Sure, sustainable fashion might be the talk of the town, but today let’s talk about fast fashion in general and fast fashion brands in UK in particular. What is fast fashion? Do greenhouse gas emissions matter when it comes to the fashion industry? Or are we giving them a free pass to ruin the planet?
Fast fashion is cheap, of poor quality, and mass-produced in frequent cycles ignoring all ethics and sustainability measures. The fabrics used are harmful to the planet, made with plastics like polyester and nylon. Fast fashion retailers generally don’t pay any heed to the labor standards, exploring them thoroughly for profit generation.
Whenever we talk of sustainability, the key is to avoid the worst fast fashion brands and shop instead from sustainable fashion brands. Sadly, UK is filled with fast fashion retailers like the Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Boohoo, Mexx, Max Mara, Jil Sander, ASOS, Motel, Koovs, and many more. To make things easy for you, we have assembled a list of some of the worst fast fashion brands from UK to keep away from.
- 9 Fast Fashion Brands in UK to Steer Clear Of
- 1. Banana Republic
- 2. ASOS
- 3. Motel Rocks
- 4. Victoria’s Secret
- 5. Koovs
- 6. Max Mara
- 7. Mexx
- 8. Jil Sander
- 9. Boohoo (And Its Sister Brands)
- Best Alternatives to Fast Fashion Brands in the UK
Not from the United Kingdom?
You may want to steer clear of these Fast Fashion Brands from other countries:
9 Fast Fashion Brands in UK to Steer Clear Of
Following are some of the fast fashion brands from UK that refuse to incorporate sustainable fashion and tidy up their supply chain:
1. Banana Republic
Place of origin in UK: London and Manchester
Founder(s): Mel Ziegler and Patricia Ziegler
Price Range: $7-$1500
Owned by Gap Inc., Banana Republic sells fast fashion clothing in UK with a motto of making your wardrobe more inclusive and approachable. Despite its sustainability claims, Banana Republic falls short of making the dreams of ethical fashion true as of yet. The brand has a lot to work on when it comes to sustainability but let’s just say the brand has taken the plunge. Know why Banana Republic is not a brand you should pick up as a conscious consumer.
Place of origin in UK: Hampstead Road, London
Founder(s): Nick Robertson, Andrew Regan, Quentin Griffiths
Price Range: £2-£435
Offering more than 30 sizes, ASOS not only promotes size inclusivity but also gender inclusivity by catering to a wide market of young people from all backgrounds. While the brand has increased its transparency, the cheap prices of the products make it unbelievable to have faith in their promised ethics. Scoring 51-60% in the Fashion Transparency Index 2022, the brand has a lot to work on when it comes to sustainability, but it’s halfway there!
Nonetheless, there are better and more sustainable alternatives out there to shop from!
3. Motel Rocks
Place of origin in UK: Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
Founder(s): William and Peter Giles
Price Range: £2-£95
Motel can rock the indie/grunge vibe to the T. As one of the fast fashion clothing brands in UK, Motel claims to cater to, and we quote from their website, ‘bringing the hottest new trends and most coveted styles to the site each and every week.’ If that isn’t telling enough, then we don’t know what is!
Sure you might be a fan of edgy and eclectic fashion, but trust us when we say, Motel is not a brand you should shop from as an ethical consumer. Find some good alternatives for Motel here.
4. Victoria’s Secret
Place of origin in UK: Queensway, Birmingham
Founder(s): Roy Raymond
Price Range: £3-£155
As one of the most coveted Lingerie brands in the world, Victoria’s Secret is infamous for both its sought-for collection and its unethical ways of production. It is no secret in the sustainability circle that Victoria’s Secret is far from being a sustainable fashion brand.
Pervading all markets, national or international, the brand has become almost impossible to avoid. Nonetheless, there are always better and more sustainable alternatives out there to shop from!
Place of origin in UK: London
Founder(s): Waheed Alli
Price Range: £10-£87
Rated one of the lowest scoring brands in 2022 by the Fashion Transparency Index, Koovs scores zero on the sustainability meter. Koovs is one of those online fast fashion retailers catering to menswear, womenswear, footwear, accessories, jewelry, and beauty products.
The brand has no relevant information on its website, thus enabling zero transparency. The cheap prices and low-quality fabrics used are further indicators of it being one of the worst fast fashion brands out there.
6. Max Mara
Place of origin in UK: London
Founder(s): Achille Maramotti
Rated one of the lowest scoring brands in 2022 by the Fashion Transparency Index, Max Mara also scores zero on the sustainability meter. Catering to all fashion needs of women, the brand is known for its ready-to-wear and mass production model.
Like Koovs, the brand barely has any information on its website, enabling zero transparency. It also mass produces and provides no information on its supply chain. Thus, it is not to be trusted at all!
Place of origin in UK: Luton
Founder(s): Rattan Chadha
Price Range: £10-£200
Rated one of the lowest scoring brands in 2022 by the Fashion Transparency Index, Mexx also scores zero on the sustainability meter. Mexx was born when founder Rattan Chadha decided to merge his men’s brand Moustache and women’s brand Emanuelle.
