A phone on a desk with a plant and coaster, featuring TikTok on the screen.
25 Apr
A phone on a desk with a plant and coaster, featuring TikTok on the screen.

How Ethical Are the Most Popular TikTok Clothing Brands? We Rated 27 to Find Out

Have you ever been scrolling through TikTok #hauls and thought to yourself, this can’t be sustainable, can it? Well, we’ve got answers. We rated the most popular brands on TikTok for their impacts on people, planet, and animals. Here’s how they stack up.

TikTok is a boon for ultra fast fashion

With over 1 billion users, catchy visuals and sounds, and a viral platform where virtually anyone can get famous (@ Charlie D’Amelio), TikTok has revolutionised the way we consume media and fashion. As fun as the platform can be for its many memes, the track records for the brands we see aren’t always so cute.

In this fast-paced digital age, it seems as though the “old-school fast fashion” brands like H&M and Zara are Y2K relics of the past, heavily surpassed in both production and follower count by global monsters like SHEIN and Boohoo. These ultra fast fashion labels have cunningly mastered the art of digital consumption, luring in young consumers with #hauls and #giveaways by utilising data in revolutionary ways.

But as ubiquitous as these brands are on TikTok, it can be hard to find out their true impacts. Well, we’re here to help you peel back the industry’s lack of transparency and see what’s really happening with the brands populating your feed. Here’s what we found: many of these fast fashion brands are exacerbating inequality, exploiting workers, and producing plastic garments that will ultimately end up in landfills.

You ask: “How do the top TikTok brands rate?” Scroll on for answers.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Rated: Not Good Enough

Abercrombie & Fitch is an American lifestyle retailer that focuses on casual wear. While the brand has recently had a renaissance since its early noughties heyday, it still is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers. Specifically, none of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages or other labour rights.

See the rating.

Adika

Rated: We Avoid

Adika is street style fashion brand founded in Tel Aviv that began as a fashion e-commerce site in 2011. After gaining traction in 2014, the brand became synonymous with affordable trend pieces worn by TikTok influencers like Charlie D'Amelio. As expected, however, cheap comes with a different price. The global brand does not communicate sufficient information about its environmental or labour policies. In fact, it received a score of zero for water, chemicals, GHG emissions, and waste compliance. If that's not enough, it also received zeros for supporting a living wage, worker empowerment, and knowing any of its suppliers.

See the rating.

Amazon

Rated: Not Good Enough

Convenient for you, but not for the hands that made that $5 shirt you'll wear once. Surprise surprise, the pinnacle of American "efficiency" and convenience has poor labour and environmental ratings. It uses few eco-friendly materials and there is no evidence it pays living wages. It has even been linked with sourcing cotton from the Xinjiang region in China at risk of using Uyghur forced labour and has taken insufficient steps to remediate.

See the rating.

American Eagle

Rated: Not Good Enough

Known for its laidback, California-inspired aesthetic, American Eagle has long been a staple for many young shoppers. While the brand has set science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its own operations and supply chain, there is no evidence it is on track to meet these targets. In terms of labour, AE received a score of 11-20% in the 2021 Fashion Transparency Index meaning there is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain.

See the rating.

Anthropologie

Rated: Not Good Enough

Ah, the infamous claw clips. Worn by every "cool girl" out there, Anthropologie, with the help of TikTok of course, helped to popularise this all-consuming trend among others. Based in the US and equipped with a boho-style aesthetic, "Anthro" is not doing enough in every aspect. Aside from not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers, it also is not even close to having a positive impact on the planet.

See the rating.

Aritzia

Rated: Not Good Enough

Known for its elevated basics, Aritzia is a Canadian women's fashion brand founded in Vancouver by Brian Hill in 1984. The brand's popularised SUPERPUFFS and trendsetting Melina Pants have brought it into the zeitgeist and in direct competition with global powerhouses like H&M and Zara. While the brand's pricing is more in line with higher-end brands, unfortunately the expense does not cover the environmental impact or labour rights. Aritzia uses some eco-friendly materials including organic cotton, but there is no evidence that it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals or minimise textile waste when manufacturing its products. Additionally, there is no evidence it has set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

See the rating.

ASOS

Rated: Not Good Enough

British powerhouse ASOS has proven its ability to utilise TikTok to its advantage. The “#AySauce” campaign, created in collaboration with Byte London, features a dedicated branded hashtag challenge, in-feed ads, a pumping music track, and an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience with TikTok’s branded effects. While its social strategy has proven successful, its conscious one has not. See the rating to find out why.

See the rating.

Beginning Boutique

Rated: We Avoid

Based in Brisbane, Australia, Beginning Boutique loves being your go-to place for babin' outfits. Founded in 2008, the brand capitalises on creating a community via Tik Tok, allowing you to tag your friends and shop around. Yet, the brand has the lowest score for "people," winning only 1 point out of 5 for protecting basic worker rights.

See the rating.

 

Champion

Rated: Not Good Enough

The pioneer of the hoodie, Champion is a British brand of clothing specialising in sportswear. For the past decade, Champion has enthralled Gen Z with its ultra-comfortable streetwear that capitalises on "coolness". But, just how ethical is it? According to the Fashion Transparency Index, Champion received a score of 31-40% in the Fashion Transparency Index. It likely publishes information about its supplier policies, audits, and remediation processes, but only for the final stage of production. What's more, there is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain.

See the rating.

CIDER

Rated: We Avoid

CIDER does not communicate sufficient information about its environmental and labour policies. Enough said.

