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11 Apr

How Ethical Is REVOLVE?

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Fashion e-commerce leader REVOLVE claims it’s creating “meaningful change in the way [it does] things today to ensure a better tomorrow”. But how ethical is REVOLVE, really? Sadly, the brand is doing very little for people, the planet, and animals. REVOLVE’s lack of transparency and tangible initiatives is worrying. Read the article to learn more about REVOLVE’s “We Avoid” rating. This article is based on the REVOLVE rating published in February 2024.

REVOLVE, e-commerce and sustainability leader?

Founded more than 20 years ago, REVOLVE has grown rapidly to become a fashion e-commerce leader, going public in 2019 and now boasting almost 6 million followers on Instagram.

But growth isn’t a smooth process and the brand has known ups and downs. In 2018, REVOLVE had to remove a fat-phobic sweatshirt from its platform. And in 2022, it received backlash on social media after its Coachella-like, influencer-only festival failed. Despite this, the brand continues to host the annual festival, which is saturated with influencer brands and celebrity endorsements that drive overconsumption.

When it comes to sustainability, REVOLVE says: “We understand the importance of using our platform to create meaningful change in the way we do things today to ensure a better tomorrow,” and that “we are committed to [doing] our part to help protect the resources that we all share and depend on for our future.” But is that really the case? How is REVOLVE really impacting people, the planet, and animals?

Environmental impact

In 2021 we rated REVOLVE “Very Poor” for its impact on the environment and unfortunately, three years on in our most recent review, this rating still hasn’t changed. REVOLVE uses few lower-impact materials, and we found no evidence that the brand reduces its carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain, nor that it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals, or to protect biodiversity.

“We believe investing in carbon offsetting projects may present an economically effective means for us to reduce our environmental impact. As a result, we are exploring a variety of carbon-offset opportunities to help offset the impact of our customer deliveries and returns,” says the brand. But unfortunately, carbon offsets are flawed and are distracting brands like REVOLVE from the harder work of decarbonisation. Newly revealed data from Good On You’s ratings of the largest fashion brands paints a concerning picture: overall, brands purchasing offsets aren’t making much progress on actual emissions reduction activities, which is a pattern REVOLVE seems to be following, too.

Labour conditions

REVOLVE also rates “Very Poor” for people—a score that’s remained the same over the years. None of the brand’s supply chain is certified by crucial labour standards that help ensure worker health and safety, living wages, and other rights.

More importantly, we found no evidence REVOLVE ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain. A living wage is the bare minimum wage required for workers to live a decent life. It’s different from the legal minimum wage, which is usually far below the living wage. Garment workers need to be protected and treated fairly.

Given all this, REVOLVE’s claim that “we have committed to stand up and make a substantial and long-lasting impact to fight inequality,” doesn’t ring true.

Animal welfare

Finally, REVOLVE’s animal rating is “Not Good Enough”. Despite not using fur, down, angora, or exotic animal skin, the brand still uses leather, wool, exotic animal hair, and decorative feathers. We found also no evidence the brand has an animal welfare policy or that it traces any animal product to the first stage of production.

Overall rating: ‘We Avoid’

REVOLVE isn’t creating positive change through its operations as it claims, and the brand’s sustainability statement smells of greenwashing—particularly as the statement is illustrated using pretty pictures of models posing in fields and on lakes to represent sustainability, rather than, say, the inside of the factories that its garments are made in, or the places where its cotton is grown.

REVOLVE is clearly not doing enough to reduce its impact on the planet and its inhabitants. It needs to start with being more transparent about its practices, increasing its use of lower-impact materials, ditching the harmful animal-based ones, actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and ensuring its workers are paid a living wage and treated fairly.

Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds 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.

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You can find the full range of this Canadian brand in sizes XS-2XL.

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Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, 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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