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Is Monki Ethical and Sustainable?

It aims to 'be kind to the world' but is Monki keeping its word?

Last Updated on June 4, 2023

Monki aims to be ‘kind to the world and empowering the young women in it.’ A nice sentiment, but is it following through with the claim with ethical practises and a sustainable business model?

The Swedish brand has positioned itself as one that cares beyond just offering trends. It claims to be a ‘purpose-driven brand’ that wants to be known not just for the clothes it sells, but also for its ‘brave sustainability efforts’ and ‘conscious initiatives.’

The brand is part of the H&M group, which also owns & Other Stories, Weekday and of course, H&M.

Monki model wears crochet skirt and neon top

H&M has long been accused of greenwashing, so let’s delve further into Monki’s sustainability efforts.

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Is Monki sustainable?

It’s worth noting that the brand’s parent company is H&M, which is one of the most eco-conscious fast fashion brands around right now. If that sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because it is.

Good on You define fast fashion as ‘cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.’

This is often done in bulk, especially by a company as big as H&M.

H&M scored 81-90% in the Fashion Transparency Index in 2022, but accusations that it is merely greenwashing resurfaced recently when Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams announced that she’s partnering with the brand as a Global Sustainability Ambassador. 

Okay, but what about the brand itself? It would be counterintuitive to assume that its systems and model would differ much from its parent company. 

READ MORE: Which fabrics are eco-friendly?

It does use some recycled and eco-friendly materials; the brand claims to use 100% organic cotton for its denim line, recycled polyester and polyamide for its swimsuits, and sustainably sourced vegan leather for its vegan leather accessories range.

The brand is great at sharing information about practices that can help save the environment. It also shares its plans to pursue initiatives that would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations. 

However, there is no way for people to see if it’s on track to meet its goals. Is it just all words? Not really. It did run some projects in line with its sustainability claims but at its core, it’s still a fast-fashion brand.

Want to know what other brands are doing to improve fashion sustainability? Learn about Stradivarius and Bershka‘s sustainability initiatives.

Is Monki ethical?

Can a fast fashion brand be ethical? Those that fall under this category are notorious for exploiting their work throughout the supply chain.

Monki claims it prioritises giving its workers fair living wages and good working conditions, following the United Nations’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, there is no proof that it does pay workers in different parts of its supply chain a living wage. 

It’s worth noting though that unlike many brands, Monki has a policy for hiring members of the LGBTQ+ community. Its offices in Gothenburg and Stockholm are said to be certified by the RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQI rights. However, those are just two offices; it has 119 stores worldwide.

READ MORE: 7 apps that will help you curate a sustainable wardrobe

Monki’s Animal Welfare Policy

When it comes to animal welfare, the brand’s off to a good start. It doesn’t use leather, down, feathers, and wool in its items. It also doesn’t use PVC in products. 

Monki seems to be in the right direction, but will it be able to make an actual impact and remove itself from the fast-fashion model? We’re keeping an eye out.

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.

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