This post has been updated on 31/01/2020 to reflect the changes within the fashion market. For instance, American Apparel closed.
All of us want to look good and that’s undeniable. Especially when social media, magazines, online articles constantly cover the latest trends from various affordable fashion labels. They got us in jumping into the bandwagon and longing more fashion items that represent our identity. There are lots of fast fashion brands out there that could satisfy our fashion craving. However, today, Attitude Organic want you to question yourself: shall we keep or avoid Fast Fashion? What are the fast fashion brands to avoid? This article highlights fast fashion and its ulterior costs. If you want a better alternative, just go to our list of Sustainable Fashion Brands!
What is Fast Fashion?
Before we go deep into the debate, let’s answer: “what is Fast Fashion?”. Fast fashion is a term that describes cheap designs moving quickly from catwalk to stores in order to capture and create new trends (Investopedia). As a result, we constantly see new trends and cloth from fast fashion brands such as Zara, H&M, or Forever 21 that are cheap and that encourage us to always buy more. It is so rapid that we can’t even allocate our money to decide which piece of clothing to buy!
If you can remember, fashion used to have only four-seasons trends in a year. However, nowadays, it changes several times in a month. We can explain this phenomena with 3 factors:
- The customers’ demand. It keeps increasing and pressuring fashion labels to produce more designs.
- The economic situation. Customers want to buy more and cheaper.
- Social Media influencers who look constantly look for novelty and that encourage people to copy their behaviour.
These rapid changes of trends and supply chain give the name of “fast fashion” and we can see always more fast fashion high street brands. Economically talking, this is a great sign that customers financially get stronger and it sounds good that companies are good to meet their customers’ needs.
However, opponents address critics towards many brands because concerning facts lie behind all the glamour and ecstatic feelings we get from fast fashion. At Attitude Organic, we tried to uncover every corner of our life options and actions, so that we could enjoy an ethical and sustainable life. Read more to find out Fast Fashion Brands To Avoid.
Critics on Fast Fashion: Ethical? Sustainable? Environmentally-friendly?
When fast fashion started, little did we know, that purchasing items from fast fashion brands would contribute to bigger environmental and ethical issues (what?!) and this is something that we want to avoid. Below a few figures:
Fast Fashion Sustainability issues
Did you know that fast fashion brands produce 150 billion pieces of clothing and the consumption of new clothing each year is about 80 billion pieces of clothing? That number is surely huge but since it is ‘fast-fashion’ and everyone wants to change their style every single week, imagine how many pieces of clothing end up being unused? Lifespan of fast fashion is almost non-existent because simply the quality is not meant to last. The unused clothes in the landfills are also hard to be recycled because fibers are not easily decomposed. Just imagine the landfills pollution! (yikes!). We wouldn’t say that fast fashion brands are considered as sustainable fashion.
Institute of Sustainable Communication suggested that fashion industry comes in the second position as the biggest polluter of clean water. This is simply because they used lots of water during the process and would dump toxic chemicals from the garment production into clean water supplies. The jean industry especially is the disaster in terms of water pollution. Refer to our article called; “how are jeans made?” to learn more.
Besides, most factories still use coal to produce the fashion items. Thus, fast fashion brands contributes up to 10% of worldwide carbon emission. If you read our faux leather article, you known that plastic and vinyl contain hazardous chemicals and that they are commonly used in most products nowadays. Not only ther are unsafe for the environment but also for us!
Ethical concerns related to Fast Fashion
Most Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid employ garment workers overseas, usually in developing countries such as China, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Ecuador and Indonesia. They have to employ these workers because they need to pay them below western living wage. This is how they sell the clothes at lower prices.
They simultaneously employ workers from several countries to meet the demand of customers and catch the upcoming trend. To push the deadlines, companies often neglect the worker’s right. Those people work in terrible conditions: long hours, awful working environment… Some are even underage! This is definitely the most inhumane thing and also one of the strongest reason to list them in the Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid, don’t you think?
Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid
So what are those unethical Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid? Here is the list we have for you to consider:
- Uniqlo: Despite its clothing technology that provides more comfort to us, the brand does not provide good working conditions to its workers. Most of the products are made in China where the employees have to work under terrible condition such as low pay, long hours and horrific working treatment.
