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Fashion Brands to Avoid and Why: Fast Fashion Edition

Fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries. Pollution, water shortages, and human rights violations have come from a lack of environmental awareness and increased apparel demand. What if you avoided brands to reduce this damage? Buying from top slow fashion companies is the greatest method to wear eco-friendly clothes. Before shopping, research the worst brands in this field. Read about why you should avoid these fast fashion brands in 2023 and their environmental impact here.

What is Fast Fashion?

The industry of mass-producing poor-quality apparel at low costs to meet short-term consumer trends is called “fast fashion”.

Many fast fashion brands exploit low-wage workers and immoral methods to save costs.

Using synthetic materials instead of natural fibres during manufacturing causes significant waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Production releases toxic toxins into the environment.

Low-cost, low-quality clothing has a limited lifetime and generates a lot of textile waste.

What effect does fast fashion have?

Rapid fashion harms humans and animals as much as it does nature. Due to its focus on economy and speed, fast fashion brands use hazardous, low-priced materials and colours, generating worrying amounts of textile waste.

It has also been shown that garment workers labour in unsafe circumstances for little pay without human rights safeguards. Fast fashion Brand causes animal harm by exposing marine life to hazardous chemicals and microfibers and using animals’ skin and hair in items.

Finally, fast fashion may affect customers. It may make us feel like we need more items to stay up with trends and dissatisfy us with our lives.

Why is fast fashion harmful to people?

Humans are equally sensitive to environmental impacts. Polluted water harms marine life and nearby inhabitants. Garments may take longer to decompose in landfills, releasing toxic chemicals. Finished products with coloured or treated parts may affect you.

Many individuals give up their worn clothes instead of tossing them away, leaving impoverished nations with a glut. Non-reused, given, or sold items end up in landfills or waterways.

People in many of these nations make the garments, yet they earn little pay.

The fast clothes business is notoriously exploitative, but this is its darkest secret. The fast fashion brand is known for child labour and low salaries.

The corporation has been blamed for abusing employees for decades but has moved manufacturing to nations with laxer labour rules.

The pervasive absence of workplace safety enforcement contributes to dangerous practices and health risks. Lung issues, endocrine system malfunction, and cancer may result from these risks. They may cause workplace accidents and deaths.

What to look for in a fast fashion brand?

Most fast fashion brands create new collections every week and employ marketing methods to sell them.

These firms are famously opaque regarding their sources and product manufacture. They don’t specify how they’ve reduced their environmental effect. They also can’t prove they pay a decent wage and offer safe working conditions.

Many fast fashion brands participate in “greenwashing.” They want people to believe they’re honest and sustainable, so they spread misinformation.

Cheap pricing indicates rapid fashion and low quality. Producing a $5 t-shirt, paying garment workers a liveable wage, and using ecologically friendly practices is tough.

Which fast fashion brands should customers avoid in 2023?


H&M, the second-largest fast fashion brand in the world and a popular Swedish brand is discouraged from purchasing. In 2018, the firm failed to pay its 850,000 garment employees a decent wage despite its promise. Many working women face sexual and physical harassment.

H&M has not stopped its suppliers’ factories from using these practices. The firm was also accused of inaction when garment workers complained about terrible working conditions that killed over 100 people.

Forever 21

Forever 21 is recognized for its low prices, and it harms the environment and society. Their Corporate Social Responsibility website states, “Forever 21 also shares the goal of eliminating child labour and forced labour.” Does this suggest the corporation still practises such hazardous practices?

According to the US Department of Labour, a Los Angeles company paid employees $4 per hour, much below the state minimum wage. Forever 21 did not join the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety because it cares about its employees.

The company needs to be clearer regarding its items’ origins and production. Forever 21 was accused of fat shaming for mailing diet bars to plus-size clothes buyers.

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters has shaped American fashion for over 50 years. Urban Outfitters doesn’t disclose its environmental initiatives, even though it has solar panels on its distribution centre roof and LED lighting in its shops.

Most likely because Urban Outfitters isn’t an eco-friendly leader. Customers need to learn the brand’s supply chain or supplier locations. No evidence exists that the corporation compensates its employees fairly.

