Stradivarius has made a name for itself as a brand for young women who want to ‘express themselves comfortably regardless of the occasion’ – but is it ethical and sustainable?
While it started off as a family-owned brand, the brand grew when it joined Inditex in 1999 and opened its 500th store within a decade.
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Here, we take a look at the practises behind the label.
Is Stradivarius sustainable?
Stradivarius is part of the Inditex group, which also owns brands Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Uterqüe and Oysho. This probably already gives you an idea of how sustainable (or not) they are.
Like its sister brands Zara and Bershka, Stradivarius operates in a similar way to fast fashion brands such as Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Boohoo, releasing new designs all the time to keep up with emerging trends.
Stradivarius, along with other Inditex brands, reportedly produced more than 1.6billion items in 2019 and of course, many of these end up in landfill.
Fast fashion encourages shoppers to consume more and to wear their clothes less and now the average American is now estimated to throw away 37kg of clothes each year, 85% of which will end up in landfill or be burned.
However in 2019, Inditex signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and pledged to create all of its collections from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025 and to eliminate single-use plastics by 2023.
It also claimed that 80% of the energy consumed in its headquarters, factories and stores will be from renewable sources by the same year, its facilities will produce zero landfill waste and it set a 30% reduction target for its emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
On top of this, the group has a selection of goals for the next few decades, including:
- 100% of electricity from renewables by 2022
- 100% free of single use plastics for all customers by 2023
- 100% more sustainable cotton (organic, BC, and/or recycled cotton) by 2023
- 100% sustainable man-made cellulosic fibres from more sustainable sources by 2023
- 100% more sustainable linen and recycled polyester by 2025
- Inditex to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2040
Like other brands from Inditex, Stradivarius no longer offers plastic bags and instead uses recycled packaging for its products.
The group also started a repair and reuse program called Closing The Loop in 2016, which allows shoppers to drop off used garments in-store or through the post to be recycled.
However Stradivarius still needs to amp up its efforts. There’s no evidence the brand attempts to reduce waste in the manufacturing process and its lack of transparency in its effort to achieve the sustainability goal is concerning. It also uses very few environment-friendly materials.
Read Stradivarius’ sustainability policy here.
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Is Stradivarius ethical?
In 2022, Stradivarius received a score of 81-90% in the Fashion Transparency Index, a huge improvement on previous years.
Inditex has a code of conduct that protects workers and audits take place to ensure this is enforced. The group also publish a list of suppliers, information of supplier audits and some information on gender equality, forced labour and freedom of association.
However Good On You report that half of its final stage of production takes place in Spain, a country which holds a medium risk for labour abuse. There is also no evidence Stradivarius pays a living wage across its supply chain as they don’t keep a public record.
As for the COVID-19 pandemic, the group discloses policies in place to protect workers and suppliers in its supply chain from the impacts of Covid-19. In August 2020, it was reported that Inditex had pledged to maintain workers’ rights throughout their supply chains and the stability of payments to suppliers during the crisis.
The group had previously signed a joint agreement with global workers’ union IndustriALL, and during the pandemic they reiterated their commitment to ensuring health and safety standards were met and bargaining rights and workers’ rights to unionise were maintained throughout their supply chains. The group also committed to stable payment terms to allow suppliers to honour payments to their workers, ensuring they didn’t lose wages during the pandemic like certain fast fashion retailers’ employees did, such as those for Arcadia.
Read Stradivarius’ labour rights policy here.
Stradivarius’ Animal Welfare Policy
Stradivarius continues to use leather and exotic animal hair in its products, while it sources wool from non-mulesed sheep.
It does not use fur, angora, exotic animal skin or down, and it works with Fur Free Alliance and their Fur Free Retailer programme to avoid animal exploitation.
The brand also claims to use only animal products from animals ‘that have been treated ethically and responsibly’ — a good start.
However it provides no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production.
Read Stradivarius’ Animal Welfare Policy here.
READ MORE: Is Zara ethical and sustainable?
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.
Will you still shop at Stradivarius? Let us know below!