For consumers For business
Someone laying on a ball court wearing heavy black boots.
06 Feb
Someone laying on a ball court wearing heavy black boots.

10 Fast Fashion Brands We Avoid At All Costs

Our editors curate highly rated brands that are first assessed by our rigorous ratings system. Buying through our links may earn us a commission—supporting the work we do. Learn more.

 

There’s a newer wave of fast fashion brands that have picked up the destructive business model and do and say almost nothing about sustainability. In this article, we’re looking at fast fashion brands we avoid, the ones that have little to no relevant or concrete information on their websites about their supply chains and as a result, are rated “We Avoid”.

A world of overproduction and microtrends

When most of us hear “fast fashion brands”, we think of the big brands like Zara, H&M, Forever 21, and Topshop. Sustainable fashion fans have rightly called these big brands out for their poor practices and waste. But there’s a newer wave of brands that have picked up the same destructive business model and sped it up even further, while doing and saying almost nothing about sustainability.

Rather than just being a category, fast fashion is a model of mass-producing cheaply made, “of-the-moment” items that are sold at a lower price point. They’re also deliberately made to have a short lifespan (breaking down or shrinking in the wash) and therefore need to be replaced very quickly with newer and trendier items. 

What’s the impact of fast fashion?

Fast fashion’s impact on the planet, people, and animals is enormous. The pressure to reduce costs and speed up production time means that environmental corners are more likely to be cut: fast fashion’s negative impact includes its use of cheap, toxic textiles and dyes, and the creation of an alarming amount of textile waste.

Garment workers have also been found to work in dangerous environments for low wages, and without basic human rights. Animals are also impacted by fast fashion, from their skin and fur being used to make products, to the toxic chemicals and microfibres that are released in waterways and that are often ingested by ocean life.

Finally, fast fashion can impact consumers themselves, making us believe we need to shop more and more to stay on top of trends, creating a constant sense of need and ultimate dissatisfaction.

The fast fashion brands we avoid at all costs

Besides the big names, there are other brands that use the same unethical fast fashion model but have largely escaped the criticism that has followed the likes of Topshop around. That means they haven’t even had to think about doing the right thing, and they have little to no relevant or concrete information on their websites about their supply chains, which is why they are rated “We Avoid”.

In some cases, the brand may even make ambiguous claims that look like greenwashing. Transparency is the first step towards a more sustainable business, and we think you have a right to comprehensive and accurate information about how a brand impacts on people, the planet, and animals.

So what are the worst fast fashion brands? Who are these “We Avoid” brands?

CIDER

Rated: We Avoid

CIDER does not communicate sufficient information about its environmental and labour policies. Enough said.

See the rating.

VRG GRL

Rated: We Avoid

VRG GRL, founded by Australian sisters Natalia Suesskow and Daniella Dionyssiou in 2007, is now purely a direct-to-consumer online business. Their brand aims to provide style-driven affordability with pieces that won’t break the bank. As we all know, these prices come at a cost. The brand has one of the lowest ratings in our methodology and is not doing enough to limit impact on people and planet.

See the rating.

Edikted

Rated: We Avoid

Based in the US, Edikted is a Gen Z-oriented online fashion brand, heavily influenced by pop culture, technology, and style. While the brand seems to focus on the latest styles and trends, it has stayed far away from making any inroads when it comes to sustainability or ensuring worker rights.

See the rating.

Missguided

Rated: We Avoid

New-wave fast fashion retailer Missguided fails to provide sufficient information on its impact on people, planet and animals.

See the rating.

Fashion Nova

Rated: We Avoid

Fashion Nova provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet or animals.  You have a right to know how the products you buy affect the issues you care about.

See the rating.

SHEIN

Rated: We Avoid

One of the fastest growing online fast fashion retailers, SHEIN was founded in 2008 and now boasts an Instagram following of 27 million people. So, how ethical is SHEIN? In a not-so-shocking conclusion, SHEIN receives our lowest possible score of “We Avoid” overall.

See the rating.

Romwe

Rated: We Avoid

Romwe provides insufficient information about how it reduces its impact on people, the palnet or animals. As consumers, we have the right to know how the products we buy affect the issues we care about.

See the rating.

Hot Topic

Rated: We Avoid

Hot Topic provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and animals. You have a right to know how the products you buy affect the issues you care about.

See the rating.

