ‘Not Good Enough’. With so many innovative vegan materials out there, there really is no excuse to continue the unethical farming of our animal friends for fashion.