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Fast Fashion Brands: Is Asos Fast Fashion?

Happy Woman

Whether you like it or not, the ASOS brand is a major player in the UK fashion industry. Launched over 20 years ago, it has become one of the most popular online fashion destinations. This British company supplies over 850 different brands, and you can find whatever you need at an affordable price.

It's challenging to ignore cheap and affordable fashion, especially when it gets delivered to your home and can be sent back without question. However, it’s not news that fast fashion brands like ASOS usually mean unpleasant production practices, questionable labor policies, and an attitude towards the environment that is devoid of any concern. 

According to an online survey, 60% of ASOS customers are more likely to buy from fashion companies that are environmentally and socially responsible. This figure is higher than regular Brits, of whom only 49% admit to trying to choose mindful alternatives. 

The following article provides an answer to the question "is ASOS fast fashion?" They also provide information on everything you need to know about ASOS.

What Is ASOS?

ASOS is a British online fashion company whose goal is to help customers "feel, look and be their best," which is evidenced by their distinct clothing range. It’s one of the biggest online fashion shops in the UK, selling apparel to over 22 million customers a year.

ASOS boasts the ability to provide for all of your apparel needs, whether you need a dress for a night out, an outfit to wear as a wedding guest, a bikini to make the most of warm weather, or some comfortable jeans and hoodies for those days when oversized clothes are essential.

Have you ever added a dress you love to your ASOS website cart, forgotten about it, and then returned a few weeks later to find the dress is no longer available? If you’ve been in this situation, there are some things you need to know before buying at ASOS. 

Storing trending items is of absolute importance to ASOS, and around 40% of its stock is not more than three months old. ASOS is known to deliberately introduce several ranges of clothing at a single time to create a "trend story" instead of slowly feeding the items to their website like other brands do. 

This strategy has established ASOS as an authority on-trend. It's best to get your hands on that dress you've been eyeing for a while before it goes out of stock or is taken offline to make room for the launch of more recent pieces.

Fast fashion is one of the largest polluting industries

Is ASOS Sustainability Focused?

ASOS' sustainability rating is moderately promising, but it still has a long way to go. About 34% of materials used in ASOS' internal labels are sustainably procured. The website also has a vintage and used section, one of the most sustainable shopping strategies. 

ASOS' in-house clothing line, Responsible Edit, uses 50% recycled and sustainable materials. They also have plans to put sustainability measures in place in procuring all of its cottons by 2025. Most of the company's emissions come from transportation and the company has addressed this by upgrading to electric vehicles for its corporate offices in London. 

Also, corporate offices belonging to the fashion giant now depend on 25% renewable energy and have started utilizing LED light bulbs, which reduce carbon emissions and have a longer life span. 

To create a more sustainable fashion brand, ASOS has reduced its packaging to minimize waste and created the ASOS animal welfare policy based on American Humane's Five Freedoms in animal welfare. 

The British fashion company avoids using animal-based materials like fur, angora, animal hairs or skins, and feathers. Currently, ASOS uses leather and doesn't plan to stop using it anytime soon. 

Despite their sustainability-promoting efforts, ASOS is still a fast-fashion company. Its strategy of hastily releasing trendy styles makes it challenging for sustainability goals to be achieved. This culture further supports the opinion that fast fashion is extremely unsustainable, no matter how you look at it.

The Ethical Rating of ASOS

ASOS received a score of 55% after participating in the Fashion Transparency Index in 2020. They publish a comprehensive list of suppliers in the last stage of production and a little information about the second stage of manufacturing online. 

They also publish supplier policies to protect suppliers and workers in their supply chain from the consequences of COVID-19. ASOS initially refused to pay workers at the start of 2020 regardless of their contracts but later agreed to pay workers fairly after external pressure.

Almost none of ASOS's supply chain has been certified by Labor, the agency that ensures workers’ health, living wages, workers' rights, and safety. There's also a deliberate lack of transparency in ensuring living wages are paid in its supply chain. 

This year, ASOS introduced a new supply chain initiative that mandates all brands sold by ASOS must sign up to four ethical production pledges, including signing a transparency pledge, providing proof of the visibility of their UK-based offices, and becoming a Fast Forward member which is a UK-focussed labor standard audit and enhancement program.

