Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Is Apparently Even Less Ethical Than Shein, According to Report

Bianca Piazza - Author

Dec. 5 2023, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

Rihanna wears sunglasses and stands into the camera, while posing with furry bras hanging on a clothing rack
Source: Getty Images

Rihanna attends the Savage X Fenty London pop-up shop in Shoreditch on June 15, 2018 in London, England.

Grammy winner and billionaire entrepreneur Rihanna helped make inclusive sizing and diverse fashion shows sexy with her lingerie and loungewear brand Savage X Fenty.

"I wanted to include every woman. I wanted every woman on the stage with different energies, different races, body types, different stages in their womanhood, culture," Rihanna told Elle of her 2018 runway show.

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Entertainers and models like Slick Woods (who rocked a baby bump), Taraji P. Henson, Gottmik, and Cindy Crawford have graced the "Umbrella" singer's stage.

Modern designs, unparalleled diversity, an annual avant-garde fashion show that practically shames Victoria's Secret — this is all great! Unfortunately, a revealing accountability report underlined the company's appalling ethical practices. Even the most gorgeous of lace teddies can't distract from that.

Singer Normani and Savage X Fenty models perform during the 2019 runway show presented by Amazon Prime Video
Source: Getty Images
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Though 501(c)3 nonprofit Remake's Fashion Accountability Report was released in November 2022 (interestingly, Bad Gal RiRi stepped down as Savage X Fenty's CEO in 2023), YouTuber Giulia-Christina Philipp — better known as Ready to Glare — brought us back to the report's findings in a November 2023 video titled "Savage X Fenty is WORSE than SheIn???" With an all too familiar sigh, let's discuss the evils of fast fashion.

Is Rihanna's lingerie brand Savage X Fenty an ethical company?

Pop culture commentator Ready to Glare cites Remake's February 2023 article "Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Scores Worse Than Shein in Ethical Practices," throughout her video, surprised to see Rihanna's name associated with an ethics scandal.

The article's author, Charlotte Kincaid, who considers herself "a sustainable fashion obsessive and raging Rihanna superfan," was, too, caught off guard by the findings.

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Beneath its empowering surface, Savage X Fenty is another irresponsible fast fashion brand. The report, which "measures companies’ actions towards social and environmental justice goals," gave Savage X Fenty an abysmal score of 4 out of 150 possible points (the higher the score, the better). In 2022, 58 companies were scored with an average scorecard of 14 points.

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According to the article, the company demonstrated "an utter lack of transparency and accountability" in all categories, including Traceability, Wages and Wellbeing, Commercial Practices, Raw Materials, Environmental Justice, and Governance.

"The company blatantly disregards industry standards when it comes to social and environmental disclosures, merely noting on its website that products are 'imported,'" the report reads.

Sadly, it also "lacks even a Supplier Code of Conduct to define guidelines for assessing factories’ compliance with international labor standards, especially in regard to workers health and safety."

In terms of environmental sustainability, a few items are made with pre-consumer REPREVE recycled fibers. Ultimately, the line "relies heavily on the use of oil-based synthetic materials." Several products use virgin elastane, polyester, and nylon fabrics, none of which are considered sustainable.

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These synthetic materials utilize a non-renewable resource, are energy-intensive to produce, and shed harmful microplastics, polluting our oceans, air, drinking water, and food. Naturally, these microplastics also invade our bodies and the bodies of innocent animals.

If that doesn't alarm you, sustainable fashion brand Water From Mars released a 2020 article titled "Polyester, Elastane and Acrylic Are Killing Your Immune Cells, Possibly Right Now!"

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Additionally, five California governments filed a lawsuit against Savage X Fenty (aka Lavender Lingerie LLC), alleging that it "did not clearly disclose automatic charges resulting from VIP memberships," as per County of Santa Clara news release. It was also alleged that the brand automatically charged customers without proper consent or notice and "falsely advertised the ability to use store credit."

Savage X Fenty settled the consumer protection lawsuit, paying $1.2 million in November 2022.

Remake gave Savage X Fenty minor brownie points for its overall diversity.

Savage X Fenty was one of six companies that "demonstrated that they have somewhat diverse boards that reflect the regions in which they operate," the report detailed.

After being slapped in the face with the brand's refusal to commit to "setting science-based emissions reduction targets," Remake directed us to Rihanna's climate crisis-focused nonprofit, the Clara Lionel Foundation.

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In January 2022, the CLF committed $15 million to 18 climate justice organizations in the U.S. and Caribbean.

The Clara Lionel Foundation and Savage X Fenty clearly have contradictory morals — does that count as a carbon offset?

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