Is Cotton On fast fashion? Is it a sustainable brand? Is it ethical? Read on to clear all your doubts about Cotton On and whether you should continue shopping with them.


What is Fast Fashion? Is Fast Fashion Wrong?

Before I get on to answering question about Cotton One, let us deal with the subject of fast fashion and how it’s bad for our environment.

Fast Fashion refers to the mass production of cheap clothes that copy the latest fashion trends and clothing ideas. It refers to the duplicate manufacturing of clothes off catwalks and celebrity culture. Fast fashion companies try to get the latest styles into their stores copying designs hot off celebrity magazines and fashion shows.

So you may ask, why is trying to be fashionable a bad thing? The fact is that fast fashion makes people discard clothing almost as soon as they purchase them, after just a few wears. It makes people think, that in order to be trendy, you only have to sport the latest looks.

This is seriously wrong from a sustainable perspective because it creates a never-ending cycle of overproduction, overconsumption and of course pollution. Today, the garment industry influenced by fast fashion trends is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and landfill pollution.

With global warming rates rising fast, we are daily witnesses to the fact the earth’s temperature is already thrown off balance. There are an alarming number of cities flooded all around the world, and countries in drought. Water resources are now precious and raw materials are in demand. We cannot afford to keep using up energy for trivial matters.

Consider this, “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year” This has been reported by the Global Health Observatory. So considering such alarming prediction, if we follow fast fashion, we are well on the road to our own destruction!

But why is fast fashion so popular if it’s so bad? I think that social media is to be blamed here. When fashion trends change so fast, our generation look for cheap and affordable options to keep up and feel accepted. But most people know nothing about the unethical practices of fast fashion brands, their labor exploitation, disregard for animal welfare and most of no concern at all for the environment.

So coming to the question, is Cotton On fast fashion?


What Categorizes a Brand as Fast Fashion?

Let us delve into the key factors of a clothing brand that makes it fast fashion.

  • They would be having a multitude of styles and designs that are of the latest fashion trends.
  • As soon as you see a design on the catwalk or in celebrity media, you see the same designs hit the shelves of this particular store.
  • They are characterized by utilizing offshore labor, exploiting cheap labor of third-world countries with no regard for basic labor laws. They may also be exploiting child labor. These manufacturing chains are usually very vague about their labor policies.
  • There is always a limited quantity of a particular designs. So that if you miss out on purchasing a piece, you will probably never see it again.
  • Made of cheap and low quality materials like polyester and nylon. These clothes usually cannot be worn more than a few times.
  • These fast fashion brands are usually not concerned about sustainability or green-wash their products for consumer appeal.


Is Cotton On Fast Fashion?

Cotton On is a large clothing retail chain that has over 1400 stores spread across 18 countries. They are owned by Cotton On group that is the largest global retailer in Australia. Cotton On is a popular international brand that aims to sell Aussie clothing trends to the world.

It was founded by Nigel Austin in 1988 from the boot of his Ford Bronco car by selling denim jackets. It soon grew into an international brand.

Cotton On products range from swimwear, active wear, sleepwear and lingerie to shoes and accessories. They operate in-store as well as online. Their products like all fast fashion stores are super affordable.

So id Cotton On fast fashion? Yes! The brand has many key factors common with fast fashion brands. They are cheap, mass-produced, made of synthetic materials, and have questionable ethics and sustainability practices.


Is Cotton On Sustainable?

Cotton On removed all single-use plastics from their stores in the year 2019. But that does not make them entirely sustainable. They still do use plastic in their packaging and synthetic materials for manufacturing their clothes.

There have been accusations that Cotton On green washes their products in order to appeal to their consumers.

Cotton On is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) that adopts more sustainable cotton cultivation methods. Most of their sustainability goals are still under construction.


Is Cotton On Ethical?

Cotton On was rate ‘B’ in the 2021 Ethical Fashion Report issued by Baptist Aid Austrailia. They scored only 22% in the fashion transparency index. This does not make their brand entirely ethical.

However, the brand does acknowledge Aboriginal Torris Strait Islander people as the original custodians of the land they work and live in.

An admirable policy of the Cotton On group is that they have zero tolerance towards child labor and are quite fair in their labor laws. The company is yet to be more transparent with all their dealings.

With regard to animal welfare, Cotton On does not test on animals. They have also banned the use of Angora and all Angora products have been taken off the shelves.


Is Cotton On Fast Fashion? Summary

Yes, Cotton On is a fast fashion brand that caters to the latest designs and trends. They are mass produced and available for very low prices. They have little concern for the environment and are not very transparent with their ethical practices.


Also read: Is Emmiol fast fashion?

*All pics are courtesy of



Write A Comment