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 do and say 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 huge. 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?