For consumers For business
Close up of a sweater and jeans overlaid with white text reading Topshop and a sad emoji face highlighted.
12 Jul
Close up of a sweater and jeans overlaid with white text reading Topshop and a sad emoji face highlighted.

How Ethical Is Topshop?

Our editors curate highly rated brands that are first assessed by our rigorous ratings system. Buying through our links may earn us a commission—supporting the work we do. Learn more.


UK fast fashion giant Topshop is lacking action across the board. How ethical is Topshop? In this article, we dive into the brand’s “Not Good Enough” rating, which was published in May 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

Topshop isn’t coming out on top


UK fast fashion giant Topshop had over 500 stores globally at its peak, but after going into administration in late 2020 it was purchased by ASOS. The brand now operates via the ASOS website and can be found in Nordstrom stores in the US. So how does the brand treat people, the planet, and animals? How ethical is Topshop?

In the decade before being purchased by ASOS, Topshop enjoyed global success and collaborations with a number of artists and celebrities. But its prior owner the Arcadia Group was no stranger to controversy, having made headlines due to allegations of labour abuses, including unfair wages paid to garment workers and poor working conditions. Topshop itself also faced allegations, like when it was claimed Topshop x Beyonce’s Ivy Park collection’s mostly female garment workers were toiling under unfair conditions despite the range supposedly promoting female empowerment.

So after running a gauntlet of bad headlines and controversy, has ASOS-owned Topshop since picked up its ethical game or is it much of the same? Read on to find out.

Environmental impact

Topshop has made some small efforts over the years to improve its impact on the planet, but it still has a long way to go before it can be considered an environmentally responsible brand.

Despite the release of its CONSIDERED collection, as well as a vegan shoe collection in 2019 in an attempt to lower its environmental impact by using lower-impact and recycled materials, the impact of the fast fashion giant on the planet is considerable, as it still relies on the mass production of brand new clothing.

What’s more, there is no evidence that it has taken any meaningful action to minimise textile waste in its supply chain, not does it appear to be taking actions to protect biodiversity.

Topshop does incorporate some lower-impact materials, but its fast fashion business model is inherently unsustainable. By emphasising fleeting trends over timeless designs and producing huge amounts of poorly-made clothes, it’s hard to see how Topshop can become a more sustainable brand without ditching this practice.

For all these reasons, Topshop’s environmental impact is “Not Good Enough”.

Labour conditions

We gave Topshop a labour rating of “Not Good Enough”. While it received an improved score of 51-60% in the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index, not much else has changed.

None of Topshop’s supply chain is certified by crucial labour standards that help ensure worker health and safety and other rights. It has a limited policy to support diversity and inclusion in its direct operations and supply chain, and while it disclosed some policies to protect workers in its supply chain at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, one crucial issue remains: there’s no evidence it ensures workers are paid living wages in its supply chain.

Topshop should prioritise payment of a living wage for its workers if its score here is going to improve.

Animal welfare

Topshop received a score of “It’s a Start” for animal welfare.

Although Topshop doesn’t use down, fur, angora, exotic animal skin, or exotic animal hair in its products, it still uses leather and wool in its products without providing any information about where they are sourced from. It does have a policy to source wool from non-mulesed sheep, but unfortunately doesn’t provide any evidence to verify its claims.

Topshop has a formal policy aligned with the Five Freedoms of animal welfare, but few clear implementation mechanisms are in place, and there’s no evidence it traces any animal-derived materials to the first production stage.

The welfare of both animals and workers cannot be guaranteed when the source of these materials is unknown. Topshop could improve its score in this area by being more transparent about where it gets its leather and wool from, or even better, by not using animal-derived materials in its clothes at all.

Overall rating: Not Good Enough

We’ve given Topshop a rating of “Not Good Enough” overall based on information from our own research.

Topshop needs to do much more to improve its practices in all areas. While Topshop appears to be putting some measures in place to shrink its carbon footprint, none of them apply to the resource-intensive garment manufacturing process, which is the most important thing that the brand needs to address if it hopes to become more sustainable.

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.

So next time you need to fill a gap in your wardrobe, why not give Topshop a miss and choose one of these more ethical brands rated “Good” or “Great” if they meet your needs?

Good swaps

“Good” and “Great” alternatives to Topshop, including second hand options.


Rated: Good
Someone on roof wearing clothes by Afends.

Born in Byron Bay, Australia, Afends is a more responsible brand leading the way in hemp fashion. Drawing inspiration from the environment, streetwear, and surf culture, Afends’ mission is to create more sustainable clothing through innovation, action, and positive change. As true hemp advocates, it purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow its own hemp crops and ignite the hemp revolution.

Find most of the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.


Rated: Great

Innovative, responsible, and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a top score overall from us. The brand covers all the basics in womenswear, menswear, and kidswear. Armedangels' quality and long-lasting pieces are made from lower-impact and certified materials, like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. The brand also adopted the Fair Wear Foundation Code of Conduct to protect its workers abroad.

Its products are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels.

Shop Armedangels @ Earthkind.

Shop Armedangels @ Cerqular.

Kings of Indigo

Rated: Good

Kings of Indigo makes quality denims, tops, and accessories inspired by American classics with a Japanese eye for detail. The brand uses GOTS organic cotton as well as recycled cotton and wool, and avoids all chemicals from the REACH chemical list.

Offered in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Kings of Indigo.

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

Whimsy + Row is a US-based lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and responsible practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern woman. Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, and by limiting each garment to short runs, the brand also reduces packaging waste and takes care of precious water resources.

Find most products in XS-XL, with an extended sizing range up to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

Shop Whimsy + Row @ Earthkind.


Rated: Good
Someone in field wearing floral maxi dress by HarperSage.

HarperSage is a responsible lifestyle brand for womenswear, making dresses, tops, pants, and more. It's on a mission to create clothes responsibly, empowering women by partnering with a woman-owned SEDEX certified factory in India and using lower-impact materials that are completely vegan.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop HarperSage.


Rated: Good

JAN 'N JUNE is a more sustainable, fair and transparent fashion label from Hamburg. Created by young female entrepreneurs who could not find what they were looking for and decided to make it themselves, this minimalistic, super stylish fair fashion label succeeds in being more sustainable and affordable at the same time.

Find sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.


Shop JAN 'N JUNE @ Earthkind.

Threads 4 Thought

Rated: Good

Threads 4 Thought uses a range of lower-impact materials including TENCEL™ Modal harvested from the limbs of beech trees. This process means that the trees are never cut down and 95% of the production materials to make the yarn are recovered and reused. The brand's manufacturers are a combination of Fair Trade USA certified and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production certified.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL, with an extended sizing range up to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Threads 4 Thought.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
A man wears navy jeans and a blue top

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year. MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton.

MUD Jeans are available in a range of sizes, usually from W25 L30-W33 L32 for women and W28 L34-W36 L34 for men.

See the rating.

Shop MUD Jeans.

COS (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

COS is a Swedish brand that creates timeless and innovative wardrobe-essentials. It uses some eco-friendly materials and received a score of 71-80% in the Fashion Transparency Index.

See the rating.

Shop COS Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

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. We love to recommend some of the best more sustainable brands, rated "Good" or "Great". We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

Ethical brand ratings. There’s an app for that.

Wear the change you want to see. Download our app to discover ethical brands and see how your favourites measure up.