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20 Oct

How Ethical Is Stradivarius?

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Stradivarius has work to do across the board to achieve a higher rating. So exactly how ethical is Stradivarius? This article is based on the Stradivarius rating published in February 2022.

Is Stradivarius an ethical or sustainable brand?

Stradivarius is the Barcelona-based “fashion brand that moves to the sound of its own unique melody”. Owned by Inditex since 1999, Stradivarius sells trendy styles for low prices across 60 countries and almost 1000 stories worldwide, as well as its popular eCommerce site. Zara’s “little sister” may be popular with the young women it sells to with 7.3m Instagram followers, but is this brand that designs “thousands of clothing items and accessories” creating consciously, or is it just another fast fashion brand we avoid? How ethical is Stradivarius?

Environmental impact

Stradivarius is “Not Good Enough” for the planet. It uses recycled packaging and has set an absolute target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its operations and supply chain. However, there is no evidence it is on track to meet its target, much like other Inditex-owned brands. It also uses few eco-friendly materials, and there is no evidence it minimises textile waste when manufacturing its products. That’s not music to our ears, Stradivarius.

Labour conditions

Stradivarius is also “Not Good Enough” for people. It likely publishes detailed information about its supplier policies, audits, and remediation processes, along with a detailed list of suppliers in the final production stage. Some data about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association is also published. It even discloses some policies to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19.

However, it undertakes half of its final production in Spain, a medium risk country for labour abuse, and it received a score of 31-40% in the Fashion Transparency Index. Transparency is a crucial step for brands, but it’s not enough, and Stradivarius fails workers in its supply chain by not ensuring payment of a living wage. It also caters to a limited size range of XS-XL in its collection and fails to portray diversity across its branding and social media. If it wants to keep up with the inclusive and ethical brands laying the foundations for a more sustainable fashion industry, it needs to up its game for both its workers and customers.

Animal welfare

Unfortunately, Stradivarius’ score here dropped down to “Not Good Enough”. The good news is that the brand doesn’t use exotic animal hair, fur, angora, or exotic animal skin, and has a formal animal welfare policy aligned with Five Freedoms. It purportedly sources wool from non-mulesed sheep but uses leather without stating sources. There is also no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production. In a market bubbling with cruelty-free fabric alternatives, there’s no excuse to perpetuate the mistreatment of animals for clothing.

Overall rating: Not Good Enough

So, how ethical is Stradivarius? It rates “Not Good Enough” overall based on our research. It has work to do for people, the planet, and animals before achieving a higher score in our ratings system. We hope the brand’s “unique melody” starts to sound a little sweeter soon.

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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The Classic T-Shirt Company is a US brand that creates premium, responsibly made t-shirts with luxury and integrity. All of its products are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and it doesn't use any animal-derived materials.

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Culthread is a UK-based clothing label that offers stylish, practical, and everlasting jackets and accessories from vegan and deadstock materials. Culthread's goal is to make quality coats and lifestyle products that you will want to wear and treasure forever.

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Editor's note

Feature image via Stradivarius, 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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