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Virgil Abloh’s brand is worn by the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Rihanna. But how does it impact the planet, people, and animals? How ethical is Off-White? This article is based on the Off-White rating published before June 2022.
In Milan in 2012, Virgil Abloh created Off-White, a brand that would skyrocket the hip hop style into the world of couture at an unprecedented rate. Abloh, who was appointed as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of menswear in 2018, has shaken up the fashion industry after rising to prominence as Kanye West’s creative director. His popular brand is known for collaborating with other famous labels like Nike, Levi, Jimmy Choo, and even IKEA, and is now worn by the likes of Jay-Z, Gigi Hadid, Beyonce, and Rihanna. It seemingly filled the niche for exclusive streetwear targeted at younger consumers and boasts almost 11 million Instagram followers, earning itself cult-status as one of the world’s most popular luxury brands.
Off-White is rooted in the current culture, aiming to be “a young brand embracing the now in a sophisticated manner”. And as a black-owned brand, with the founder saying his goal is to “make the demographic he came from more commercially acceptable”, Off-White is in a prime position to do right by the people and animals along its supply chain and the planet we all live on. So let’s break it down and answer the burning question: how ethical is Off-White?
Off-White rating is ‘Very Poor’. The brand fails to publish sufficient relevant information about its environmental policies. Transparency is the first step towards sustainability, and as shoppers, we have the right to know how a brand’s production and practices impact on the environment.
The brand’s final stage of production is undertaken in Italy, a medium risk country for labour abuse, and there is no evidence of a Code of Conduct or a living wage. We didn’t find evidence the brand lists names or addresses of any suppliers, or audits any parts of the supply chain. It also doesn’t disclose policies or safeguards to protect suppliers or workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19! We rated Off-White’s labour conditions ‘Not Good Enough’.
Abloh’s label uses leather, wool, and exotic animal hair, although it doesn’t use fur, down, exotic animal skin, or angora. Because of this, the brand is also rated ‘Not Good Enough’ when it comes to animal welfare.
Overall rating: Not Good Enough
So, how ethical is Off-White? We rated Off-White ‘Not Good Enough’ overall based on information from our own research. The brand is not transparent enough and provides no evidence it is providing fair labour conditions for its workers.
To get a better rating, Off-White needs to communicate more on its practices, reduce its use of unethical animal materials, and implement a Code of Conduct, ensuring its workers a living wage and safe working conditions.
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.
Luckily, the Good On You team has found some equally trendy and cool alternatives to Off-White, so you can bring your best luxury streetwear game while doing good for the planet, people, and animals.
Sustainable alternatives to Off-White