Which Brands are Fast Fashion?

Typically when we think of fast fashion H&M, ZARA, Forever 21, Primark and/or Topshop are usually top of mind. However there are a lot of other brands that can’t as clearly be identified as fast fashion. We looked into some popular brands to make a call on which classify as fast fashion and which don’t.

How do we define Fast Fashion?

While some brands, like the ones mentioned above, can be easily identified as fast fashion solely based on their extremely high volume of clothing sold at cheap prices, others seem to live in a more grey area. Here is the other criteria we used to determine if a brand classifies as fast fashion or not:

  • How often do they release new styles? (eg. 4 collections per year vs. new products weekly)
  • Is the focus on quantity over quality?
  • Is the brand heavily trend-driven?
  • What is the price point?
  • Do they have info and transparency around their manufacturing and sustainability initiatives? (Also keeping an eye out for greenwashing)

Is ASOS fast fashion?

Yes, ASOS is fast fashion. They add up to 7,000 new styles to their website every week. (source)

Is Adidas fast fashion?

Yes, Adidas is fast fashion. They produce a large volume of clothes and are lacking transparency around wages as well as being accused of wage theft.

Is Aritzia fast fashion?

Yes, Aritzia is fast fashion. Their price point may be higher than other brands but they are still producing an excessive amount of clothing, constantly adding new styles, and are highly trend-driven. Aritzia also received a score of only 20% on Fashion Revolution’s 2022 Transparency Index, and transparency is just the starting point for ethical production.

Is Everlane fast fashion?

No, we don’t consider Everlane fast fashion, however we find their “radical transparency” suspect. Check out our ethical alternatives to Everlane.

Is Express fast fashion?

Yes. Express is fast fashion. They produce a high volume of clothing and have very little information available about their manufacturing as sustainability. Express also has the lowest possible rating on Good on You and received a terrible score of 5% on Fashion Revolution’s 2022 Transparency Index.

Is GAP fast fashion?

Yes, GAP is fast fashion and they also own Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Gap Inc. produces a high volume of clothing and has faced many labor controversies over the years – most recently initially refused to pay workers at the start of the pandemic and lobbed against the Garment Worker Protection Act. (source)

Is Lululemon fast fashion?

No, we don’t consider Lululemon fast fashion, due to the fact they have a strong focus on quality and their garments are not highly trend-driven or “disposable”. However we also don’t think they have great ethics and sustainability standards. There have been accounts of unethical manufacturing and accusations of Lululemon greenwashing.

Check out these ethical activewear brands instead.

Is Madewell fast fashion?

Yes, Madewell is fast fashion. Again we have a brand producing a high volume of clothing with a lot of turn-over and little transparency. Madewell does seem to have some better initiatives such as a few Fair Trade Certified products but this is only a small % of their production.

Madewell is also owned by J. Crew and we consider J. Crew fast fashion too.

Is Nike fast fashion?

Yes. Nike is fast fashion. While Nike has had many labor and sweatshop controversies over the years they do seem to be cleaning up their act and offering more transparency. However they still produce a high volume of clothing and have a fats fashion business model.

Is Shein fast fashion?

Yes. Shein is fast fashion and has become the leading brand of an even worse ultra-fast fashion model. Learn more about why Shein is particularly bad and what ultra fast fashion is here.

Is UNIQLO fast fashion?

Yes. UNIQLO is fast fashion. They produce around 1.3 billion items of clothing every year (source). The owner is the richest man in Japan, meanwhile UNIQLO has wage controversies such as refusing to pay 5.5 million dollars in severance pay.

Is Urban Outfitters fast fashion?

Yes. Urban Outfitters is fast fashion, including subsidiary brands under URBN, Anthropologie and Free People are all fast fashion. All these brands are highly trend driven and produce an excessive volume of clothing with new styles constantly in stock. They are lacking in transparency and two years later these brands still haven’t paid for orders placed at the start of the pandemic.

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