See the rating.

Edikted

Rated: We Avoid

Based in the US, Edikted is a Gen-Z-orientated online fashion brand, heavily influenced by pop culture, technology, and style. While the brand seems to focus on the latest styles and trends, it has stayed far away from making any inroads when it comes to sustainability or ensuring worker rights.

See the rating.

Eloquii

Rated: Not Good Enough

Eloquii is a digitally native, vertical brand that offers fashion and on-trend apparel starting at size 14 exclusively through its website and stores. While we appreciate celebrating all bodies, unfortunately Eloquii is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers or promote and protect the environment.

See the rating.

Free People

Rated: Not Good Enough

Free People? That's ironic. Founded in 1984, FP is an American bohemian apparel and lifestyle retail company that is primarily known for its Coachella-like style. Similarly to Aritzia, FP features pretty pricey clothing considering its poor ethics. Its labour rating is lacking as none of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights.

See the rating.

Gymshark

Rated: Not Good Enough

It's all in the pants. British brand Gymshark has taken the activewear industry by storm with its body-sculpting apparel popping up everywhere online, including Tik Tok. However, clearly this brand only values its customers' hard work, and not everyone else in its supply chain. Despite adopting a Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles, there is no evidence Gymshark has worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint. Additionally, there is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain.

See the rating.

H&M

Rated: It's A Start

H&M is a Swedish Fast Fashion brand known for its cheap, affordable clothing for men, women, and children. Although it has set some good standards on transparency and is making a start for people, the planet, and animals, it still creates short-lived products.

See the rating.

I.AM.GIA

Rated: We Avoid

I.AM.GIA is an Australian clothing brand that was co-founded by Alana Pallister with her sister Stevie Cox in May 2017. The name comes from the supermodel Gia Carangi and was formulated around a fictional character based on the Instagram "It Girl". As you may have guessed by now, the brand has the lowest rating offered as it does not provide adequate information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and animals.

See the rating.

Lululemon

Rated: Not Good Enough

Founded in Vancouver, Canada, Lululemon is a technical athletic apparel company for yoga, running, training and most other sweaty pursuits. It traces most of its supply chain, but none of it is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages or other labour rights.

See the rating.

Mejuri

Rated: Not Good Enough

Founded in 2013, Canadian brand Mejuri has taken the luxury jewellery market by storm. Unfortunately, it did so by sacrificing the environment in the process. Currently, Mejuri does not use eco-friendly materials. While it does hand make products, there is no evidence it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals or reduce water consumption.

See the rating.

Pacsun

Rated: We Avoid

Founded in 1980 as Pacific Sunwear, LA-based PacSun has evolved well beyond beach wear. Today, the brand is a leading lifestyle brand, offering collections and styles to a community of inspired youth. While following youth culture on Tik Tok, Pacsun has failed to evolve sustainably, doing little to provide worker or environmental rights.

See the rating.

 

Princess Polly

Rated: Not Good Enough

$1000 wardrobe promotion? We don't think so. Princess Polly is an Australian online fashion boutique that is notorious for producing tons of micro-trends at the worst quality. Unsurprisingly, the brand's environment rating is very low. It uses some eco-friendly materials including recycled materials but is doing nothing to reduce its carbon footprint or limit other greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain.

See the rating.

REVOLVE

Rated: We Avoid

Founded in 2003 as the "next-generation fashion retailer for Millennial and Generation Z consumers," REVOLVE prides itself on innovation and social impact. But it seems that the retailer's ability to innovate only goes as far as greenwashing. While our rating only covers REVOLVE house apparel brands, its environmental and labour scores leave a lot to be desired.

See the rating.

Rumours

Rated: Not Good Enough

California Cool meets NY Chic. Founded in 2019 by Dacey Trotta, Rumours has seriously taken off in a heavily influencer driven world with stars like Jordan Sloane and Emma Lager jet-setting in this up-and-coming brand. While in its nascent stages, the brand provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and animals. Bummer.

See the rating.

 

Savage X Fenty

Rated: We Avoid

Known for its spicy, all-inclusive pricing and sizing, Savage X Fenty has taken off as a modern lingerie alternative to Victoria’s Secret. To our dismay, however, it seems that the brand does not communicate sufficient information about its environmental and labour policies.

See the rating.

SHEIN

Rated: We Avoid

SHEIN provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and animals. As consumers, we have the right to know how the products we buy affect the issues we care about.

See the rating.

UNIF

Rated: Not Good Enough

Unif Clothing is a lifestyle brand from Los Angeles, California. Known for its alternative Y2K styles, the brand has soared in popularity among Gen Z'ers. However, according to its rating, the brand doesn't do enough for people, planet, or animals.

See the rating.

Verge Girl

Rated: Not Good Enough

Verge Girl, founded by Australian sisters Natalia Suesskow and Daniella Dionyssiou in 2007, is now purely a direct-to-consumer online business. Their brand aims to provide style-driven affordability with pieces that won’t break the bank. As we all know, these prices come at a cost. The brand has one of the lowest ratings in our methodology and is not doing enough to limit impact on people and planet.

See the rating.

Zara

Rated: Not Good Enough

While SHEIN has toppled the once eponymous Zara in production and clout, the brand still has quite a loyal following. Owned by Inditex, Zara creates short-lived, fast fashion products on a massive scale. As of this year, the brand is still not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers.

See the rating.

That’s all, folks. We hope this guide was informative, empowering, and sparked a curiosity to learn more about some of the most powerful brands in fashion.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use the 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.