8 Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid at All Costs
If you’re just starting on your ethical journey or just want to make a few changes there are few things you should know. Consider this your ethical illuminati initiation. Say that three times fast, whew.
Many fast fashion brands have made amazing strides to have better conditions for workers and lessen their impact on the environment, but as always, there are stragglers. These are the 8 fast fashion brands you should avoid AT ALL COSTS. Avoid or risk losing your ethical card.
Just kidding, it’s not a competition. I have totally bought things from most of these brands below, and I still have a few in my closet. Don’t toss something you wear to buy a new more ethical version, that’s wasteful and not ethical in the end!
Now that you know better, just move your future purchases to more ethical brands, like the replacements for each brand I’ve listed below. Love an aesthetic? I can bet you there’s a better alternative.
The Problem | In 2017 Missguided was found to be contracting out their manufacturing to factories that were known to pay workers wages that could be less than half of the required minimum wage. Ummm can you say illegal?
Not to mention that their “faux” fur often contains real animal fur and/or other byproducts. Vegan? Yeah, right. And to top it all off, Missguided is pretty dang secretive about their labor conditions and environmental impacts as a whole. They indicate no remorse and have made no commitments to reduce emissions or join sustainable coalitions.
Best Replacement | Reformation
Reformation has a very similar aesthetic, but the prices are higher. Wait for a sale and you can get a good deal on trendy and fab quality clothing.
2 | Forever 21
The Problem | The epitome of American Fast Fashion, and it shows. The fabrics used in most of their clothing is subpar and produced in a way that harms the environment (like cottons that rely heavily on pesticide usage). I don’t think I’ve ever owned a shirt from Forever 21 that doesn’t start twisting or has a random hole after a few wears, which shows the quality of the construction. If your garment is so poorly made, can it be good for the workers and the earth?
Workers are also not paid a living wage and their environmental policies are non-existent. This fast fashion brand has raised prices over the years, and I no longer consider it affordable in comparison to other brands for the quality you get. Maybe that’s just part of being over 21, though.
Best Replacement | H&M
H&M is no longer the fast fashion bad girl, unless it is in the twist of fate where it has rebelled and now has great ethical policies and pays living wages?? Still hella affordable, too.
3| Urban Outfitters
The Problem | Oh boy, the staple of my youth is gonna be hard to give up. But it is SO bad.
Workers aren’t paid a living wage, and just recently they were found to be asking workers to work for free on the weekends…in the United States! Now, if they’re pulling that kind of stuff in a country with fairly strict labor laws, can you imagine what they do overseas?
UO hasn’t gotten on the green bandwagon and still uses majority synthetic fabrics with no effort to reduce emissions or manage waste and water usage. I’d rather not sweat to death in a poly-blend, anyway.
Best Replacement | & Other Stories
H&M’s sister brand with a slightly more hippie aesthetic that is the perfect dupe for Urban Outfitters.
The Problem | Where to even begin, honestly. As a major designer, Dior is pretty secretive about its supply chain (where things come from) and how much workers are really paid. Just because a brand is expensive doesn’t mean slave labor wasn’t used.
But, if that’s not enough for you consider the various scandals the brand has been involved in. John Galliano, the head designer, was caught in 2010 making anti-Semitic remarks on camera in Paris. A direct quote is “I love Hitler".
And if that’s not disgusting enough, in 2018 an ad came out for Dior released an ad of Asian models eating spaghetti with chopsticks. Who approves these things? Racists, I’m sure.
Now, I know Dior is a pricey brand and not many of us shop there, but I wanted to include it as a brand to avoid because their sunglasses and handbags can be fairly affordable. I’ve got better people to support with my money, though.
Best Replacement | Matt & Nat
For ethical and vegan handbags, shoes, and more you can’t beat Matt & Nat. They use really simple lines that pack a punch for an affordable price, minus the racism.
The Problem | I don’t know about you, but I only ever shopped Anthropologie sales. Seriously, that has to be where they make most of their money. And if the sale prices can go so low and make a profit…then the items must not be as good of quality as you may think.
I don’t like shady business practices, and Anthro is full of them. They share absolutely no information about their labor practices, environmental commitments, and animal product usage. If you’ve got nothing to hide, why not share?
The most Anthro has done to help the environment is encourage customers to not use a bag if they don’t need it. Sure, I’ll do that, but I don’t think me not using a bag really offsets the cheap production impacts of a polyester blouse.
Best Replacement | Boden
Love the craziness of Anthro prints but want better? Try Boden. The quality is divine and their commitment to ethical practices is REAL.
6-8| Romwe, Shein & WIsh
The Problem | Can I be honest? These brands are my pet peeve. We all know these brands are pretty sketchy, right? Romwe and Shein are essentially wholesalers from China, and since there isn’t a brand name they can charge extra low prices.
I’m all for saving money and not paying for a brand, but that’s not all these brands do. You’d think you’re getting the exact same designer item for way less, but it’s really a bad copy that will be poorly made and probably won’t even fit. You’ll find this out when it arrives…if it arrives. Scams are high on both of these sites.
Yes, you can save money but at the expense of horrendous labor and environmental practices and stolen designs.
Best Replacement | H&M
You can get amazinggg quality items at H&M that doesn’t hurt the environment or designers now! Don’t waste your time and money on those sketchy sites.