Is Boohoo Fast Fashion, Ethical or Sustainable?


If you’re wondering “if is Boohoo fast fashion” or ethical and sustainable, this one is for ya! In this article, we’ll go over whether or not Boohoo is bad for the environment and its social impact. Let’s get into it.

Is Boohoo fast fashion?

Yes! Boohoo is a fast fashion company with $2.65 Billion as its 2022 annual revenue.

If you’re plugged into the online fashion scene, you’ve probably heard of The Boohoo Group. With its trendy labels like Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal, this major player in the fashion market has taken the world by storm! Known for their “irresistible” $6 bikinis, cheap curve-hugging minis, and that’s-a-steal accessories, Boohoo, along with Shein and Romwe, has practically defined the ultra-fast-fashion retail phenomenon! They also offer beauty merchandise, including skincare, haircare, and fragrances.

With hundreds of new items being constantly added to their website, they certainly keep their selection fresh and abundant. The production of more than half of Boohoo’s items takes place in factories across the UK, especially in Leicester, London, and Manchester. For overseas sourcing, its supplier factories are located in China, Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Estonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, and so on.

 They’ve aced the game with killer collaborations featuring TikTok and Instagram Influencers, as well as some iconic reality TV stars like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians. That’s how they catapulted to fame, and, unfortunately, did they succeed! In just under 16 years, this fashion behemoth went from a tiny three-employee team to a colossal billion-dollar business! With sales nearly touching £1.2 billion during the pandemic year of 2020, Boohoo was clearly on a roll. And they’ve got the workforce to match their success – a whopping 5,000 employees, all working tirelessly to ship millions of parcels each week.

But here’s the thing – fast fashion comes with a price, and we’re not just talking about the tag. The fast-paced production and consumption cycle have significant environmental consequences. From excessive waste to exploitative labor practices, the dark side of fast fashion raises some serious concerns.

Is Boohoo ethical?

No, Boohoo is not an ethical company.

It’s disheartening to learn about Boohoo’s controversies and the significant gaps in its ethical practices. The company has been under the spotlight for its supply chain issues, especially concerning the working conditions of its factory workers.

In 2020, an undercover investigation revealed disturbing truths about a Boohoo supplier’s factory in Leicester, UK. Workers were paid meager wages as little as £3.50 ($4.40) an hour, well below the national living wage, and subjected to unsafe working conditions, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such conditions are a clear violation of workers’ rights and put their health at risk.

To address these accusations, Boohoo commissioned an independent review that confirmed the presence of “serious issues” in its supply chain, including low pay and poor working conditions. While the company claims to have started implementing measures to improve the situation, there’s still a long way to go to ensure fair and safe conditions for all workers.

Boohoo has also faced allegations of poor labor practices in overseas factories, with workers being paid extremely low wages and working in deplorable environments. In 2020, the company was accused of, sourcing garments from Pakistani factories where suppliers paid workers as little as 29p per hour and forced them to work in a deplorable environment. Such practices reflect a lack of ethical oversight and responsibility in the company’s sourcing decisions.

While Boohoo has pledged to improve its ethical practices, the evidence shows that there are only a few of its factories certified by labor standards at present. This raises concerns about the extent of the company’s commitment to workers’ safety and well-being throughout its entire supply chain.

Is Boohoo like Shein?

Yes, both Bohoo and Shein are ultra-fast fashion companies. Both brands have faced scrutiny regarding workers’ rights and labor conditions. They offer a wide range of clothing and accessories, catering to various styles and preferences, promoting overconsumption. Boohoo and Shein often offer discounts, promotions, and sales, enticing customers to make purchases.

Is Boohoo Sustainable?

No, Boohoo is not a sustainable company. 

Boohoo has taken some steps towards sustainability, but there’s still much to be done to achieve true sustainability. The company has launched a sustainability plan called UP.FRONT, comprising three main components: Smarter clothes, Better suppliers, and Responsible business operations.

According to their plan, Boohoo aims to have all cotton, polyester, and 50% of their synthetic fabrics sustainably sourced or recycled by 2025. However, they haven’t committed to eliminating animal-based materials like leather, down, feathers, and wool, but they claim to source them following industry best practices.

