How sustainable are your favourite brands?

News, blog and backgrounds about the sustainability scores of brands

Designer brands score zero for transparency

When a handbag is so beautiful that the designer can charge a thousand euros for it, I”m not going to blame anyone for buying it. But I can”t help wondering where that thousand euros goes. The leather can”t cost that much – even though it IS such wonderful quality. And the extra buckles and zips can only account for, let”s say, 20 euros max. So what does the rest go on? Oh well. At least the person who made it must have received a decent amount. Right?

Who knows.

Here at Rank a Brand, we”ve spotted a rather dastardly pattern. The more expensive and exclusive a fashion brand is, the less likely it is to tell us ANYTHING about how, where and by whom its products were made. Vivienne Westwood, Armani, Miu Miu, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld: not one of them gains a single point in our rankings.

How are designer clothes made? Turns out we just don't know

Let”s be clear about what they”re not saying: in our research, we dig around for information about carbon emissions, about how each brand sources its raw materials, about the chemicals it uses, about the labor conditions at its suppliers” factories. But they tell us nothing, nada, zip. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices. Without this information, how are we to know what shady practices we best online casino are voting for?

A disappointing lack of leadership
Should we be surprised? Possibly not. But we think there are grounds to expect designer brands to be taking the lead – not lagging behind. For a start, they are almost all huge multi-million-euro companies. They can surely afford to live up to the very best standards in supply-chain transparency (never mind the fact that they can surely also afford to meet the very best production standards and labor conditions). Secondly, they sell their clothes and bags and shoes for so much more than they cost to produce that it”s pretty difficult to stomach even the suspicion that they were produced by underpaid, overworked minions in China, Burma or India. Thirdly, the designers who run these companies are revered as artists. Maybe I”m being idealistic, but aren”t artists supposed to be idealists? Surely Vivienne Westwood and Oscar de la Renta stand for more than just beauty? If the answer is yes, then let”s see the proof.

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  1. Sjaak
    Posted 21/11/2011 at 19:29 | Permalink

    Wonderfull article, leadership starts with deeds and not fancy window dressing. Especially not clothes for which pore exploited people are used and which the consumer spends hundreds of euro’s actually going to pathetic non-fair businesses. Again, shame on commercial leading design brands!

  2. Alexandra
    Posted 23/11/2011 at 11:56 | Permalink

    It is indeed ironic that a brands like H&M that sells its shoes for 30 euro, are able to report upon some proper labour conditions, while a the high end brands that sale a pair of shoes for 2000 $ (don’t get me wrong, would love to have a pair of Louboutin’s), went to CSR underground, filled their mouths water, and pretend not to have a clue about proper labour. I mean seriously, I don’t think that they all exploit poor little Indian kids, however I believe that they can dig in their budgets to employ few people for a CSR dep.