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19 May

How Ethical Is Off-White?

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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?

Environmental impact

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.

Labour conditions

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’.

Animal welfare

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.

See the rating.

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.

Good swaps

Sustainable alternatives to Off-White

Katharine Hamnett

Rated: Good

Made in Italy, Katharine Hamnett is committed to more responsibly sourced materials and production. The brand’s utilitarian and unisex yet chic pieces are made using lower-impact materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester.

Find most of her pieces in sizes 2XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Katharine Hamnett Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Katharine Hamnett.


Rated: Good

British streetwear brand RÆBURN makes an art out of upcycling. This is a fashion-forward brand for men and women that creates sharp looks from military surplus, with materials that include 1950s Airforce silk maps, and Danish military wool blankets. It also offers free repairs so you can take care of your precious investment pieces. Find most of the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop RÆBURN @ Farfetch.


Stella McCartney

Rated: Good
stella mccartney sneakers

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 lower-impact 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.

Find most items in sizes 34-52.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Plant Faced Clothing

Rated: Good

Streetwear without the sweatshops, that's the motto of this British 100% vegan and cruelty-free streetwear apparel brand that is all about promoting a new wave of consciousness that supports the non-harming or exploitation of any beings in fashion production.

Buy Plant Faced Clothing in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced Clothing.

Balenciaga (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Balenciaga is a luxury fashion house founded in 1919 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastián. The Kering-owned brand has been making some efforts to reduce its environmental impact, setting targets to reduce its direct and indirect emissions, and implementing initiatives to reduce water use.

See the rating.

Shop Balenciaga Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Editor's note

Feature image via Off-White, 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 thousands of rated brands.

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