Emma Watson, the British activist and actress best known for her role in the “Harry Potter” movie franchise, recently announced that she’ll be adopting Good on You’s brand ratings as her benchmark for making ethical fashion choices.
“Fashion helps shape our identities; what we wear signifies who we are and what we stand for,” Watson said in a statement from the Australia-based app, which appraises more than 2,000 apparel brands based on their commitments toward people, planet and animals. “I support Good On You because I need to know my clothes do not harm our precious planet or its people.”
Good on You, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play at zero cost, gives each brand a rating out of five for each category, along with an overall score. Brands are labeled “We Avoid,” “Not Good Enough,” “It’s a Start,” “Good” and “Great.”
For animals, the app identifies whether a brand uses fur, wool, down feathers or exotic animal skins. Under people, Good on You examines a company’s supplier relationships, auditing practices and any policies covering child labor, forced labor, worker safety and living wages. And when it comes to the planet, Good on You weighs each brand’s environmental footprint, including its impacts around waste, energy, chemicals, water and carbon emissions.
“On the red carpet, we’re often asked not what we are wearing but ‘who.’ It’s as if the ideas behind the clothes—the label, the designer, the collection—have more meaning than the garment itself,” Watson said. “But there’s something missing. There’s a bigger story to be told about the conditions in which our clothes are made, the resources that have been used and the impact they’ve had on communities.”
Four Paws, an international animal-welfare group that collaborates with Good on You, says it believes fashion brands should hold themselves accountable for how they affect people, animals and the environment.
“Millions of lives suffer for the sake of fashion and it’s important that consumers know just how these various materials are sourced,” Claire LaFrance, head of communications for Four Paws U.S.A., said in a statement. “We’re happy to see that many people want to make sustainable fashion purchases and that the fashion icons of the world are listening and leading the change.”
A cruelty-free direction for fashion, in particular, has been dominating the headlines. Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Phillip Lim, Ralph Lauren, Versace and luxury e-tailer Farfetch have all boycotted fur in quick succession. Diane von Furstenberg and Victoria Beckham recently nixed exotic skins, and British department store Selfridges said Tuesday it will do the same by 2020.
The world of fashion is changing and ethical fashion is the future, LaFrance added.
Watson agrees with the sentiment.
“Fashion is a creative force. It has the power to persuade, to influence and transform. When fashion truly embraces transparency and sustainability, other spheres will follow,” the “Beauty and the Beast” star said. “We’re on a journey toward a more sustainable future. This is just the beginning.”
Watson has championed sustainable fashion for years, first by teaming up with the likes of People Tree and Alberta Ferretti to produce eco-friendly capsule collections, then by promising to wearing only sustainably made clothes during press tours and on the red carpet. In 2016, she attended the Met Gala in New York City wearing a menswear-inspired Calvin Klein gown made with Newlife, a luxury yarn milled in Italy using 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
“It’s just not enough for me anymore that it’s a beautiful item or a beautiful piece,” she told CNN Style’s Derek Blasberg later. “I want to know that it’s not leaving a negative mark…I want to look good and feel good and do good, and that, to me, is luxury.”