Monki Clothing

overall rating:

1

planets

Henna Moussavi
12/2/2021
No items found.

Monki is a self-proclaimed “purpose-driven” brand, seeking to break through barriers in the fashion industry by addressing issues such as “social sustainability, body rights, mental health, periods – or simply new fashion trends” in order to inspire their clientele. The brand was founded in 2006 and is part of the H&M Group. They are based in Sweden, though their market extends across Europe and Asia. From 2020 onward, Monki adopted a deeper awareness of their environmental impacts and indicated their interest in aligning with the UN SDGs, namely 5 and 12, which regard gender equality and sustainable consumption and production.


Like their parent company H&M Group, they outline idealistic objectives in order to achieve climate consciousness, a circular production cycle, and a higher level of sustainability in general. However, there is little evidence that the brand will truly meet its target. Being owned by one of the world’s largest fast fashion conglomerates is definitely a hurdle in their ability to truly be sustainable in nature. It is important as a brand to recognise how to move forward with a quickly evolving environmental and climate crisis, and it is equally if not more necessary to exhibit statistical evidence for these efforts. Monki certainly has potential for this moving forward, earning them 1 planet overall. 

What it's made of:

1

As Monki is part of the H&M group, all of the data and information regarding the sourcing of their materials corresponds with the data of the company as a whole. The cotton sourced for their clothing is, according to the H&M group site, “organic, in-conversion, recycled or sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative”, and they strive to make it increasingly sustainable. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is “the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton”, whose mission is to educate farmers on sustainable farming practices and policies, to promote equality, climate consciousness, economic growth, and fairness in the cotton industry. The cotton they source is primarily from China, Bangladesh, and India, which include 2 countries where the BCI functions and produces cotton.


Overall, the H&M group ranks at the top of the most sustainable cotton usage in Europe, leading with a score of 77.4. This score is based on “the retailer’s policy, uptake and traceability performance in relation to cotton usage” in a study titled “Sustainable cotton usage score of European apparel retailers 2020”. Their ranking is impressive considering that scores above 50 “places retailers in the ‘leading way’ class, a score between 25 and 50 is ‘well on the way’ and a score below 25 is classified as ‘starting the journey’ to sustainable cotton usage”.


Since 2020, all of the cotton used by Monki is recycled, organic, or from a sustainable sourcing partner. More specifically, they launched a collection using “output from the world’s first machine to recycle blended textiles at scale”, which is an innovative step in the field of fast fashion brands. Generally, the H&M group also immensely improved their product traceability since 2020, meaning they “supported development of the standards needed to trace materials and products through the supply chain — from sourcing to recycling” through workstreams with the Tex.IT project and the UN Economic Commission for Europe. This step incorporates another layer of awareness and accountability for the way in which their materials are sourced and their products are made.


Otherwise, the remainder of their materials still could use some improvement, as just 64.5% of their materials are recycled or from sustainable sources. In contrast with their portrayed ethical standpoint, they also continue to use leather in their products, which brings animal welfare to question. There is no shortage to the amount of apparel produced by H&M, and there could very well be a further extent of recycling and reusing their products, earning them a 1.

How it's made:

1

As aforementioned, the year 2020 marked a groundbreaking moment for Monki (among the other H&M group brands) as an improved and more circular production process was established. This meant that Monki moved from a more linear model of production, which essentially entailed taking, using, and wasting, into one where their materials could come back full circle and be given a second life. The overall objective of the H&M group is to apply this model to every aspect of their businesses, including “products and customer offer, supply chain, and non-commercial goods such as packaging and items used in store interiors, offices and distribution centres”. Based on this objective, they signed onto a pledge with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a more circular economy- although it is important to note that signing onto this pledge does not indicate real action or change. In addition, they worked alongside Swedish policymakers in establishing the “Green Recovery Alliance” to call on the EU to prioritise a green recovery and to adopt a 2030 goal to cut carbon emissions by 55%”. This demonstrates how they presently practice some awareness of their environmental impact, striving for improvements as the brand develops, though unfortunately lack the sufficient evidence.


With regard to the employees working in their factories, Monki assures how the staff working with their suppliers are democratically represented through either elected workers’ committees or trade unions, allowing them the liberty to negotiate their preferences effectively and as a whole. Furthermore, they are promised a fair living wage based on the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). When addressing the question of how Monki is so affordable, yet is able to offer their employees a fair living wage, they respond that they “can offer garments at affordable prices, made sustainably, since [they’re] a part of the H&M Group… in a nutshell, being part of a large group, with [their] design teams means [they] can order large quantities without any middle hands”. This means that since all of the products across the H&M group are made in the same factories and countries, the more expensive H&M Group brands (i.e. & Other Stories) can compensate for workers' pay where the less expensive brands do not.


Otherwise, the Bangladesh Accord, which was set into place in 2013, was created to strengthen the fire and building safety in the Bangladesh textile industry. As a country with frequently poor electrical installations and maintenance, it was significant that the H&M Group was one of the first to sign the accord to protect the 1,600 factories that are monitored by it. Monki’s awareness and recent concern with this array of issues earns Monki a 1, because whilst it is ideal that they have been addressing these responsibilities since 2020, there is still a long way to go before they are able to compensate for the waste or damage of the past. They also would require further external certification to ensure that they are actually being held to a standard to achieve these objectives.

Who makes it:

1

As aforementioned, Monki is owned by H&M, one of the world’s largest fast fashion groups. The brand was founded by Adam Freiberg and Orjan Andersson, who also happen to be the heads of the Weekday chain. As Monki is part of this larger conglomerate of fast fashion brands, it is inextricably linked with the various production processes involved, whether they are sustainable or not. Monki itself sets out to be perceived as a particularly feminist brand, with concerns about social issues and maintaining their “sisterhood values”. It is unknown as to where this mission comes from, considering the company was founded by two men with existing retail businesses, although their marketing aligns with this message.


As for who makes it, Monki clothing would receive a 1, as they are definitely on the start to being sustainable, but the only reason they can afford to do so is because of their connections with the more expensive H&M brands who help fund where Monki comes short. If they were to implement higher prices, and try to achieve sustainable objectives in a more self-sustaining fashion, then this would put them on track for higher scores.