Pacsun

Rated: We Avoid

Founded in 1980 as Pacific Sunwear, LA-based PacSun has evolved well beyond beach wear. Today, the brand is a leading lifestyle brand, offering collections and styles to a community of inspired youth. While following youth culture on Tik Tok, Pacsun has failed to evolve sustainably, doing little to provide worker or environmental rights.

See the rating.

 

Brandy Melville

Rated: We Avoid

UK brand Brandy Melville provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and animals. You have a right to know how the products you buy affect the issues you care about.

See the rating.

Learn more about ultra fast fashion

More sustainable alternatives to fast fashion brands

Don’t worry, if you are in the market for some new ethical pieces to add to your wardrobe, here are a few of our editors’ favourite responsible alternatives for you to consider:

Afends

Rated: Good
3 images of afends' latest collection

Born in Byron Bay, Australia, Afends is a more responsible brand leading the way in hemp fashion. Drawing inspiration from the environment, streetwear, and surf culture, Afends’ mission is to create more sustainable clothing through innovation, action, and positive change. As true hemp advocates, it purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow its own hemp crops and ignite the hemp revolution.

Find most of the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.

CHNGE

Rated: Good
3 images of CHNG's latest collection

CHNGE is a US-based more sustainable fashion brand using 100% organic material, built to last a lifetime while making a statement.

Find CHNGE's inclusive clothes in sizes 2XS-4XL.

See the rating.

Shop CHNGE.

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

Offers

Female presenting person wearing black top and jeans shorts from Whimsy + Row brand

Whimsy + Row – Sales

Whimsy + Row carries a mixture of curated vintage and contemporary lines providing ease and elegance for the modern woman. Final Sale: Up to 70% off selected styles (Ends: 20 JUN)

Shop now

Whimsy + Row is a US-based lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and responsible practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern woman. Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, and by limiting each garment to short runs, the brand also reduces packaging waste and takes care of precious water resources.

Find most products in XS-XL, with an extended sizing range up to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

Shop Whimsy + Row @ Earthkind.

Seek Collective

Rated: Good

Seek Collective is a US brand of thoughtfully made items with a dedication to transparency, authenticity, craft, and sustainability. Seek is focused on establishing connections between art, product, consumers, process, and makers. Its items are made in India through partnerships with like-minded communities and people.

Find most products in XS-L, with an extended sizing range up to 4XL.

See the rating.

Shop Seek Collective.

Subset (Knickey)

Rated: Great

Made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, US brand Subset’s organic cotton underwear sets are some of the best in the responsible fashion market. Taking it a step further, the brand has also partnered with an NYC non-profit to recycle old undergarments, turning the fibres into insulation and rug pads. Sending in your old undies will not only help cut down on the amount of fibres that wind up in the landfill, but it’ll give you the freedom to buy new, responsibly made sets.

Find most items in sizes 2XS-4XL.

See the rating.

Shop Subset (Knickey).

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Good
three people wearing ethical activewear by Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective creates minimal, luxury clothes made with fair labour, certified by the Social Accountability Standard International SA8000. The brand uses lower-impact materials like recycled polyester as well as lower-impact, non-toxic dyes and is fully OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified.

Inclusively sized Girlfriend Collective offers products from 2XS-6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

No Nasties

Rated: Great
Three items of clothing by responsible Indian brand No Nasties.

Another leader when it comes to responsible fashion, No Nasties makes simple and stylish clothing from Fairtrade organic cotton in India where it is actively working to grow the ethical consumer market.

Find styles in sizes 2XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop No Nasties.

Honest Basics

Rated: Good

Honest Basics is a GOTS-certified basics brand based in Germany. It's on a mission to make more sustainable fashion accessible to everyone, by keeping prices low, making quality basics that everyone has in their wardrobe, and constantly improving the sustainability of its products and supply chain.

The range is available in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Honest Basics.

People Tree

Rated: Great

Conscious fashion pioneer People Tree uses lower-impact materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct.

Find most products in UK sizes 6-18.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree EU.

Shop People Tree @ Wearwell.

Armedangels

Rated: Great

Innovative, responsible, and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a top score overall from us. The brand covers all the basics in womenswear, menswear, and kidswear. Armedangels' quality and long-lasting pieces are made from lower-impact and certified materials, like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. The brand also adopted the Fair Wear Foundation Code of Conduct to protect its workers abroad.

Its products are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels.

Shop Armedangels @ Earthkind.

Shop Armedangels @ Cerqular.

Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s of issues and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

Ethical brand ratings. There’s an app for that.

Wear the change you want to see. Download our app to discover ethical brands and see how your favourites measure up.