For “great team-building activity,” Urban Outfitters offered free weekend work in 2015. The corporation was accused of plagiarising an Australian indigenous artist’s outdoor carpets in 2020 and profiting from them. The artist conceived from this pattern.


British retailer Missguided calls its aesthetic “rapid fashion,” a blend of “fast fashion” and “rapid fashion,” and it launches 1,000 new outfits every week. Missguided contributes to the vast volumes of textile garbage we create yearly by encouraging excessive consumption.

Given the absence of details on its Corporate Social Responsibility homepage, the corporation seems to be doing little to reduce its environmental impact. It’s hardly surprising that Missguided and Boohoo are among the least sustainable UK fashion businesses.

Although “empowerment of women” is one of the brand’s goals, women are paid less and are less likely to get bonuses. The company was caught selling “faux fur,” which was the cat, raccoon dog, mink, and rabbit fur, in 2017.


Spanish-based Inditex owns Zara, which was founded in 1975. The firm does not disclose the total amount of resources used in manufacturing while offering recycled clothing and a textile recycling programme.

Its progress at reducing greenhouse gas emissions also needs to be made clearer. Zara’s supply chain openness distinguishes it from other fast fashion brands; customers should cherish it. Only a portion of the company’s vendors were listed.

Subcontractors are audited for Code of Conduct compliance, but the findings still need to be revealed. The corporation also underpays garment employees. In 2017, Istanbul Zara shoppers found a hidden message in apparel. Zara garment workers wrote these letters claiming they were forced to volunteer.

Pretty Little Thing

Avoid Pretty Little Thing for our health and the world. Like other fast fashion brands, they use social media to attract younger consumers, but they have yet to caution them about the environmental impact of their inexpensive garments.

They’ve done this since Boohoo bought them. Pretty Little Thing has admitted that its garments may contain cancer-causing substances. Check the organization’s website for this information. It’s little comfort to the buyers.

Expect to be disgusted by their sustainability page. The company’s environmental efforts are not mentioned.

It instructs us, the wearers, on how to maintain our garments. Yes, this is vital, but fast fashion brands must take the lead and explain how they are changing.

Allegations that they rebrand and resell cheap Fruit of the Loom items for more than twice the price make them seem like a typical fast fashion clothes firm that doesn’t deserve your business.


Boohoo, one of the worst fast fashion brands, represents everything wrong with the apparel industry.

First, they pay their employees below the legal minimum. Second, the COVID-19 epidemic pushed many ill garment workers to labour. Third, their use of non-sustainable materials and low-quality clothing harms the environment.

Customers who value low costs appreciate Boohoo, but the firm has been connected to hazardous working conditions and environmental degradation. Buying high-quality clothing from sustainable fashion businesses may save you money over time. Many clothing firms provide high-quality solutions.


Environmental damage should be your main reason to boycott Stradivarius and other Inditex-owned fast fashion brands. Their low-quality clothes create large quantities of rubbish that harms the ecology.

They also underpay their garment makers. Thus, this method is unethical since it harms garment workers and the environment.

Old Navy

Some countries have over 1,000 Old Navy shops. American-founded but currently owned by Gap Inc. Old Navy was accused in 2013 of working with manufacturers that hired 12-year-olds.

Due to the absence of labour standard certification, it is unclear whether Old Navy has halted its unethical business practices.

The Fashion Transparency Index rated the company 49% transparent in 2021. Though far better than many fast fashion brands, more is needed. Customers should know more about Old Navy’s production procedures.

Old Navy denim is made using eco-friendly and water-saving components. Many items are still made with synthetic fibres, and the manufacturer should reduce their environmental impact.


The fast fashion brands all promote disposable apparel. They cannot exist since their business strategy is immoral. Consumers are purchasing more clothes than ever to throw away due to their low prices. These firms are harming the environment and garment workers. Thankfully, we don’t have to condone such actions. Avoid fast fashion brands, buy secondhand, and cherish what we already have.

Also Read:

Understanding and Reaching the Audience in the Luxury Market

11 Trend Tracking Tools for Effective Trend Analysis

Visit Shop in Cairo: Traditional Markets and Bazaars

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