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List of 96 Fast Fashion Brands To Avoid (2022 Update)

by Suzana Rose

Feb 13, 2022

Fast fashion is everywhere, and it's hurting the planet. More than that, by aiming to produce clothing at the cheapest price, fast fashion brands often underpay their workers, who sometimes have to work in poor conditions. Sometimes, these conditions are so poor that they lead to catastrophes, like when the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh. In light of this, here's a list of fast fashion brands to avoid.

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What exactly is fast fashion?

Fast fashion describes brands who quickly replicate runway fashion trends by making them affordable, and therefore accessible, to the masses. Since trends are constantly changing, fast fashion brands by definition keep up with these trends and create new collections and garments rapidly. This means that there's an endless supply of clothing in stores like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21. Because the clothes are affordable, we as customers tend to purchase more than we actually need. In return, fast fashion brands are able to stock more new clothes, which customers will again purchase at low prices.

The Fast Fashion Cycle

This creates a cycle where these retailers are more and more quickly producing new garments. Since fast fashion aims to mimic high-end fashion, it's important to address a few things. There are two runway shows each year where designers showcase their Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections. High-end brands typically release around 5 collections per year. For example, Chanel releases 6 collections each year. Gucci even recently revealed that they will only release two collections per year going forward.

However, fast fashion brands have gotten extremely skilled at their "fast turnover" business model. Zara for instance currently releases a new collection every 6 weeks. That's up 9 collections each year, distributed all over the world for customers to purchase. Do you agree that this is too much? The new and trendy garments paired with the affordable prices, and not to mention the sales, incentivize us to purchase new clothes we don't truly need, only to get rid of "last season's" clothes that might no longer be as trendy.

How To Break The Fast Fashion Cycle

First things first: breaking this cycle, especially if you've been a habitual shopper for a while, is not easy. I personally don't consider myself big on shopping, and even I enjoy walking into Zara or H&M to look at all the new and pretty things! There are so many reasons why it's easy for these fast fashion corporations to program us into following fashion trends (social belonging) and purchasing from them (cheap thrills).

So, how can we break the cycle? If you force yourself to go against your human nature, or against a behavior you've picked up for a long time, you're likely to fail. Making the decision to avoid fast fashion is the first step, and if it's paired with enough conviction, you might be able to keep it up for good. However, I believe that for most of us, we need some kind of substitute, especially if fashion is something that brings you joy.

I'm in the process of cutting out all fast fashion, and I've been mostly successful for the past 2 years. The following tricks were my substitutes, and hopefully they'll give you some ideas.

  1. I started thrifting. Thrifting is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways in which we can engage with fashion. I find it to be relaxing, and I love the thrill of the hunt. You never know when you'll find your new favorite piece by surprise, a cool vintage find, or a $3 designer item.
  2. I focused on other artistic outlets. Fashion can be a creative outlet for some, and if this is you, this might be a great tip. Art doesn't just mean drawing and painting. It could also be something like home decor, which is closer to fashion in some ways. You can thrift home decor just like you can clothing, and you can have a little indoor garden full of beautiful different plants.
  3. I started looking for ethical fashion brands that are in line with my personal style, budget, and that I can find locally. This is one of the reasons why I started Ethicalista. Finding brands that give us the same satisfaction as fast fashion brands isn't always easy, but they're out there.

List of Fast Fashion Brands To Avoid

Ready to slow down your fast fashion consumption, or even to permanently put an end to it? The following brands should cover a big portion of the world, as they're based all over the world. Not all of them might have stores where you live, but you'll definitely recognize at least some of them no matter where you are.

  • & Other Stories
  • Abercombie & Fitch
  • Adidas
  • AliExpress
  • Ally Fashion
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Anthrolopogie
  • ASOS
  • Autograph
  • Ben Sherman
  • Beneton
  • Berksha
  • Bestseller
  • Betts
  • Bloch
  • Boohoo
  • Brandy Melville
  • C&A
  • Camilla and Marc
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Cheap Monday
  • Cooper St
  • COS
  • Cotton On
  • Darn Tough
  • Decjuba
  • Diana Ferrari
  • Esprit
  • fashion nova
  • Five Foxes
  • Forever 21
  • Free People
  • Fruit of the Loom
  • GAP
  • Giordano
  • Guess
  • Gymshark
  • H&M
  • Heine
  • Hollister
  • Hot Topic
  • Inditex
  • J. Crew
  • Jasmine & Will
  • Little Trelise
  • Lowes
  • Madewell
  • Mango
  • Massimo Dutti
  • Merric
  • Metersbonwe
  • Mirrou
  • Miss Selridge
  • Missguided
  • Mollini
  • Monki
  • Na-Kd
  • Nasty Gal
  • New Look
  • New Yorker
  • Next
  • Nike
  • Noni B
  • Oasis
  • Old Navy
  • Oysho
  • PE Nation
  • Peacocks
  • Pretty Little Thing
  • Primark
  • Pull & Bear
  • Rainbow Shops
  • Renner
  • Riachuelo
  • Rip Curl
  • River Island
  • Rockmans
  • Romwe
  • S. Oliver
  • Shasa
  • Shein
  • Showpo
  • Stradivarius
  • Target
  • Topshop
  • Trelise Cooper
  • Uniqlo
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Uterque
  • Valleygirl
  • victoria's secret
  • W. Lane
  • Walmart (George)
  • Wish
  • Zaful
  • Zara

In Conclusion

So, what can we do to break the cycle of fast fashion? If you force yourself to go against your human nature, or against a behavior you've picked up for a long time, you're likely to fail. Making the decision to avoid fast fashion is the first step, and if it's paired with enough conviction, you might be able to keep it up for good. However, I believe that for most of us, we need some kind of substitute, especially if fashion is something that brings you joy. I'm in the process of cutting out all fast fashion from my life and have been mostly successful for the past 2 years. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and I hope you can help make a difference by at least reducing your fast fashion consumption.

To make your journey easier, here's our list of ethical clothing brands to support instead.

Suzana Rose

Suzana Rose

Suzana Rose is the founder and editor-in-chief of Ethicalista. She loves using her creative energy to run her ethical businesses, and when she’s not working, you can find her thrifting cute clothes, listening to podcasts, or rewatching her favorite episodes of The Office.

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