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?


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.


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!


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.


Rated: We Avoid

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.


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.


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:


Rated: Good
3 images of afends' latest collection


Black and white shot of the BROCCOLI Magazine and Afends fashion collaboration.

Afends – Broccoli Collab

The collab everyone has been waiting for: Afends x Broccoli Magazine. Cut from hemp and organic cotton. Step into a new dimension with this super limited capsule. Exclusive 15% off with code GOODBROCCOLI. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: GOODBROCCOLI
Shop now
Two people outdoors wearing recycled Afends collection clothes.

Afends – Recycled Collection

Explore Afends' Recycled Collection, created with recycled and organic cotton. From pants to tees and sweats, featuring a slew of new prints. Exclusive 20% off with code RECYCLED20. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: RECYCLED20
Shop now

Born in Byron Bay, Afends is a 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, they purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow their own hemp crops and ignite the hemp revolution. Explore their range made from 100% eco-conscious threads.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.


Rated: Good
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.


Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

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. 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.

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.


Rated: Great

Affordable, ethical, and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a top score 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 @ Earthkind.

Shop Armedangels @ Veneka.

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 thousands of rated brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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