7 Fashion Brands We Would NEVER Buy From

Valentina Pérez Sánchez

Most of us know that big fast-fashion giants like Zara and H&M are notorious for their greenwashing routines and employee negligence, but what other brands are guilty of such types of malpractice? Keep reading to find out which labels artil has discovered are worth avoiding, and the secrets the fashion world doesn’t want you to know.

From low wages, to the use of animal skin and fur, to the release of toxic chemicals in waterways — the extensive damage caused by fast-fashion practices is equally damaging to the environment and its population. Some of the brands that do subscribe to such practices may surprise you — they certainly shocked us!

1. Uniqlo — PTSD Inducing Shifts

Uniqlo headlines this list, despite their recycling program and the use of eco-friendly materials in their designs. Recently, this Japanese brand has been building a negative reputation due to its workplace culture. A former worker in Australia exposed in-store experiences that led to severe PTSD, such as being told to fold seven shirts per minute and working 18-hour shifts. In 2015, one of their suppliers in China reported several labor rights infringements

2. Monki — Doubtful Labor Chains

Another big blow on the list is Monki. In spite of its seemingly fresh and independent branding, the Swedish brand is owned by the Hennes & Moritz (H&M) group, alongside many other “certified cool” brands such as Weekday and & Other Stories. Monki has tried to appeal to younger generations as the woke, conscious and eco-friendly choice when they’ve barely covered the basics. Yes, they use organic cotton and have launched several initiatives to regulate their own greenhouse gas emissions, but there are no credible sources that confirm their environmental success. On top of that, they use the same labor chain as H&M and have never been audited regarding employee wages, working rights, and health and safety. Usually, you’ll see that their products have been made in countries like China, Bangladesh, or Bulgaria, which doesn’t bode well.

3. Shein — The Dark Side of Online Shopping

We have to admit that online shopping has been convenient and comfortable throughout the pandemic. However, some brands, like Shein, have exploited the situation by luring customers in with their low prices and aggressive advertising. Unfortunately, another common practice used by fast-fashion brands such as Shein is that they take their images from high-end brands but obviously, you don’t get what you initially saw advertised, so the disappointment is real. 

4 & 5. Boohoo and Fashion Nova — £5 for a dress!

Other similar wholesalers include Boohoo, which was mocked by members of the British Parliament for selling £5 dresses that encouraged throwaway fashion, or Fashion Nova, known for having a massive social media presence and the promotional backing of famous figures like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B. At a time where transparency is everything when it comes to any type of business and its practices, Fashion Nova has barely shared any information when it comes to their environmental print or animal welfare, which is definitely suspicious! The only known reports reflect how grossly underpaid their workers are and how none of Fashion Nova’s supply chains are certified by labor standards. 100% a no-go!

6. Topshop — Female Empowerment or The Opposite?

Next on the list is a brand from the UK. This label became a media frenzy thanks to a collaboration with Beyonce, a move that was ironically intended to advocate for female empowerment. You guessed it, it’s Topshop! There’s no evidence to show that this brand has taken action to cut down or stop using hazardous chemicals. They continuously come up with frantic new clothing lines that are poorly made (fast fashion’s number-one strategy to make you come back quickly to buy more clothes). After years of controversy and allegations of labor abuse, it’s clear that Topshop prioritizes economic benefit over people.

7. Mango — Shaky Foundations

To finish off this black list comes Spanish giant Mango. Like anything owned by the famous Inditex group (Zara, Stradivarius, Oysho, etc.), Mango was under scrutiny in 2013 when an 8-story building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing and injuring over a thousand workers. Amongst other not-so-green brands like Primark or C&A, Mango owned some factory space. They refused to disclose any further information regarding their supposed donations to the victims’ compensation fund and didn’t even attend the compensation meeting after the accident happened.

If you’re interested in the topic and want to expand your knowledge, we recommend this convenient tool that has its own rating on brands depending on their environmental impact, animal welfare, and labor conditions. Even more, they recommend more ethical swaps for not-so-good brands. Check it out here!

Valentina Pérez Sánchez

"I joined artil mainly to channel my discontent and frustration with today’s world. Through my words, I expect to advocate equality for people of all genders, to fight for a greener environment, and to challenge the current capitalistic system from which most of our problems as a society come. Let’s change the current narrative and live in a fairer place!"
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