The Worst Of The WORST Fast Fashion Brands

A photo of a bunch of white hangers on a flat lay with the word Fast Fashion. Pin

Fast fashion brands make clothes using unethical practices that harm people and the environment. Here, I’ve gathered the absolute worst offenders so you can avoid them. Plus, we have a whole post dedicated to ethically made clothing brands that won’t break the bank.

Please read about the Real Cost of Fast Fashion and take a mini deep dive into how this common habit affects our planet, people, and wallets. 

Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid


This British brand has been in the middle of an international scandal since a Sunday Times investigation uncovered severe labor exploitation in one of its factories.
People—Workers are paid way below the minimum wage and are not provided with protective equipment.
Environment—They have been ranked as one of Europe's most polluting fast fashion companies. They produce 500 new weekly products, adding to the ever-growing pile of throw-away clothing!


One of the fastest-growing Chinese online fast-fashion retailers and a wasteful juggernaut with severe environmental and ethical infractions.

People—Workers toil in Chinese factories in unfit conditions, working shifts up to 75 hours. According to the Swiss watchdog, Public Eye, Shein is accused of violating multiple Chinese labor laws.
Environment—Shein adds anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 individual styles to its app each day (according to an investigation by Rest of World). They use tons of virgin polyester and their large oil consumption churns out the same amount of CO2 as about 180 coal-fired power plants (according to Synthetics Anonymous 2.0). As a result, the company leaves about 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide a year in its trail!

Forever 21

Their business model is based on rapid production—resulting in cutting corners, leaving the environment and the employees to pay the cost—all so consumers can get the new “it” item at a fraction of the cost and then throw it out next year. 
People—Often found embroiled in labor disputes and working conditions, this brand works hard to pay their hard-working employees as little as possible—often well below minimum wage (even in the U.S.!).
Environment—The high turnover production model used by Forever 21 has resulted in water pollution from textile dyes, carbon emissions from factories, and incredible waste. 87% of the materials used end up in landfills.


This Spain-based retail brand has no proof of taking steps towards protecting workers or paying a fair wage. There is also no evidence that Zara takes any steps towards reducing waste or increasing eco-friendly production practices.
People—Workers in Brazil were found to be working 16 to 19 hours a day with almost zero time off and in debt to their traffickers. Yes, you read that right, traffickers. Many sweatshops in Latin America hire migrants from Bolivia, Peru, and surrounding countries to exploit them, regardless of whether they are underage or not.
Environment—Its infamous production cycle cannot go unnoticed either, it is rumoured that Zara can recreate a runway trend in just one week, getting over 20 collections a year to their stores. This pattern can be defined in just three words: massive textile waste.


Producing inexpensive “on-style” trends that go from runway to stores in less than a week creates huge amounts of textile waste and inhumane hours.
People—This brand has been linked to multiple factory disasters and other sweatshop-like conditions in several supplier factories, particularly those that produce for H&M's cheap chic sister brand COS. Remember the garment factory that collapsed in 2013 due to shoddy building materials and poor safety standards? Well, H&M clothing was manufactured behind its doors.
Environment—H&M is one of the most polluting brands in the middle of a polluting industry: the brand produces 3 billion garments annually, generating US$22 billion in revenue, including US$4.1 billion in unsold clothing as recently as 2019. The quantity of unsold clothing is so large that it has even been used as fuel in a Swedish power plant! This fast-fashion brand has been very successful and it keeps growing, but at what cost?

More fast fashion brands to avoid—Victoria’s Secret, Mango, Urban Outfitters, Primark, Missguided, Fashion Nova, Uniqlo, Romwe, ZAFUL, and Hot Topic. 

Who are the worst fast fashion brands on the maker today? Plus how can you avoid them?Pin

FAQ’s about other brands:

Is American Eagle Fast Fashion? Read this article about how American Eagle is definitely “not good enough” in supporting people and the environment.

Is Asos Fast Fashion? Again, this fashion giant based in the UK is not doing its part for people or the planet. Read about it here.

Is PacSun Fast Fashion? PacSun came out with a very poor rating mostly due to the fact that they are not transparent about production—meaning we don’t know how their laborers are paid or what conditions they work in, and what steps, if any, they take towards caring for the environment. 

Is Banana Republic considered Fast Fashion? There is no evidence that BR is taking steps towards providing a living wage or taking any steps to reduce emissions from factories or wastewater.

There are many fast fashion brands on the market, but none of them are worth your money or time. None of the brands mentioned above cares about the damage they’re doing to the environment and to their workers. It’s not hard to create an affordable sustainable wardrobe and now we know why it’s so important!

How Can I Combat Fast Fashion?

If you're like pretty much anyone in this world, then you've probably considered buying clothes from fast fashion brands at least once… And I don't blame you.Pin

If fast fashion isn't sustainable or ethical, what can we do? My advice: Stop buying fast fashion and join the slow fashion movement. It's simple!

Learning to say no is essential if you want new clothes from a fast fashion brand. This means not buying things impulsively because they're cheap or caught up in the fast-moving trends of fast fashion. 

You don't need a new outfit for every party or event you attend—learn to love your clothes and make them last longer—and take a role in saving the planet and standing up for the rights of unique humans everywhere!

Who knew that simply walking past those stores could do so much good!?!


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