How Ethical Is Victoria’s Secret?

By October 8, 2018Big Brands, Fashion

Victoria’s Secret was founded by Roy Raymond, and his wife Gaye Raymond, in San Francisco in 1977, as a response to packaged underwear, which Raymond considered to be “ugly, floral-print nylon nightgowns”. Four decades later, Victoria’s Secret has become the largest American retailer of women’s lingerie, sold in more than 1,600 stores worldwide thanks to its celebrated supermodels and a world-famous runway show. But how does the iconic brand impact the Planet, People and Animals? We wonder, how ethical is Victoria’s Secret?

Environmental Impact: Not Good Enough

Victoria’s Secret’s does not use eco-friendly materials in its collection, which is why its rating is ‘Not Good Enough’. What’s more, we found no evidence it has set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. It has, however, set a deadline for the elimination of hazardous chemicals by 2020 and it complies with a Restricted Substances List. The brand also has water reduction initiatives but has not set a specific reduction target. Finally, it reports to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

Labour Conditions: Not Good Enough

Based on the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report, we also gave the brand’s labour conditions a ‘Not Good Enough’ rating. In fact, it has no worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint. It traces some of its supply chain including a proportion of the final stage of production, which is good, but it audits only a small proportion of its traced facilities. It has a Code of Conduct that covers some of the [ILO] principles however it has made little to no progress towards ensuring payment of a living wage.

Overall Rating: ‘Not Good Enough’ GoY-Ratings_2

Victoria’s Secret’s overall rating is ‘Not Good Enough’, based on its environmental impact and labour conditions. As the brand makes products that are generally free of animal materials, we did not rate its impact on animals.

To improve its score, Victoria’s Secret needs to incorporate more environmentally friendly materials in its designs, set specific reduction targets for water and gas emissions reduction as well as ensure its workers are paid a living wage!

Download the free Good On You app for more guides to ethical brands.

But if you are looking for new and cool underwear or loungewear, do not fear, we found ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ alternatives to Victoria’s Secret, have a look below:

Ethical Alternatives:

Svala GoY-Ratings_4

woman wearing white svala bra

Vivien Lace Bra | | Ships internationally

Based in LA, Svala designs ethical and sustainable handbags, purses as well as underwear! They use high-quality eco-friendly materials including organic cotton and Pinatex and are 100% vegan.

Moonbird GoY-Ratings_5

Dahlia Classic Set | | Ships internationally

Moonbird creates sleepwear that doesn’t compromise ethics for style. The brand rates ‘Great’ on all fronts, using GOTS certified cotton, being completely vegan and sourcing from facilities certified by the Fair Trade Federation and Fair Trade Association.

Naja GoY-Ratings_4

Aria Bra | | Ships to the US, Australia and Canada

Naja is a new lingerie company that makes beautifully designed underwear and bras and helps employ women through its Underwear for Hope program. The label designs long-lasting products and is a leading advocate for better labour rights.

Ayten Gasson GoY-Ratings_4

Rebecca Silk Playsuit | | Ships internationally

Brighton-based Ayten Gasson is a lingerie shop and luxury handmade lingerie label with a firm commitment to producing in the UK, and an eye for ethical and sustainable sources. The brand reduces its carbon footprint by manufacturing all its products locally and does not use leather, wool, angora, fur or exotic animal skin.

Underprotection GoY-Ratings_4

Mia Body | | Ships internationally

Danish brand Underprotection combines ethics and aesthetics, creating high-quality and long-lasting underwear and loungewear. The label uses some eco-friendly materials and is fully Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified.

Want to find more ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ ethical underwear brands? Then have a look at our Ultimate Guide to Ethical Underwear!

Discover ethical fashion brands with the Good On You app.



Feature image via Victoria’s Secret. Other images via brands mentioned.

Solene Rauturier

Author Solene Rauturier

Originally from France, Solene is currently Content and Community intern at Good on You.

More posts by Solene Rauturier

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