- Victoria’s Secret: The raw materials to make such beautiful lacy underwear comes from organic and fair-trade cotton but that were hand-picked by children. Definitely a nope from us!
- H&M: This brand is probably quite famous for its sweatshop scandal. Some of you might regularly check where the product was made and you can see that most of it were made in Bangladesh were the working conditions are extremely awful. Low wages and copying models from high-end brands are probably two out of many scandals they encountered!
- Primark: This brand is famous for its crazily cheap prices. Most of its products are made in Bangladesh (again). Should we explain more about how they managed to give such low price?
- Ripcurl: This Australian surfing brand produces cloth in North Korea (what?!). There is a high probability that those products are made under bad working conditions (not to mention slavery!)
List of Ethical Fashion Brands
The brands we mentioned above are no longer our only options in purchasing fashion items. So what if we want to get more sustainable fashion from ethical brands? We’ve got you covered!
Some brands are absolutely lovely and tick all our ethical boxes.
1. People Tree
This brand from UK is famous for its ethically-sourced and sustainable fashion pieces. Its business is also transparent and you can find out who, where and how your products were made. When a business is ethical and transparent about its production process we know that we can rely on it! Lucky you they are currently on sale so check it out!
2. Thought Clothing
Based in the UK, this brand sells cruelty-free, organic and eco-friendly fashion items. This brand is also fair-trade builds a long-term relationship with its partners. They constantly ensure that they respect their workers and pay them fairly. Discover a new Sustainable Style – Shop Thought
3. Amour Vert
That american brand produces 97% of its garments in the USA where all workers are paid fairly and well taken care of. They also partner directly with mills to develop fabrics that are sustainable, soft, durable and as natural as possible. Their collections are a good mix of staple pieces and lovely patterns. Enjoy the latest collections and releases at Amour Vert! Sustainably made.
This ecofashion brand is a German fashion label founded in 2007. The sustainable label does both woman and man casual wear that you could wear in any occasion. The collections are trendy and affordable, while being sustainable. Discover Armedangels.
If you love colourful print, Mayamiko is definitely an ethical brand you should go for! It started off as a charity but it changed its business model to deliver fair-trade products created by artisans from a disadvantage community in Malawi. Shop Mayamiko
6. Hanky Panky
If you love beautiful lace underwear, you should totally check this ethical brand out. They make their products in the United States and they are sweatshop-free! Visit Hanky Panky
What We Can Do to Avoid Fast Fashion
Now we have a better understanding regarding the “dirty” facts behind every fast fashion brands. It is high time to ask ourselves on what to do to avoid fast fashion. We have some tips for you!
Reusing the clothes instead of throwing them to the landfill is a great start. Good news, it is cheaper than new pieces. Finding the best looking clothes is also a fun game to play! Searching from racks to racks in a pile of other clothing can be really rewarding.
Avoid fashion trends
This is hard and we fully acknowledge that! But with ‘minimalism’ concept, we can just buy what we need. We should try to refrain ourselves from discounts and products promoted by social media. It’s better to buy one high quality product that will last a long time. It will also help you in saving money
Support ethical brands
Many businesses provide natural, organic, ethical and sustainable products with fair-trade license. If you spend time on social media, you will find “hidden gems” that sell unique products. Support them and help other people to acknowledge eco-businesses and to discover that there are some Fast Fashion Brands To Avoid. Refer to our Sustainable Fashion Brands list to get started!
We probably don’t say it enough but the best way to be sustainable is to do with What we already own. I surely can last a good 10 years with What is Inside of my closet if I take care of all pieces.
Can Fast Fashion Be Ethical?
For now, it seems impossible to slow down the pace of fashion industry because of the ever-increasing customer’s ability to purchase any fashion items they want to follow the trend.
Even if the demand creates job opportunities for people in the developing countries, it is crucial that legal establishments reinforce the laws regarding worker’s rights, factory working conditions and company’s supply chain transparency. These establishments also need to regularly check those aspects to make sure that the business is run ethically to ensure the overall welfare.
Finally it’s up to us to behave as educated shoppers. Are we going to support ethical and sustainable fashion brands? Shall we ban the Fast Fashion Brands To Avoid from our closet? Shall we be more critical regarding the product’s origin and raise the awareness? The answer is yours. Share your thoughts with us!
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This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get paid a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. I am an independent blogger and the reviews are done based on my own opinions.