What started as a small brand on the Gold Coast of Australia in 2010, Princess Polly has since expanded to a global market by pumping out thousands of trendy styles that seem to hit the mark for young women—at least on the looks front. By tapping into this youth market, as well as the world of Instagram and Tik Tok influencers and celebrities, Princess Polly has made this transformation from small Aussie startup to full-on fast fashion company. With products inspired by “the latest trends in fashion, street style, and pop culture”, the brand prides itself on being “the go-to for all the newest looks”. At the same time, it states it is “dedicated to better understanding [its] supply chain, supplies operations, and manufacturing processes to ensure [the suppliers] meet [its] standards”. But what does Princess Polly mean by that exactly? How is the brand impacting on people, the planet, and animals?
We had a look at the brand for you and read between the lines of reports, standards, and certifications to answer this one crucial question: how ethical is Princess Polly?
Princess Polly states it designs “products in small quantities based on customer demand, and therefore do not end up with any amount of unwanted product” and it aims ”to make products at the cheapest price, [striving] for good quality products while keeping prices reasonable”, but we have our doubts. It simply doesn’t publish sufficient relevant information about its environmental policies, which is why it got our lowest rating: ‘Very Poor’. As a shopper you have the right to know how a brand’s production practices impact the environment!
When it comes to its labour rating, based on our own research, Princess Polly also received a score of ‘Very Poor’ for people. While it does have a Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles, the good news ends there. There is no evidence it has worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint. It sources its final stage of production from countries with extreme risk of labour abuse, like China. There is also no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain, and it doesn’t disclose any policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19! While the brand prides itself on making its customers (“gals”) happy, it seems to forget about the “gals” in the supply chain who make the clothes. You can do better, Princess Polly!
When it comes to its impact on animals, Princess Polly’s rating is ‘Not Good Enough’: it does not disclose which animal products it uses. Princess Polly needs to be more transparent about its use of materials and animal welfare policies.
Unfortunately, we have to give Princess Polly our lowest possible rating of ‘We Avoid’ overall. It does not provide sufficient information, which is why it rates so low across the board. Princess Polly is also a prime example of an ultra fast fashion brand, launching new collections at lightning speed, which will very likely end up in a landfill. It is also often touted as being “poorly made” by reviews, and a lot of its products get returned (which the brand doesn’t charge for, surprise surprise). If customers do end up keeping a product, they often find it unravels after just a few washes!
If it wants to improve its score, Princess Polly could start disclosing more information about how, where, and by whom its items are produced, as well as the materials used. Transparency is crucial to ethical and sustainable fashion and is the first step towards reducing a business’ impact on the people, the planet, and animals. 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 found a few ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ brands to choose from next time you need to fill a gap in your wardrobe.
Ethical alternatives to Princess Polly