Is ASOS Fast-Fashion, Ethical & a Sustainable Brand?

by jacky chou
Updated on

Everything you need to look stylish is available on ASOS, from on-trend t-shirts to beach-ready swimwear. People love this brand because it offers various trendy clothing options. Though ASOS is a good brand, it has been at the center of the debate. One crucial point of contention is ASOS’s status as a fast fashion brand. Is ASOS fast fashion?

This article will discuss “fast fashion” and how ASOS relates to it.

What Is ASOS Fashion?

ASOS, one of the largest online fashion retailers and beauty product sellers in the United Kingdom, was established in 2000. The company began to sell products seen in movies and television shows, thus the name “ASOS,” which stands for “As Seen On Screen.”

ASOS Fashion

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In 2010, the firm launched ASOS Marketplace, allowing small independent fashion boutiques and vintage dealers to sell their products on the ASOS platform. Today, the company sells a wide range of clothing, footwear, accessories, beauty products, and activewear for men and women.

While ASOS has its headquarters in London, it serves customers worldwide through its online platform. The brand has made a name by adding new products daily to its website. Besides, it offers its customers various trendy clothing options at reasonable prices.

Is ASOS Fast Fashion?

Is ASOS Fast Fashion?

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“Fast fashion” usually refers to a business model whereby companies mass-produce and sell inexpensive apparel designed to appeal to customers by keeping up with the most recent fashion trends. These brands design and roll out new clothing collections on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

ASOS is often referred to as a “fast fashion” brand because of its fast production of clothing at low prices, which helps it keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends. As mentioned earlier, they have a wide variety of apparel, footwear, and accessories and often introduce new collections. Also, ASOS offers various sizes and styles to cater to a diverse range of customers’ needs.

Common Fast Fashion, Ethical, and Sustainable Brands at ASOS



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The ASOS DESIGN label is the company’s in-house apparel line. It has clothing, footwear, and accessories options for both men and women. From everyday essentials and loungewear to special-occasion dresses and trend-setting accessories, the label has you covered. In addition to its standard sizing options, ASOS DESIGN provides a curve range, which includes sizes 16–30 as well as tall and petite ranges.

2. ASOS 4505

ASOS 4505

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ASOS 4505 is the brand’s high-performance sportswear line for men and women. The brand usually provides gym clothing, running shoes, and yoga apparel, allowing you to move freely and comfortably while working out. In addition to its regular collection, ASOS 4505 offers a sustainable range referred to as Eco Edit, which uses eco-friendly materials like recycled polyester.



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ASOS EDITION is the brand’s high-end eveningwear line, including elegant dresses and accessories for special events such as weddings, proms, and parties. The fashion brand is designed for customers looking for high-quality, eye-catching apparel that makes a bold statement.


COLLUSION is ASOS’s gender-neutral clothing line providing trend-led streetwear for young adults. The brand has diverse styles and sizes, and the apparel is designed to be easy to wear and comfortable.


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COLLUSION has sustainable clothing, Made In Africa, produced in partnership with a Kenyan factory that offers its employees safe working conditions and fair wages.

5. Reclaimed Vintage

Reclaimed Vintage

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Reclaimed Vintage is ASOS’s vintage-inspired clothing line that provides a variety of apparel and accessories with a vintage aesthetic. The brand usually uses vintage fabrics and materials to produce fresh designs that reflect the design and spirit of past eras. The clothing collection includes everything, from 1970s flares to 1990s-inspired slip dresses.

6. Topshop and Topman

Topshop and Topman

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In 2021, ASOS acquired two of the most popular British high-street fashion labels, Topshop and Topman. These two brands offer men’s and women’s clothing, footwear, and accessories. Besides, Topman is popular for its edgy, fashion-forward menswear, while Topshop is popular for trendy and stylish clothing. ASOS usually sells its products on its site.

7. Miss Selfridge

Miss Selfridge

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As of 2021, ASOS also acquired the well-known British fashion label Miss Selfridge, which offers clothes, shoes, and accessories for women. Miss Selfridge usually sells clothes for women of all shapes and sizes that are both stylish and fun.

Is ASOS Ethical?

