Is Aerie Fast Fashion? A Deep Look Into the Brand

by jacky chou
Updated on

When you hear the term “fast fashion,” what brands come to mind? Zara, H&M, Forever 21? But what about Aerie? The clothing brand, known for its body-positive advertising and beautiful lingerie, sleepwear, and activewear, has made a name for itself as a more sustainable alternative to traditional fast fashion brands like Aritzia. However, as consumers become more aware of the impact of their shopping choices, the question comes up: is Aerie fast fashion?

Aerie is not a traditional fast fashion brand. While it is generally more affordable than high-end brands like All Saints, it makes efforts to achieve sustainability and produces seasonal apparel that does not always follow trends. Here’s more about the brand.

Aerie At a Glance


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Aerie was founded in 2006 as a sub-brand of American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), a famous American clothing retailer. The brand focuses on selling young women lingerie and loungewear, producing comfortable and flattering styles that promote body positivity.

Aerie differs from traditional lingerie brands that use unrealistic beauty standards in advertising. The brand’s marketing campaigns feature models of diverse body types, ethnicities, and ages and use unretouched photos.

Is Aerie Fast Fashion?

Is Aerie A Fast Fashion Brand?

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Fast fashion describes a business model that involves quickly producing and selling trendy clothing at low prices. Fast fashion brands are known for their high turnover of new styles and collections, with new designs introduced weekly or daily. The aim is to capture and make the latest fashion trends available to consumers cheaply. Fast fashion relies on low-cost labor, cheap and often low-quality materials, and rapid production and distribution systems.

As mentioned above, Aerie is not a fast fashion brand. Firstly, it is a sub-brand of American Eagle Outfitters, a famous brand known for using high-quality materials like organic cotton and sustainable manufacturing processes.

Then, unlike popular fast fashion brands, Aerie emphasizes sustainability and responsible production practices more than manufacturing clothes at a high volume and with a rapid turnaround time. In addition, the brand follows a seasonal release schedule for its collections, with new items typically introduced for each season.

Is Aerie a Sustainable Brand?

Is Aerie a Sustainable Brand?

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Aerie has made several commitments to sustainability and responsible production practices. However, it faces challenges in achieving full sustainability throughout its supply chain.

Aerie’s sustainability initiatives include using recycled materials in its clothing, such as recycled polyester and nylon. The brand joined the First Mile Initiative, which collects and repurposes plastic bottles into yarns. Aerie uses these yarns to make leggings.

The brand has also implemented water-saving techniques in production and has committed to reducing waste and energy use in its stores. Also, they use mills run by wind power for their printing processes, including printing signage stamps and shopping bags. Overall, while Aeries is not fully carbon neutral, the brand has made serious strides towards sustainability, even aiming to use 100% sustainable cotton in all its products by the end of 2023.

However, the brand has faced criticism for not disclosing enough information about its supply chain practices, including the factories that produce its clothing. Aerie has also been accused of using unsustainable materials, including conventional cotton, in its products.

Is Aerie Ethical?

Is Aerie Ethical?

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An ethical clothing brand prioritizes sustainability, fair labor practices, and social responsibility throughout its supply chain. Unfortunately, while Aerie keeps making strides to be ethical, it still falls short in some areas. Here’s how the American Eagle sub-brand fares.

Aerie has taken steps to ensure that its production practices are ethical, including working to eliminate forced and child labor from its supply chain and ensuring that its factories meet high social and environmental standards.

The brand’s commitment to ethical production practices shows in its decision to join the Better Cotton Initiative, which aims to improve cotton farming practices and promote sustainable production methods. In addition, Aerie has committed to sourcing only responsible down and seeks to eliminate the use of animal fur and angora in its products.

Aerie has also made strides in promoting body positivity and inclusivity in its marketing campaigns. In 2014, the brand unveiled Aerie Real, an advertising campaign that stopped using supermodels. Instead, Aerie started using models of all sizes in unretouched photos.

