10 Fast Fashion Brands We Avoid At All Costs - Good On You
30 Apr

10 Fast Fashion Brands We Avoid At All Costs

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 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?

Missguided

Rated: We Avoid
A woman in a short navy dress by a fast fashion brand

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
Two images of a woman in a white tunic top,

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 18 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.

Luckily we’ve found some ethical and sustainable alternatives to SHEIN!

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.

Nasty Gal

Rated: We Avoid

Fast fashion retailer Nasty Gal fails to provide sufficient information on how it reduces its impact on people planet and animals.

See the rating.

Boohoo

Rated: Not Good Enough

Boohoo is another typical example of the newest kind of fast fashion brands, designing and putting clothes on the market even faster than before, sometimes in just under a week. By doing this, Boohoo encourages a “throw-away” culture and makes us believe we need to shop more and more to stay on top of trends, creating a constant sense of need and ultimate dissatisfaction.

So is Boohoo ethical? No!

See the rating.

PrettyLittleThing

Rated: We Avoid

PrettyLittleThing rates 'Very Poor' for labour: it's not transparent about its impact on workers in its supply chain and is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage. 'We Avoid'.

See the rating.

Forever 21

Rated: We Avoid

Overall, Forever 21 received our lowest possible score of ‘We Avoid’. It’s time for Forever 21 stop paying lip-service to corporate social responsibility and to be more transparent.

See the rating.

ZAFUL

Rated: We Avoid

ZAFUL provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet or animals, which is why it's rated 'We Avoid'. You have a right to know how the products you buy affect the issues you care about.

See the rating.

Hot Topic

Rated: We Avoid
woman wearing fast fashion brand hot topic dress

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.

Learn more about fast fashion.

Our 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 our favourite sustainable alternatives for you to consider:

Afends

Rated: Good
3 images of afends' latest collection

Afends is an Australia-based fashion brand leading the way in organic hemp fashion, using renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact. You can find the full range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.

nu-in

Rated: Good

Offers

plus size woman wearing light brown eco-friendly cardigan by nu-in

nu-in – Plus Size

Ethical brand nu-in proves that affordable fashion, inclusive sizing, and sustainability can coexist. 15% off first order of plus size clothing with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 25 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
woman and man wearing beige crewneck sweater made ethically by nu-in

nu-in – Unisex Clothing

The gender binary is so last century. Discover nu-in's range of sustainable, gender-inclusive, unisex clothing for everybody. 15% off first order of unisex clothing with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 25 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
black woman wearing beige sustainable activewear by nu-in

nu-in – Activewear

Sustainable activewear made from eco-friendly materials and reused offcuts to minimise textile waste. 15% off first order of activewear with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 25 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
older woman wearing black flared pants by ethical brand nu-in

nu-in – Wide Leg Pants

Have you ever seen comfier looking bottoms?! nu-in's flattering wide leg pants suit anybody. 15% off first order of wide leg pants with code GOODONYOU15.   (Ends: 26 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
woman wearing light blue fitted knitted dress with puff sleeves by nu-in

nu-in – Dresses

Trendy, flattering, and sustainable dresses that are both fashion forward and affordable. 15% off first order of dresses with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 26 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now

nu-in is a European brand that features activewear, loungewear, and underwear collections, as well as trend-led men's and women's ranges. It prioritises the planet by using a high proportion of eco-friendly materials, and reuses offcuts to minimise textile waste. The brand is inclusively sized, and features an extended sizing range up to 6XL!

See the rating.

Shop nu-in.

CHNGE

Rated: Great
3 images of CHNG's latest collection

CHNGE is a US-based 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

women wearing sustainable loungewear by Whimsy + Row

Whimsy + Row – Loungewear

Roll out of bed, slip on sustainable loungewear, and get ready to take on the world—or the couch! Buy 3 or more styles and get 20% off loungewear with code BUNDLE20. (Ends: 28 MAY)

Checkout code: BUNDLE20
Shop now

Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and sustainable practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern, sustainable woman. By limiting each garment to short runs, Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, reduces packaging waste, and takes care of precious water resources. Find most products in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

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.

See the rating.

Shop Seek Collective.

Armedangels

Rated: Great

Affordable, ethical, and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a ‘Great’ rating overall from us. The brand covers all the basics for women, men, and kids. Armedangels' quality and long-lasting pieces are made from eco-friendly 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 @ thegreenlabels.

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.

 

Author bio: Christine is a lawyer and an aspiring minimalist. She enjoys reading, travelling and discovering new ways to build a more sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe and lifestyle.

Editor's note

Feature image via Boohoo, 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 more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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