Boden has made a name for itself as a unique, colourful and well-made fashion – but is the British brand ethical and sustainable?
Boden was launched in 1991, selling a capsule collection of eight menswear pieces. A year later, it introduced womenswear.
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It currently has only two stand-alone stores, though it’s carried by a lot of retailers across the UK and delivers worldwide through its online store.
For such a well-known brand with a history spanning 25 years, Boden must be doing something right…right?
Boden is proud to say that it loves ‘clothes that last’ and that it protects its workers, so let’s find out if the brains behind the brand stick to their word.
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Is Boden sustainable?
Many people seek out Boden not just for the beautiful clothes, but also for how sustainable they claim to be.
As well as avoiding being ‘faddish’ or ‘fast about fashion’, the brand promises to fix or replace any piece you buy from them if it doesn’t last at least 365 days.
Boden also says it’s committed to using more eco-friendly fabrics in its pieces, and has declared its goal to use 100% sustainable viscose, 100% organic and recycled cotton, 100% regenerated and recycled nylon, and 100% Lenzing-certified Tencel by 2025. It also announced a goal to use only sustainably sourced denim by 2022, so it will be interesting to see if it meets the target.
It’s not just the products the brand aims to make more sustainable, but also its packaging and offices. It currently uses 80% recycled materials in its packaging, while its office spaces are said to have a ‘zero-to-landfill policy’.
In late 2021, in time for preparing for the Christmas holidays, Boden also swore off using sequins and glitter in any of its clothing. Prior to the move, the brand removed sequins from its kids’ section in August 2021.
Speaking of the move, Cristina Gilkes, director of product development and buying at Boden, said: ‘The idea of having items of clothing to be worn for just one month out of 12 is not something that aligns with who we are.’
Despite all this however, Good On You reported earlier this year that there’s no proof that the brand has taken a significant step towards reducing greenhouse emissions and removing hazardous chemicals from its manufacturing process.
Is Boden ethical?
Boden says it works with 150 manufacturers in 15 different countries around the world to create its products. It also provides transparency in the form of a list containing each one of them, which can be viewed here.
The brand says it ‘believes in fair workplaces, where the rights of workers throughout the supply chain are protected and respected.’ In support of this, it joined the Ethical Trading Initiative in 2008.
Among the policies it claims to prioritise are payment of living wages and closing the gender pay gap. You can read the latest report on the gender pay gap, dated 2019, here. The brand also has a modern slavery statement, which you can read here.
It’s worth noting that all of these are internal reports, and that no third-party audits have been made for these, hence there is no clear proof that it does make good on all its promises.
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Boden’s Animal Welfare Policy
Boden says all animal-derived products used in its clothing are from animals ‘accorded high standards of animal welfare.’ The brand currently uses wool, leather, and exotic animal skin in some of its products.
Read the brand’s full animal welfare statement here.
Wear Next Opinion
Wear Next believes it’s important to highlight the negative and unjust practises taking place in the fashion industry. We believe ethics and sustainability are an important talking point to bring about change and we encourage you to contact fashion brands to demand this.
However we understand that sustainable fashion isn’t accessible for every body due to various factors, such as budget and the ability to find confidence-boosting clothes that fit. We will continue to offer you fashion inspiration and guidance to suit every body and budget, while also highlighting the unjust systems at play in the fashion industry.