Unfortunately, according to Good On You, the brand still performs dismally in ethical practices. The website rates ethical and sustainable brands. The results, which span using sustainable raw materials to good labor practices and zero animal cruelty, found Aerie not good enough.

Where Is Aerie Operational?

Where Is Aerie Operational?

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Aerie has a good presence in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, and Mexico. In addition, the brand ships internationally to over 80 countries. In concert with the parent American Eagle brand, the American fashion retailer has more than 260 international locations with licensed suppliers.

What Materials Does Aerie Use?

What Materials Does Aerie Use?

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Aerie uses various materials in its clothing, including natural and synthetic fibers. In its commitment to becoming a sustainable fashion brand, Aerie also uses sustainable materials in its products, such as recycled polyester and organic cotton.

The materials include:

  • Cotton: Aerie uses cotton in many products, including bras, underwear, and loungewear. The brand has committed to using 100% sustainable and organic cotton in its products by the end of 2023.
  • Polyester: Aerie uses polyester in many activewear products, such as leggings and sports bras. The brand uses recycled polyester in its products to reduce its impact on the environment.
  • Modal: The fashion retailer uses modal in some of its products, such as pajamas and loungewear. Modal is a rayon made from beech tree pulp known for its softness and breathability.
  • Nylon: The brand uses nylon in some of its products, such as bras and underwear. Nylon is a synthetic material suitable for its durability and stretchiness.
  • Spandex: Aerie uses spandex in many of its products, such as leggings and sports bras. Spandex is a synthetic material ideal for stretchiness and the ability to retain its shape.

Where Are Aerie Products Made?

Where Are Aerie Products Made?

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Aerie products, like American Eagle products, are made in various countries worldwide, including the United States, China, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. These factories sum up to around 300 in over 20 countries.

While American Eagle provides the number of factories where AEO and Aerie garments are made, they do not reveal the locations or go into deep detail about their sustainable and ethical manufacturing processes.

What Are the Advantages of Buying from Aerie?

What Are the Advantages of Buying From Aerie?

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Aerie is not a fast fashion brand; you can get unique garments to stand out. Besides that, here are more advantages of buying from the brand:

a) Wide Range of products

Aerie offers a wide range of products, including bras, underwear, loungewear, activewear, swimwear, and accessories, making it a one-stop shop for many customers.

b) Affordable Prices

Aerie offers affordable prices on its products, making them accessible to a wide range of customers. The brand also frequently runs promotions and discounts.

c) Inclusivity

Aerie has committed to inclusivity and offers a range of sizes and styles to fit different body types. The brand also uses diverse models in its advertising campaigns, making it easy for shoppers to buy clothing that suits them.

d) Sustainability

The brand follows sustainable production practices, including using eco-friendly materials. By buying from Aerie, you will support a brand working towards more responsible and sustainable fashion practices.

e) Social Impact

The brand strongly focuses on social impact and has implemented programs to support causes such as mental health awareness, body positivity, and women’s empowerment.

What Are the Disadvantages of Buying from Aerie?

What Are the Disadvantages of Buying from Aerie?

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While there are benefits to buying from Aerie, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider, including:

a) Not a Fast Fashion Brand

Even though Aerie offers a wide range of products, the brand may offer less variety in styles and designs than some other fast fashion brands. This could limit customers who are looking for more unique or trend-driven items.

b) Quality Concerns

Some customers have raised concerns about the quality of Aerie’s products, particularly in terms of durability and longevity. While the brand offers affordable prices, some customers find the products do not hold up well over time.

c) Manufacturing Practices

While Aerie has committed to sustainable and ethical production practices, some customers may still be concerned about the brand’s manufacturing practices in certain countries.


So, is Aerie a fast fashion brand? After examining various aspects of the company, including its history, business model, manufacturing practices, and impact on the industry, the answer is no. While Aerie is not a perfect brand, it has made significant efforts to move away from the fast fashion model and towards more sustainable and ethical production practices.

The brand’s commitment to inclusivity and social impact sets it apart from traditional fast fashion brands, and its efforts to use more sustainable raw materials are commendable.

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jacky chou


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