Boohoo has set a target to make their packaging more eco-friendly by 2023, aiming for reusability, recyclability, or compostability. They also plan to map their raw materials supply chain, disclose supplier information, and improve purchasing practices by the same year.

Furthermore, the company is focused on addressing climate change by offering consumers more eco-friendly choices and supporting local communities through employment opportunities. They’ve even launched a sustainability collection called “Ready For The Future Range,” featuring chic garments made from recycled materials. Additionally, Boohoo has joined recognized third-party associations, like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the UK Sustainable Clothing Action Plan.

While these efforts are a step in the right direction, critics argue that Boohoo’s extensive use of cheap synthetic materials for its affordable clothing collections raises concerns about its true commitment to sustainability. The key now is for the brand to take tangible action and work diligently to achieve its sustainability goals, rather than merely making declarations on paper. Let’s hope Boohoo can transform its aspirations into real, impactful changes for a more sustainable future.

The environmental impact of Boohoo

The fast fashion industry, in general, has been known for its negative effects on the environment due to excessive production, overconsumption, and the use of synthetic materials. Fast fashion companies like Boohoo produce large quantities of clothing, leading to overconsumption and a high level of waste. Many of these clothes end up in landfills, contributing to environmental pollution.

The production of synthetic fabrics, like polyester, requires a significant amount of energy and resources, contributing to carbon emissions and water pollution. The fashion industry, including fast fashion brands, is one of the largest consumers of water globally. The production of textiles and clothing involves significant water usage, putting pressure on water resources in many regions.

So, yes, Boohoo is definitely bad for the environment. Some of the similar fast fashion brands you should avoid at all costs include Romwe, Zara, Banana Republic, J Crew, and Uniqlo.

Sustainable, Ethical Alternatives to Boohoo

1. Mud Jeans

Price: $100-$150

Sustainable Materials: Organic Cotton, Modal, Tencel, Lenzing, Refibra

Mud Jeans is a sustainable fashion brand that’s all about creating denim products with a circular economy approach. So far, Mud Jeans has achieved remarkable feats in their sustainability journey. They’ve saved an astounding 300 million liters of water, avoided a staggering 700,000 kilos of C02 emissions, and rescued 12,000 jeans from ending up in landfills. Talk about making a positive impact on the planet! Plus, they’re dedicated to using organic cotton, recycled cotton, and Tencel, making their fashion pieces not only stylish but also environmentally friendly.


2. Asket

Price: $45-$260

Sustainable Materials: 100% organic cotton, Tencel, Recycled Polyester, and cashmere

The sustainable fashion brand Asket brings perfectly tailored wardrobe staples for modern women and men who hold sustainability and comfort close to their hearts. When it comes to organic basics, Akset takes the lead with their 100% organic cotton collection, sourced from fair trade certified factories. With a strong commitment to transparency, they closely monitor their supply chain to ensure ethical practices at every step. With each garment, you’ll receive an Impact Receipt, detailing its cost, traceability, CO2 emissions, and more. They believe in empowering you with knowledge so you can make conscious choices.

3. Afends

Price: From $45

Sustainable Materials: Hemp, Organic Cotton Jersey

Drawing inspiration from the natural world, urban streetwear, and the vibrant surfing culture, Afends is on a mission to promote sustainable fashion through innovative techniques, proactive measures, and positive change. They believe in fashion that not only looks great but also leaves a positive impact on the planet. As true advocates for hemp production, Afends has taken a bold step by investing in their very own 100-acre farmland, affectionately known as Sleepy Hollow. Here, they cultivate their own hemp crops, sparking a revolution in the use of this versatile and eco-friendly plant. It’s all about embracing the beauty of nature and weaving it into every stitch.

In conclusion: Is Boohoo Fast Fashion, Ethical or Sustainable?

So, is Boohoo fast fashion? Yes! Is Boohoo ethical or sustainable? Absolutely no. The brand’s rapid production, excessive waste, and questionable supply chain practices raise serious concerns about its contribution to the industry’s negative effects on the planet and people. By choosing to invest in quality, durable pieces and supporting eco-friendly initiatives, we can collectively shift the fashion industry towards a more responsible and sustainable future.

About Author

Konstantina Antoniadou

Freelance sustainability and fashion writer with an ongoing curiosity to explore new innovative technologies, and report on trends in “green” industries.