High rack is a clothing brand that is partnered with One Tree Planted, is a non-profit environmental charity focused on global reforestation. For every order, one dollar is donated to plant one tree. The brand uses regular clothing materials that are not recycled or organic, though it does focus on the slow production of clothing. The brand does not provide many details on its labor practices either, where it lacks transparency in how ethical its production is. While it is certainly a better choice than fast fashion brands, there are also many more sustainable options than High rack.
The flare pants are made of ribbed fabric, which is 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Unfortunately, non-organic cotton incorporates the use of toxic and synthetic chemicals that end up contaminating the local water supply and posing a threat to human health. Certain ingredients in these chemicals, such as Glysophate, have even been researched and linked to conditions such as cancer and depression. Conventionally-grown cotton is often also combined with synthetic fabrics for clothing, and the resulting material releases harmful microfibers into the ocean (around 1.7 million tons per year according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources), which poses a large threat to marine animal species and coral reef ecosystems.
Moreso, while minimal, the use of spandex fabric is unsustainable as the synthetic fabric is highly processed and uses nonrenewable resources, which ultimately decomposes in a landfill after hundreds of years.
As the pants are made of materials that are negatively impacting the environment, they do not earn a high score in this category.
High rack states that they are not fast fashion, rather producing clothes slowly in small quantities. This is beneficial to the environment as fast fashion promotes overconsumption and “trendy” purchases that end up in landfills months after they go out of style. The inexpensive aspect of fast fashion is also unfortunate as it becomes more accessible to more of the population, where more clothing can be bought with less money in comparison to slow fashion brands that focus on sustainable, ethical production. By producing small quantities of clothing, High rack ensures that supply does not exceed their demand. With fast fashion, not only the excess clothing becomes waste, but the resources that are used for production (such as water and energy) as well as the resulting pollution damages the environment.
The brand does not provide any further details on their production practices, such as how they could be producing clothing in energy-efficient factories or shipping with eco-packaging. These are examples of sustainable practices and how brands can lead in this category, however, High rack still receives a better than average rating for their commitment to slow production.
High rack states that the clothing is produced in a small factory in Guangzhou, China. There is a picture on the website of Maureen, one of the factory workers, and her team smiling and holding an “I made your clothes” sign, implying that the clothing was made under ethical and fair working conditions. However, the brand does not include any fair labor certifications, so it is not definitive whether their labor practices are ethical (under the regard of certifications and their implication of credibility). It is also not clear what labor regulations the factory enforces, such as paying a living wage and ensuring there is no child labor. Due to this ambiguity and seeming lack of transparency, the brand receives a lower than average score in this category.