New Look is the fashion brand generating thousands of styles and new looks in the UK.
It was founded in 1969, in Taunton, Somerset by Tom Singh.
Since then, it has expanded globally, spanning 489 stores in the UK and a few dozen stores internationally with a staff of over 18,000.
New Look is one of the UK’s leading fashion brands.
Tom Singh had the vision to make such a fashion brand which offered several choices and continually changing merchandise so the customers kept returning to stores.
This strategy has worked in New Look’s favour. This fast-fashion brand is famous for bringing trendy, high-street fashion into cheaper, low-priced versions.
Each week, New Look introduces more than 800 new products.
New Look produces low-cost goods. However, these low-cost goods come at a high price of environmental damage.
Is buying from New Look as good as it seems to be? Or are these affordable and stylish products too good to be true? Let’s find out.
Does New Look use child Labour?
Unfortunately, at some point or another, many fast-fashion brands have been found guilty of using child labour. This is the cost of producing, trendy, affordable clothing, which everyone overlooks.
Fashion brands chase labour costs and in doing so overstep many limits.
Several brands such as New Look, H&M and Sports Direct’s Lonsdale brand were found to use factories employing child labour, in low-cost factories in Myanmar. These factories paid as little as 13p an hour.
The wages at factories were found to be lower than the full legal minimum.
Not only this but Myanmar’s factories act about workers not working more than 60 hours a week, was also conveniently overlooked. Workers at factories supplying New Look and other fast-fashion brands complained of working longer hours. There were also reports of unpaid overtime.
In its defence, New Look stated that it recognized the problem and was working with its partners in Myanmar to develop an ethical garment industry.
It looks like New Look has learned its lesson though. Since the 2017 incident, New Look hasn’t been in any news of employing child labour.
New Look’s website also puts forward a child labour policy. In it, New Look pledges not to employ child labour at any stage in the supply chain and expects its suppliers to monitor their supply chains too.
In case any child labour is detected, New Look states that the supplier should be deemed responsible for returning the child to education as well as paying the child.
New Look claims to work with its suppliers to ensure they don’t hire any child labour. It also conducted training in 112 of its factories in China.
However, New Look also realizes that solving this problem is easier said than done. It states that on very rare occasions it HAS found underage workers in our factories.
In such cases, it abides by the industry best practices, removes child labour from work and supports them in education. New Look also requires its suppliers to sign up for the Child Labour Remediation Procedures.
All these measures make us hopeful that indeed New Look is playing its part in combating child labour.
Is it ethical?
New Look has earlier been under scrutiny when it got caught in a case of inhumane working conditions. TS Knitwear, the factory with which New Look placed an order, was discovered to be paying garment workers under UK £3 an hour.
Soon enough New Look dropped its partnership with the factory.
The famous organization ‘Good on You’ rates New Look as ‘Not Good enough’. That is because it uses few eco-friendly materials. It also produces mass volumes of on-trend clothing which do lead to overconsumption and environmental damage.
Essentially, every fast-fashion brand is pushing production and encouraging customers to indulge in more shopping. No fast fashion can be fully sustainable.
New Look has also taken some measures to be a more sustainable brand.
On its website, New Look claims that it has taken several measures among which some are that it
· switched to renewable energy across its store, warehouses and offices, in 2019
· partnered with One Carbon World to offset its carbon emission, making it the first global retailer to achieve both UN Climate Neutral Now Participation and Carbon Neutral Gold Standard
· manufactures more than 50% of its clothing using sustainable fabrics
· recycles its old plastics to make new packaging
· has saved over 100m litre water in denim production
New Look aims to become climate positive by the year 2040.
It also has a policy dedicated to animal welfare. It accepts only those animal products which are a by-product of the food/meat industry. It also stands against animal testing.
These steps show movement in the positive direction.
Where does it get their clothes?
In this matter too, New Look has tried to be transparent.
New Look has published a list of factories from which it sources its products. Its TIER 1 list includes those which manufacture its products while Tier 2 list includes factories involved in knitting, dyeing and spinning.
Most of its factories, listed in Tier 1 are from China. China is the country with the highest number of factories supplying New Look. 185 Chinese factories supply to New Look.
Next comes Turkey, at 117 factories supplying to New Look.
Considering all these aspects, we can safely say that while New Look is a fast-fashion brand, it is putting its best foot forward in terms of becoming a more responsible and green brand.