A Movement To Reform Fashion
Free People is owned by URBN, which also owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Nuuly. For more details on URBN’s social and environmental commitments, see the Remake Brand Directory.
URBN never agreed to #PayUp to its garment makers for clothing orders manufactured prior to the pandemic, jeopardizing the livelihoods and wellbeing of its makers. What’s more, months after dozens of other retailers agreed to protect their suppliers and garment workers and #PayUp, URBN announced the decision to cancel a significant volume of additional orders and demand discounts on orders that have already shipped. As garment factories already operate on razor-thin margins, this likely pushed factories to produce clothing at below cost.
KEEP WORKERS SAFE
The Keep Workers Safe demand requires brands to ensure their garment workers’ financial and economic safety during the pandemic by signing onto the Severance Guarantee Fund, which creates a social safety net for laid-off workers; by contributing to direct relief for garment workers; and by protecting human rights, democracy, and the right to organize. It’s estimated the cost to ensure a social safety net for garment workers is just $.10 cents more per garment. And yet URBN made no additional efforts to Keep Workers Safe during the pandemic, earning the brand a “NO” for Keep Workers Safe.
While URBN publicly discloses a list of some active tier 1 cut-and-sew garment factories, the company has neither committed to, nor does it publicly provide the level of detail necessary to align with the Transparency Pledge or that reflects best practice, such as listing addresses and type of products manufactured. Tier 1 transparency is the absolute lowest bar of compliance in fashion and since URBN has yet to meet it, we have given them a “NO” for Go Transparent.
SIGN ENFORCEABLE AGREEMENTS
URBN has yet to sign the new International Accord on workplace safety. The International Accord is a binding agreement that is instrumental in creating safe, fire-and-hazard-proof workplaces for garment workers. It was devised in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, in which 1,134 garment makers were crushed to death in a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh. Today, the Accord is the industry standard for workplace safety agreements, with more than 150 brand signatories as of December of 2021. URBN’s lack of concern for the lives of its makers is disturbing, earning it a “NO” for Sign Enforceable Agreements.
END STARVATION WAGES
URBN has made no public commitment to pay living wages in its supply chain, nor can it demonstrate that the workers in its supply chain earn above poverty wages.
HELP PASS LAWS
URBN was named one of the top violators of wage theft in California garment factories. And yet the company failed to endorse the Garment Worker Protection Act, a precedent-setting bill passed in 2021 that holds brands accountable for sub-minimum wages in their factories in the state of California.