ASOS, like most fashion brands, has faced criticism over its ethical practices in the past. However, the brand has taken steps to improve its ethical standards in recent years.

1. Labor Ethics

ASOS has started on the right foot by compiling a list of its many suppliers. Transparency is crucial for being ethical. Though their website boasts an interactive supply chain map, you’re sent nowhere when you click the link; their commitment to transparency ends there.

On the other hand, ASOS is committed to ensuring worker health and safety, living wages, and other labor rights by adhering to a strict code of conduct that prohibits child or forced labor.

Although they mention factory audits, they don’t usually provide details regarding how often they occur or how successful their suppliers were. Hence, it is unclear how ASOS treats its employees and whether it pays them a living wage.

2. Inclusivity

ASOS’s plus-size section has almost 3,000 items in sizes US 22–26 for women and 2XL–4XL for men. It’s good that ASOS is trying to serve a broader range of customers by offering extra sizes, especially for menswear, which is harder to find in plus sizes.

The brand has a special section for modest clothing, which makes it easy to find options that cover more. Besides, ASOS has programs and goals in place for diversity and inclusion. One goal is to have 50% women and over 15% minority representation on the combined leadership team by 2023 and at every leadership level by 2030.

Additionally, ASOS has a program that helps more than 200 women of color in mid-level roles. Unlike many other clothing brands, this one shares its current diversity statistics. The numbers show positive growth.

3. Animal Welfare

ASOS bans exotic animal skin, fur, hair, and down products but still allows wool, leather, and animal hair. They state that all animal byproducts must be obtained from animals raised under the Five Freedoms.

Yet it’s hard to tell whether their policy is enforced since they don’t explain how it’s audited. Nonetheless, the leather industry is rather lucrative, and many animal products, including leather, are co-products rather than byproducts of the meat sector.

4. Social Responsibility

The social responsibility of ASOS spans a wide range of initiatives. One of the brand’s primary objectives is to foster and participate in business practices that are fair to all parties and that actively benefit the local community.

ASOS partners with local organizations to improve facets of society, including mental health and education, by providing resources to those in need. Also, it has launched a new initiative to give help and mentorship to aspiring fashion designers from underrepresented communities.

5. Environmental Measures

The company says that 91% of emissions come from transporting and delivering products, so they are looking into more environmentally friendly transport and delivery methods. For instance, they are building new local fulfillment centers to reduce delivery distances and use electric vehicles in London’s low-emission zone.

Furthermore, ASOS has sustainability goals related to materials and reuse, but they still need to implement meaningful measures.

Some of the plans include:

  • Net zero carbon emissions at all by 2030.
  • By 2030, all their products will be made from recycled or more sustainable materials.
  • Plan for circularity by 2030.
  • By 2025, all of their cotton will be grown responsibly.
  • By 2025, all packaging will be made from sustainable or recycled materials.

These are great goals, but ASOS’s items still use high-impact materials to produce their products. Though they discuss using recycled materials and traceable viscose on their sustainability website, they need to detail how much fabric has been replaced.

6. Warehouse Workers’ Exploitation

Throughout 2016, allegations surfaced that ASOS exploited temporary warehouse employees in the UK. Employees in Barnsley claimed that ASOS used legal loopholes to pay new workers far less than the minimum wage for longer than was permitted by law. ASOS was able to save thousands of pounds as a result.

BuzzFeed, other media sites, and the trade union GMB claimed in 2016 that ASOS warehouse employees in Barnsley were subjected to abusive working conditions. This included setting unrealistic targets, not allowing for enough breaks, being too vigilant, making workers fearful of taking days off and failing to compensate for overtime. However, ASSOS refuted these accusations.

Is ASOS Sustainable?

Staying green will be tricky for a brand like ASOS, which sells different products. With over 21,000 items of clothing in stock, it’s hard to see how ASOS can remain sustainable. Still, ASOS is part of the fast fashion industry, which has a crippling impact on the environment. However, the company has made some progress in that direction.

In its sustainable practices, the company’s “Fashion with Integrity” 2030 Strategy puts people and the environment first. This plan shows how ASOS has participated in different programs, such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textiles 2030, and the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap.

Furthermore, ASOS is taking some reasonable steps to ensure its sustainability, though it should do more.

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jacky chou


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