Is Cider Fast Fashion, Ethical and Sustainable?

by jacky chou
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Move on from SHEIN, Cider is here. Creative minds at Cider understand that having access to fashion is important for everyone. From a cute neon sweater to a colorful beach swimsuit, you find everything at Cider that inspires you. Each piece is carefully and precisely curated according to references, aesthetics, and the vibe you have in mind. Plus these stylish apparels are surprisingly affordable.

However, a trendsetting and affordable fashion brand like this makes you wonder how sustainable it is or if it’s another fast fashion brand ready to litter our environment with statement pieces. So, is Cider fast fashion, and how sustainable is it?

Cider clothing is known to be ultra-fast fashion as it drops its new collections and designs more quickly than usual. It produces garments in large volumes at cheap production costs because its goal is to make stylish and trendy clothing accessible to everyone everywhere.

This fast fashion brand relies on a model that uses affordable factories and low-cost materials and doesn’t spend money on ensuring the materials or stakeholders in their supply chain are sustainable. It’s similar to brands like SHEIN in terms of sustainability, meaning there are no sustainability initiatives in place and almost zero transparency into how the clothing is made. Here’s a deep dive into the Cider fashion brand.

About the Cider Fashion Brand

Cider is a digitally-native (direct-to-consumer) D2C Hong Kong-based fashion brand producing a wide range of trendy, high-fashion, and Y2K aesthetic women’s clothing. Founded in 2020, the company was established with the idea of combining the internet with fashion to create affordable and stylish clothing for the youth. Its affordable collections are designed with Gen Z in mind and include everything from tops, dresses, bottoms, knitwear, swimwear, and accessories. So if you want something chic, fun, comfortable, and trendy, Cider takes it seriously.

Cider fashion brand

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Ranking 12th among its 4810 competitors, Cider is an online-only fashion brand with a diverse team working across 14 countries. Cider clothes are manufactured in partner factories located in China. Also, it doesn’t have physical stores; hence its products are shipped globally from its stores in China, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and the USA.

The brand drops hundreds of new styles weekly and calls itself a smart fashion brand with an innovative approach to using consumer data to produce garments that will definitely sell. It also claims to be a globally-minded, social-first fashion brand that prides itself on making outstanding apparel for everyone. Diverse street styles inspire these products, and they offer clothing sizes up to 4XL.

Like other fast fashion brands, Cider quickly reacts to new trends and can release new collections that match what your favorite influencers and celebrities wear within days. Plus, most of its items are priced below $20.

Is Cider Fast Fashion?

Cider is a fast fashion brand built on quickly producing large volumes of low-priced clothes that follow the latest trends. You can find clothing priced as cheap as below $5 in its wide range of collections. It is widely compared to SHEIN because of following the business model of producing small batches of different styles but dropping hundreds of designs weekly.

Cider apparels

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As an e-commerce-only brand, Cider has done everything to market its stylish clothing through its Shopcider and Ciderhaul hashtags. It targets young fashionistas globally and makes the most of social media marketing by working with fashion influencers to showcase its products.

Cider advertises itself as a “smart fashion” brand that produces clothes based on data collected from customers’ demands. But these claims are more of greenwashing tactics because it produces clothes in large volumes quickly, while in reality, made-to-order clothes would slow down production. The brand is also very discreet about its production units, so there’s every chance that it’s just like those brands that employ sweatshops, benefiting from cheap materials and low-cost products. All these signs are enough to make Cider an ultra-fast fashion brand.

Is Cider Clothing Ethical?

Cider publishes no information related to its factories and offers no transparency about its processes. The only known fact is that all of its clothes are made in its partner factories in China. However, the brand doesn’t provide details on these factories. Also, with China’s reputation for human rights violations, it’s in place to question what’s actually going on in Cider’s production units.

Cider clothing

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While this does not automatically prove that the factories are bad, fashion brands usually publicize any policies or certifications they have. So when there is no information on who’s making the clothes, factory conditions, fare trade standard observation, minimum wage payment, and more, it means there are no worker protection policies or sustainability certifications in place.

Furthermore, Cider doesn’t have a supplier’s Code of Conduct with multiple manufacturers, making it difficult to know how the factories operate. It engages with many designers worldwide, so again, there is no telling whether the designs are stolen or not.

