- Quality clothing
- Ethically sourced, with very good CSR record
- Mainstream ethical alternative, now available internationally
- Environmental record could improve
- Can be a bit pricey
- Does not have Ethical Accreditation
Originally launched in 1988, the Fat Face story is a famous one: it began with “two friends desperately trying to avoid working for a living, enjoying all that the French Alps had to offer. The life was too good to end, but money was running short. A plan was needed!” So they decided to “design some sweatshirts, sell them at night, ski during the day, stick around till Spring then head for the beach.” Thus, Fat Face was born.
Fast forward to today, Fat Face is a fast-growing lifestyle clothing and accessories retailer. Now one of the UK’s most recognised multi-channel retail brands stocking a wide range of womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, footwear, and accessories, Fat Face has 200 stores across the UK and an online shop which delivers in the U.S., Canada and other regions.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Fat Face are known to operate according to several key corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. They describe this set of policies, as follows:
FatFace is committed to ensuring all local laws are adhered to as well as their own ethical and operational standards. All suppliers receive a full set of ethical and operational standards and it is ensured that they understand and agree to the below standards being met:
* Remuneration for employees must be fair and commensurate with the work undertaken
* Children may not be employed
* No discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or ethnic background
* No forced labour
* No inappropriate disciplinary practices
* Freedom of association for all employees
* Health and safety policies must be established and enforced
In addition, Fat Face is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). This initiative, for the reader not familiar, is a growing alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promote respect for workers’ rights around the globe. Under this initiative, audits are carried out on the ethical standards of suppliers and the results shared with other members of the ETI.Due to being a part of this initiative, Fat Face is able to access information provided by other ETI members into its current and potential suppliers. In 2011, Fat Face was awarded the “Achiever” status by the ETI for the improvements made during the financial year.
On top of its CSR policies, the company states that it is also committed to reducing its environmental impact where possible. Accordingly, “FatFace ensures that the electrical supply comes from green energy or energy efficient sources. All product suppliers are required to have an environmental policy signed by their Chief Executive.” In each of their stores “waste management and energy efficiency” models have been implemented, including investment “in smart meters to monitor emissions”.
How do consumers rate Fat Face? Many will likely agree that Fat Face is one of the better-quality High Street clothing shops in the UK. Of the few products we’ve seen, the clothing appears to be of quality make. And while the general Fat Face style may not appeal to everyone, what the brand has become known for is a high standard of “clothing and accessories for an active lifestyle”. That Fat Face clothing is also ethical should add another dimension of appeal.
In contrast to other product sectors, it is difficult to obtain a general consensus regarding consumer rating. On Amazon.co.uk, Fat Face currently (at the time of writing) has an average review score of 4.5 / 5. The picture is different however on 2 universal review sites: Fat Face currently scores 3.8 / 5 on ReviewCentre.com while scoring a very low 2.8 out of 10 on Trustpilot. Due to the less than satisfactory sample size, one really cannot glean completely an accurate total picture. But what we can say is that, at this time, the average review scores on independent third party websites suggest that there may be question marks on the side of consumer experience.
Latest Independent, Ethical Research
As for the ethical side of things. Our latest ethical comparison research corroborates Fat Face’s CSR commitments. According to the most recent update to our independent, ethical comparison research on High Street Fashion brands, Fat Face received an 85 ECI. This score was due to their top ratings across the board for treatment of people, which includes a good human rights record. They also scored high for Animal Welfare.
However, the company’s Environmental record still has room for improvement, particularly when it comes to their overall environmental report and the lack of organic cotton. Fat Face has also not yet gained Ethical Accreditation.
You can learn more about Fat Face’ ethical comparison ranking here.
We’d also love to know what you think, not only in terms of Fat Face products but also with regards to your own experiences with the company. Please leave your own review below in the comments section.