There are a lot of amazing articles on the internet about why "fast fashion is bad for the environment" , "fast fashion and cruel work environment", "fast fashion and sweatshops" - you are just one click away from the horrible truth. So I will not go into the details why we should stop supporting fast fashion, but instead I will list a few retailers that you should (at least for starters) avoid at all costs.
1. Forever 21
Man I used to love Forever21. Affordable! Cute! - right?
Long lasting? Quality? - not so much. I started to notice quality issues (and some very questionable looking designs) first, and then I learned about how they can afford to sell their jeans for 9.89$ a piece.
Have you ever noticed the smell of the mall stores, particularly one in retailers such as Forever21, Charlotte Russe, Rue21 and more? Horrible, chemical smell. That my dears is a lingering scent of sweatshop production. Do you think they also spray their garments with chemicals to mask the smell of sweat their workers drip on the clothing while working in horrific conditions for 2$ an hour? I do.
2. Victoria's Secret.
Just because their bras sell for 50$ a piece does not mean that they pay their employers a fair wage. Because they don't. Victoria's Secret is one of the biggest companies who use sweatshop production and unfair employe treatment. Sure, they pay their models well, but how about people who make all of those garments? Not so much.
Also, just as the ex-consumer of Victoria's - their bras are torture devices and I cannot believe that I thought that it was considered normal (or as Victoria Secret would say) "sexy" to wear those contraptions. They definitely don't make their merchandize for women's comfort!
3. GAP (Old Navy included as it's owned by GAP)
GAP has had a number of "ethical labor" scandals in the last 10 years and although it seems as they are trying to improve their practices and become more transparent they are just not doing enough and definitely not fast enough.
And why would they? GAP remains to be an American go to brand for jeans (at least in the malls) so if they can resist making environmental and ethical changes that will cost them millions they will.
This new Japanese-american fusion store might have been taking the clothing market in United States by storm but behind the scenes of its production isn't pretty.
UNIQLO is unfortunately known for "slave like working conditions" and severe underpayment to its workers.
Sadly "high end" brands are not above manufacturing in China. So unless you do your research, paying 200$ for a purse doesn't mean that you're supporting the workers, but just paying into the brand "name".
Prada, and many other high end brands dropped slow but knowledgeable artisans for fast, skilled, easily adaptable and most importantly, cheap, factory workers.
Those brands are just a tip of the iceberg of clothing companies that exploit China's sweatshop practices which include poor working conditions, underpayment and health code violations. Is your clothing worth somebody's blood and sweat? Do you really want to support companies who only care about the final product and not about how you get there?
Thankfully slow fashion is slowly coming back. People are making conscious and ethical choices - choosing quality over quantity. It's hard and involves a lot of research, and it's definitely more expensive, but is it worth it? Totally.