Is H&M fast fashion?

Is H&M considered to be fast fashion and is it ethical?

H&M topped the Fashion Transparency Index above all other high street brands in 2020, leading many to believe it was improving when it comes to sustainability – but is it still fast fashion?

While the Swedish brand, which operates in 74 countries and has over 5,000 stores globally, was one of the first to make sustainability a priority, it’s also been accused of greenwashing and we’ll never forget Ru Paul’s infamous line on Drag Race (‘I don’t want to see any f***ing H&M’!), which was later turned into countless memes about the brand.

READ MORE: Is H&M ethical and sustainable?

Is H&M fast fashion?

Despite attempting to tackle sustainability above all other high street retailers, H&M is still fast fashion.

It relies on a quick turnaround of designs, from the moment a garment is seen on a catwalk or celebrity, to when a garment is released for sale on the H&M website.

Fast fashion can never be sustainable as it encourages consumers to buy an item to wear just a few times and then dispose of it. This may be donating to charity or literally throwing it in the bin, but the majority of the time it ends up in landfill.

Read more about fast fashion here, or if you’re thinking of shopping more sustainably, read more about sustainable fashion here.

READ MORE: I’m giving up fast fashion in 2021 – here’s how it’s going

What brands are considered fast fashion?

Other brands that are considered to be fast fashion include BoohooPretty Little ThingPrimarkZara, Nasty Gal and ASOS among many, many more.

Read our exhaustive list of fast fashion brands here.

Is H&M greenwashing?

H&M have been widely accused of greenwashing, particularly when it comes to its Conscious Collection.

While it does offer a collection of sustainably-produced garments, the majority of its clothes are fast fashion and cannot be considered sustainable.

READ MORE: 3 mid and plus-size women on how they shop sustainably

Last year, the Norwegian Consumer Authority called H&M out for greenwashing through the collection, making the subject of sustainability increasingly confusing for consumers.

Does H&M use child labour?

H&M were accused of using child labour in 2016.

According to The Guardian, workers as young as 14 were making clothes for more than 12 hours a day at two factories in Myanmar, both of which worked with H&M.

While the law permits children of that age to work in Myanmar, this isn’t the case for the length of time they were said to be working.

READ MORE: Is Gucci ethical and sustainable?

Wear Next Opinion

Wear Next believes it’s important to highlight the negative and unjust practises taking place in the fashion industry. We believe ethics and sustainability are an important talking point to bring about change and we encourage you to contact fashion brands to demand this.

However we understand that sustainable fashion isn’t accessible for every body due to various factors, such as budget and the ability to find confidence-boosting clothes that fit. We will continue to offer you fashion inspiration and guidance to suit every body and budget, while also highlighting the unjust systems at play in the fashion industry.

READ MORE: 6 books about fast fashion everyone should read

READ MORE: The best vintage to snap up stylish bargains

For fashion advice and general chit-chat, join our Facebook group What To Wear Next.