Like any fast fashion brand, Cider is deeply rooted in the mass production of inexpensive garments so quickly. In order to meet up to that production scope, it’s typical for this fashion brand to have unsafe labor conditions, which is a key characteristic of a fast fashion brand. And the lack of information on its production processes and labor policies could only mean there are no policies put in place to protect workers.

a) Cider’s Animal Welfare Policies 

Cider’s animal welfare policies are rather complicated. It doesn’t have an animal welfare policy, but most of its products are not made of animal-derived textiles like fur, leather, angora, down, or exotic animal skin and hair. However, it uses wool, whose sources are unknown from the early production stage. The wool industry is well-known for its cruelty. Therefore, while Cider avoids other animal-based textiles, it should show some responsibility in ethically sourcing its wool. 

b) Inclusivity

The center focus of the Cider brand is the US market, but unfortunately, it is more inclined toward the ‘thin market.’ It includes US sizes 0-24 (XS-4XL). This is a wider range compared to most fashion retailers, but it is still not as inclusive as it seems. For instance, a 4XL should be around US 26-28, but they only range between US 0-24, meaning Cider’s sizing runs small, and their 4XL is more of a 3XL.

Cider fashion brand

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Additionally, their models aren’t reflecting their size range either because most of them are straight-sized models who are mostly white.

Another problem with this brand is that it deliberately uses Fat Tax, meaning every plus-size clothing item is more expensive compared to the rest of the products. 

Is Cider Sustainable?

Even though Cider takes pride in describing itself as a smart fashion brand, it has an ocean of clothing. Also, every collection launch happens at lightning speed, and yet there is limited information on its sustainability page.

Additionally, unlike the sustainable brands that use organic and recycled materials, the majority of Cider’s products are made from scores of harmful fabrics like nylon, virgin polyester, spandex, and viscose. The toxic chemicals used in producing such materials are a great concern in today’s fashion landscape, and Cider is adding to it. Also, it doesn’t mention its initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in its supply chain, and there is no evidence that it restricts its water consumption.

Is Cider clothing sustainable

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Furthermore, to prove its sustainability claims, the brand has a Recycled Cider Collection which consists of garments made of Global Recycled Standard (GRS) materials, like recycled polyester and cotton. However, this collection consists of less than 100 styles, which is relatively small compared to their thousands of scattered pieces. Additionally, the majority of the Recycled Collection has recycled polyester, which sheds microplastics. The recycled polyester fabric can’t be infinitely recycled.

Cider’s next sustainability claim is that they produce less waste than traditional fashion brands because they have a smart fashion model that only produces what customers want. However, this is vague because all fashion companies consider consumer data to inform future production. Again, this claim could slow down the fashion delivery time, but Cider delivers fashion more quickly.

Finally, Cider pledged to incorporate d₂w biodegradable bags by the end of 2022. However, all biodegradable bags eventually decompose, but plastic will take up room in landfills for months. These particular bags are from the company Oxo, which was also inspected by the EU Commission in 2018, and there was no evidence of their biodegradability over a particular time frame. Therefore, the biodegradable bags claims aren’t much of a sustainability measure.

Cider clothing

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Also, just because something biodegrades, it doesn’t mean it will break down in a reasonable time frame or break down into organic matter. Better alternatives are recycled packaging, less packaging, or compostable packaging, which breaks down into organic matter.

Generally, Cider has a long way to go in terms of sustainability, and it can actually work and do better on being sustainable rather than just making fake claims. It can also use more low-impact fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton, TENCEL, and recycled fabrics for all its clothing.

Therefore, with all these findings, it is clear that Cider is an unsustainable fashion brand characterized by an ocean of clothing which are not eco-friendly enough. This is a characteristic of a typical fast fashion brand.

Final Thoughts

Is Cider fast fashion

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The Cider clothing brand is definitely a fast fashion brand, and its sustainability measures are equally non-existent. You may want to avoid fast fashion brands such as Artizia, Adika, Boden, and Cider to create a cleaner and healthier planet, but finding clothing you like at an affordable price range and in your size can be hard. However, it is best to think of the period you’re going to wear that clothing and discourage the throw-away culture. You can shop from various sustainable alternatives to Cider, such as For Days and Afends.

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jacky chou


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