Missguided collapsed at the end of May 2022, leaving suppliers and workers out of pocket for months of completed orders.
The Frasers Group, controlled by the Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, has reportedly bought the company out of administration for £20m. This process will take around two months to complete.
We will review the impact of the collapse and new owner in due course.
How ethical is Missguided?
Our research highlights several ethical issues with Missguided, which scored Ethical Consumer’s worst ratings in categories including: Likely Use of Tax Avoidance Strategies, Animal Rights, Supply Chain Management, Workers’ Rights, Carbon Management and Reporting, Environmental Reporting, Toxics, and Palm Oil Sourcing.
Below we outline some of these issues. To see the full detailed stories, and Missguided’s overall ethical rating, please sign in or subscribe.
In 2018 Missguided was named in a Financial Times article titled ‘Dark factories: labour exploitation in Britain’s garment industry'. This stated that workers at factories in Leicester, where the company sourced many of its garments, were paid below the minimum wage, with some paid as little as £3.50 an hour. It stated “while some retailers blame unethical factory owners, the factories say retail’s relentless push for cheap prices makes it impossible to improve.”
Missguided featured in Labour Behind the Label’s Tailored Wages UK Report 2019, which assessed leading clothes brands on whether they ensured garment workers were paid a living wage. Companies were rated A to E, with A being the best rating. The report stated that there was no evidence that Missguided was paying workers a living wage, and it scored grade E in the report.
Missguided was found to source clothing from Bangladesh, China, Turkey and Pakistan, all of which were on Ethical Consumer’s list of oppressive regimes at the time of writing.
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s 2019 report ‘Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability’ listed Missguided as one of the companies that was “least engaged” in sustainable fashion.
Missguided scored our worst rating for Carbon Management and Reporting as it didn’t report its carbon emissions. Discussion of its climate impacts were limited to its delivery services (which were actually run by another company), and carbon impacts of warehouses and headquarters, which constitutes just a small amount of the company’s overall emissions.
It also scored a worst Ethical Consumer rating for Environmental Reporting because discussion was largely limited to impacts such as delivery, as opposed to where its major impacts were - in the creation of its clothing.
In relation to the use of toxic chemicals, Missguided stated “we conducted extensive research into the availability of more sustainable fibres within our supply chains and as a result we are confident that we can introduce these across a significant percentage of our offer”, but no explicit detail was found (for example what percentage of its cotton was organic). As such it received a worst Ethical Consumer rating for Pollution & Toxics.
In 2018 Missguided hit the headlines after it was revealed that a pair of pink high heeled shoes which Missguided advertised as containing “fake fur” actually contained cat fur. According to a BBC article, “Animal rights campaigners Humane Society International (HSI) and Sky News discovered the fur, after a tip-off from a concerned customer. Missguided says it has a strict no fur policy and removed them from sale after being informed of the findings.”
It was also marked down for use of feathers and wool. It also didn’t have a strong animal testing policy. It said that it did not test products on animals, but didn’t provide a fixed cut-off date (date from which none of its ingredients were tested on animals), which was expected of a large company.
Missguided scored Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for Likely Use of Tax Avoidance Strategies, because its parent company Nakai Investments Ltd was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Its ultimate parent company R Holding Limited was also incorporated in Malta, which was considered to be another tax haven.
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