Princess Polly, founded in 2010, is a clothing company that is “serving fashion-obsessed 15-25-year-olds”. The Australian-based company has almost 400 employees across its four locations and is owned by a.k.a Brands. Despite being a “fast-fashion” brand, Princess Polly is very thorough with its sustainability initiatives, even releasing a 26-page Modern Slavery and Transparency in Supply Chains Statement. I rated them 2 out of 3 planets because they are on the road to sustainability if they follow through on their stated goals and continue to ensure fair labor practices and sustainable products.
This jacket is made from cotton and polyester, two of the most unsustainable fabrics, but Princess Polly claims to be working on making all of their products low-impact. Recycled polyester and organic cotton is their idea of a more low-impact material and while organic cotton produces around 46% less CO2 emissions compared to non-organic, the production of it still releases a lot of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Recycled polyester is not great either, while it is recycled, the recycling process takes energy, and washing those products releases plastic microfibers that pollute our water sources. Microfibers are a huge environmental issue that makes up 85 percent of human-made debris on shorelines around the world. Nevertheless, a company that is actively trying to make its products more sustainable is not super common in the fast-fashion industry, and Princess Polly’s goals to have 100% lower impact materials by 2030 should be acknowledged. They even go so far as to have their recycled and organic materials certified by Global Organic Textile Standard and Organic Content Standard and Global Recycled Standard and Recycling Content Standard. Also, less than 1% of their items contain animal products and they hope to be at 0% by 2023 and their packaging is 100% recyclable. For these reasons, I rate Princess Polly’s materials a 1.5. They are on the way to being sustainable, but making sure they follow through with their goals will be imperative to watch in the upcoming years.
While Princess Polly is a “fast-fashion” brand with short shipping times when they get a new product they produce it in small quantities. This allows them to understand the demand associated with each product and decrease waste. This is admirable because most fast-fashion brands do not even take this into account when producing their products. They even go a step further with a rigorous auditing process for all Tier 1 manufacturers. Most of their manufacturers are overseas which means large amounts of energy are being used to transport to the US. This is one major problem with outsourcing labor. The onboarding process includes the manufacturer agreeing to their social responsibility and transparency terms before a SEDEX audit is conducted. Even though SEDEX does not always ensure 100% ethical working conditions, it is nice to see a fast-fashion company that lives up to its stated values of Ethical Sourcing, Sustainable Products, Protecting the Planet, and Equality & Community. Princess Polly also has goals for the future including tracing all of their tier 2 suppliers by 2023 and making sure even their corporate offices (IT equipment, furnishings, etc.) are sustainable. The one issue I see with their labor practices is that they are more laid-back when it comes to the companies that sell their products on the Princess Polly website. This is not a major issue considering how well they are already doing with their sustainability/labor practices, but it is something to note. Overall, I rate Princess Polly’s labor practices a 2 because not auditing the companies that sell on their website is an oversight, but they are doing a lot for their own brand.
As part of the UN global compact, Princess Polly is dedicated to the UN’s sustainable development goals in all aspects of its business model. It seems as though the people working for Princess Polly really do care about the environment and the people working at their facilities. For example, their goals include net-zero emissions for their entire supply chain by 2030, zero waste to landfills by 2025, and having their offices and warehouses carbon neutral by 2023. Also, they hope to create a system where used or damaged items can be collected. Besides environmental issues, Princess Polly cares about DEI. They hope to provide training on work and life skills to 3000 women in their supply chain and they donate to BLM, family shelters, and more. Even their website showcases their dedication to DEI though not re-touching pictures, having many different sizes, and even having a pop-up sale for the Australian wildfires. Overall, I rate them a 1.5 because most of what I stated before are goals for the future. I hope to revisit this review at some point to check if they actually followed through on these goals.