The brand’s website claims, and we quote, ‘The ultimate goal of Mexx is to promote a casual, modern lifestyle.’ From jeans, trousers, coats, blazers, and accessories, to t-shirts, tops, bags and shoes, dresses, and much more, Mexx has a wide range of products to offer to both men and women.
Much like the other brands, Mexx doesn’t have any relevant information regarding its supply chain, use of sustainable materials, animal rights policy, or fabric quality. We do not recommend the brand to ethical consumers.
8. Jil Sander
Place of origin in UK: London
Founder(s): Heidemarie Jiline (Jil) Sander
Price Range: £125-£8950
Rated one of the lowest scoring brands in 2022 by the Fashion Transparency Index, Jil Sander also scores zero on the sustainability meter. If this isn’t enough to drop the brand’s products like a hot potato, then be warned, Jil Sander’s website doesn’t even sport an ‘About Us’ page. So, the transparency score of the brand is zero.
Despite being a luxury brand, Jil Sander offers zero assurance that you are investing in ethical clothes, which for a conscious consumer is an investment done wrong!
We do not recommend Jil Sander, for surely there are better and more sustainable luxury brand alternatives out there.
9. Boohoo (And Its Sister Brands)
Place of origin in UK: Dale Street, Manchester
Founder(s): Mahmud Kamani, Carol Kane
Price Range: £4-£200
Boohoo and all its sister brands like Karen Millen, Misspap, Nasty Gal, Oasis, Pretty Little Thing, Warehouse, BoohooMAN, Coast, and Debenhams, are all fast fashion retailers in UK’s fashion industry. Boohoo sells wardrobe staples to women at affordable rates. Although they claim to ‘reduce the impact of fashion’ on the planet, the fact is highly debatable.
The huge number of products listed on Boohoo alone hints at their mass-production model. All these brands lean towards using cheap fabrics, offering trendy clothing, and producing on a large scale, hinting at their fast fashion tendencies.
Boohoo has made some efforts when it comes to selling recycled tops, swimwear, skirts, dresses, and co-ords, and has banished modern slavery. But that’s about it when it comes to making more sustainable changes.
Transparency in their supply chain is still low, no information regarding their animal rights policy is available, and the cheap prices of the products all become indicators of a fast fashion model.
We do not recommend Boohoo (or any of its sister brands) for surely there are better and more sustainable alternatives to shop from.
Best Alternatives to Fast Fashion Brands in the UK
1. Elvis & Kresse
Elvis & Kresse was founded by Kresse Wesling who had the vision to reduce waste generation by rescuing materials that end up in landfills and creating something fresh and timeless out of them. The brand has an amazing collection of sustainably made bags and belts and is a fair-wage employer. Elvis & Kresse work with renewable energy and is known to have utilized 300+ tonnes of waste material in its products till now.
Dai is a UK-based ethical clothing brand that offers an array of sleek and chic womenswear. The brand is B Corp Certified and crafts limited editions of comfortable yet confident-inducing premium range of power clothing for women. Dai strongly works towards being 100% Carbon Neutral, recycles waste, and follows a transparent supply chain along with plastic-free packaging.
3. Toby Tiger
Founded in Brighton, Toby Tiger is a family-run ethical clothing brand for toddlers and kids. The brand offers classic designs that are made of GOTS-certified organic cotton that is GMO & Pesticide-free. Their clothes are affordable and super comfortable and a hit with children.
4. Surf Kernow
Founded in 2017 in Cornwall, Surf Kernow is a PETA-approved clothing brand that deals in ethically made t-shirts, hoodies, etc. made with 100% organic fabrics. Their clothing collection is designed, printed, and manufactured in Cornwall with the aim to reduce carbon footprint, and upliftment of local workers through employment opportunities, fair trade practices, plastic-free packaging, etc.
5. Been London
Founded and led by women, Been London is an ethical fashion brand brought to life by Genia Mineeva, who was determined to introduce the world to versatile bag designs made of recycled materials. The brand’s range of bags is made of all sorts of sustainable materials like pineapple leather, recycled nylon, recycled cotton, apple skin leather, etc. and they strongly follow a zero-waste policy, reforestation, fair trade process, etc.
The all-pervading presence of fast fashion is far from receding anytime soon. Across the 250 brands reviewed in the year 2022 by Fashion Transparency Index, the overall average score is a dismal 24%. Are we any closer to making sustainable fashion a reality? We don’t think so!
Companies would rather earn profits from the many ills of fast fashion, than incorporate ethics and sustainability.
As companies continue to sell, people also continue to buy from fast fashion clothing brands in UK. Some of the most preferred brands are the Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Boohoo, Mexx, Max Mara, Jil Sander, ASOS, Motel, and Koovs. Most of them are rated the worst fast fashion brands in UK in the recent Fashion Transparency Index 2022.