This fashion brand seems to be moving in the right direction as they have said that they will start producing an annual report on their supply chain by 2023. The report will include how they fare in modern slavery, living wages, and women’s empowerment.

ASOS also disclosed its plan to ensure that 50% of its managers at all levels are women and 15% are from ethnic minorities by 2030.

A young girl picking up the trendy ASOS clothes she bought

Shopping at ASOS

When searching the internet for where to shop, you'll most likely surf through many fraudulent websites. It isn't easy to differentiate between a genuine shop and a rip-off without doing a little online research.

An easily noticeable red flag of any fashion company that is out to defraud you is suspiciously low prices and the absence of a physical shop. Not every affordable store is a fraud in disguise, and ASOS is one such genuine retailer that offers affordable and quality clothes. ASOS clothes are affordable because they prioritize productivity and profit over fair labor practices.

Should you shop at ASOS? Let's take a look.

As stated earlier, ASOS is an online fashion and cosmetic shop that offers a  variety of regular and circular fashion products to over 190 countries. It's a UK-based fashion company that deals with over 850 brands. 

These include prominent brands like Adidas, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger. Several in-house brands are limited to ASOS itself, including ASOS 4505, ASOS DESIGN, and ASOS LUXE.

While popularly known for its clothing, ASOS offers an array of trendy products. It also offers shoes, accessories, and various cosmetics catering to women and men. They are an e-commerce site that operates entirely online and via some social media platforms.

Being online allows them to have an extensive reach. However, several people have questioned their credibility with no physical stores. 

What You Need to Know About Fast Fashion

‘Fast fashion’ refers to an unsustainable clothes-making method that produces affordable clothing swiftly in response to recent style trends. Companies that practice this type of fashion sacrifice both the sustainability of their production methods and the quality of their materials to take advantage of a quick-to-change industry that heavily depends on trends.

The fundamental word here is ‘fast’. Companies would rather produce clothes to keep up with what's trending rather than take the time to make quality apparel. Fast fashion greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. 

Since they rarely take advantage of sustainable sources, these clothes often contain hazardous chemicals and materials, non-sustainable dyes, and microplastics.

Fast fashion mostly involves the use of inexpensive materials, and that's why the clothes are so affordable. While they may be good for the wallet, these materials decompose slowly, intensifying fast fashion’s negative impact on the environment. 

After all, clothing-related waste that can’t disintegrate accounts for 20% of water pollution. For an affordable price in the short-term, we all pay a worse price in the future.

ASOS Fast fashion results in sickening amount of waste

Is ASOS Fast Fashion?

Yes, ASOS is a fast-fashion brand. It got this classification due to the speed of manufacturing and the scale of clothes they produce. In 2021, the Changing Markets Foundation discovered that 89% of ASOS' green claims were greenwashed. ASOS is retrogressing in transparency, dropping from 55/100 to 47/100 in the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index 2021.

ASOS has an enormous gender pay gap in its UK offices, with women earning 110p for every £2 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay. In 2020, the company stopped paying its garment factories, using the excuse of decreasing demand due to COVID-19 (despite having contracts in place). 

After external pressure, the brand made a U-turn and started paying. It’s not news that this brand does not commit to keeping its workers safe. ASOS admits to using only 34% of sustainably-procured fibers in terms of sustainability, and they offer only basic supply chain transparency. 

In May 2019, the fashion powerhouse revealed their Responsible Edit line, which is primarily a revamped version of their Eco Edit clothing line. Still, it sadly did not include several autonomous sustainable options on the site because they're produced with the better cotton initiative and are more expensive.

Bottom Line

Is ASOS fast fashion? Generally,  ASOS is considered a fast-fashion company because it depends on quick turnaround times. While the ultimate purchasing decision lies with you, one way to get brands like ASOS to change their production processes is to shop somewhere else.

As more people are beginning to understand the environmental impacts of their shopping habits, customers are moving on to more ethical brands. 

Despite being aware of all the harm that ASOS does, it can be easy to be drawn back in, due to their affordable prices and the ability for you to shop online. It's possible that for as long as people shop at ASOS, they will continue with their harmful practices. If you're a woman and you'd like to find comfortable clothes that are made with sustainable materials in an era where fast fashion is predominant, Arlo Blue is here to help you.

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