Torrid/Hot Topic

Clothing & accessory stores selling pop culture and women’s plus size

Torrid and Hot Topic are both brands owned by Sycamore Partners. Torrid serves the women’s plus size market with fashionable clothes and accessories, while Hot Topic sells a wide variety of pop culture clothing and accessories.

Environment:

Both companies offer very little detail regarding environmental impact and means of production. Neither company includes information regarding materials or respective supply chains on their websites. Additionally, neither company provides information regarding pollution, waste, or plans to become more sustainable. Hot Topic has also received two environmental violations from the California Attorney General over the last 15 years.

Social Responsibility:

Although both Torrid and Hot Topic display a Vendor Code of Conduct, both companies have a history of workplace violations. Hot Topic has multiple wage and hour violations over the last ten years, and both companies have also been assessed penalties for workplace safety or health violations by OSHA. Both companies also employ workers in manufacturing shops in Vietnam and China, and are frequently cited in articles as being companies which consumers should avoid due to their poor quality, unfair labor practices, and adherence to fast fashion practices. However, both companies do have philanthropic divisions, which include the Hot Topic Foundation and the Torrid Foundation.

Governance:

Hot Topic and Torrid both offer very limited transparency regarding business practices. Each company includes copies of their Vendor Code of Conduct, although even these are buried deep within their respective websites. Good On You provided both companies with poor ratings in 2017 stating that they, “provide insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and/or animals.” This remains true, and the consensus among customers is that a Vendor Code of Conduct alone is not sufficient.

Certifications:

Neither Hot Topic or Torrid hold any sustainability or factory certifications displaying sustainable business practices.

Additional Resources:

Hot Topic Foundation

Torrid Foundation

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