In this age of social media and the ever-evolving landscape of the fashion industry, new trends and innovative concepts are seen frequently. Social media makes it all too easy to find yourself being influenced by celebrities and models, thus growing consumers' appetite for affordable and trendy apparel. This has led several fashion brands to focus on designing on-trend and equally affordable clothing, the true definition of a fast fashion market.
In this article, we focus on Guess, a fashion brand known for producing trendy clothing for men, women, and children. But is Guess fast fashion? Many consumers may consider Guess a luxury brand because of its high price point. However, it's not only price that describes fast fashion. So while Guess might be expensive compared to other fast fashion brands like Brandy Melville, Adika, and Fashion Nova, it is still classified as a fast fashion but why? Read on to unravel the factors making it fit the fashion profile.
What is Guess?
Guess is an American retail clothing brand based in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1981 by four brothers, Maurice Marciano, Georges Marciano, Paul Marciano, and Armand Marciano, who redefined denim. This international fashion retailer creates fast fashion for women, men, and children.
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Guess produces clothing, accessories, swimwear, shoes, and perfumes. It also offers a collection of activewear, loungewear, underwear, outerwear, and bags. The company operates over 1,200 stores and has 14,700 employees in its factories, stores, brands, logistics, and subsidiaries spread across 100 countries worldwide.
This fashion company is quite popular and has become consumers' favorite, including many celebrities and well-known figures. Moreover, unlike some fast fashion companies, Guess is integrating sustainable fashion practices within its business with integrity, environmental protection, and people empowerment. It also promotes diversity and inclusion, creating growth opportunities for its suppliers and associates.
Is Guess Fast Fashion?
Yes, Guess is a fast fashion brand. The company operates internationally and is significant in the fast fashion business model. Guess is known for its trendy clothing for women, men, and children. It also offers several accessories, including bags, shoes, watches, jewelry, scarves, and hats.
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Like traditional fast fashion brands, Guess has received criticism over its employment and environmental practices. However, the brand has made notable efforts to become more sustainable, including using eco-friendly materials and improving transparency. Nevertheless, Guess is still classified as a fast fashion brand.
However, Guess products are quite expensive compared to other fast fashion brands; hence most people may think of it as a luxury brand rather than a fast fashion. But Guess is affordable and budget-friendly compared to high-end, luxurious brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, Prada, or Balenciaga.
Where are Guess Products Manufactured?
Guess has high-quality clothing and accessories manufactured in various countries. In the beginning, Guess mainly manufactured its products in the United States. But the company has since expanded its production to various countries worldwide, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, India, and Bangladesh. And almost all of the accessories sold at Guess are made in China.
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Even though Guess manufactures its apparel in countries like Bangladesh and China, its clothes and accessories are made by skilled employees and are of good quality. The company might not be making its products in countries like France and Italy like other high-end brands, but its products' quality is good for the price it's charging.
So, while Guess is a fast fashion brand, the quality of its products might not be excellent, but it's still not as bad as the poor-quality clothing you get from other fast fashion retailers with incredibly low-price products.
Guess Sustainability Practices
Guess is a reputable brand in the fashion industry, and it is taking wide-ranging measures to be more sustainable and ethical. Guess has ambitious commitments and plans, listed on its website, to make bold changes to sustainability. However, while Guess wants to reimage fashion by being more sustainable and wasting less, most of its business remains detrimental to the environment, making it one of the least sustainable fashion brands in the industry.
Guess uses only a small proportion of sustainable materials like organic cotton, regenerated nylon, and recycled materials such as recycled cotton and polyester. It also uses semi-synthetic fibers like lyocell, Tencel, modal, viscose, and acetate. Tencel is an eco-friendly fiber made of wood pulp sourced from certified sustainable forests, but Guess uses only a tiny proportion of this environmentally friendly and sustainable material.
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Additionally, most fabrics Guess uses are natural without relevant certifications, like linen or regular cotton, or synthetic petroleum-based fibers like nylon, polyester, and acrylic.
Guess fashion brand partners with Social Enterprise Homeboy Industries for its in-store recycling project. It sends unwanted items to Homeboy recycling to be upcycled, recycled, and refurbished. Additionally, Guess offers a 15% discount to customers who bring five or more unwanted clothing items to its stores to be upcycled by Homeboy Recycling.
This Guess and Homeboy Recycling partnership also helps train and support the marginalized population, creating jobs and opportunities to help them change the arc of their lives while reducing textile waste.
Moreover, Guess publishes a list of all its processing facilities and manufacturers on its corporate website. It also states that it believes in equality, justice, and community, prioritizing diversity, inclusion, and deeper partnerships with suppliers. However, Fashion Transparency Index 2023 gave Guess a score of only 31- 40% based on how much the company discloses about its social and environmental practices, policies, and impacts. Still, this is a significant improvement from 12% in 2021.
Guess Sustainability Goals
The fashion industry is polluting the environment most by Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions ruin the ecosystem and are highly destructive to our planet. While most fashion brands choose to neglect this situation, Guess is praise-worthy for at least trying. The company is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in its supply chain (Scope 3) and 50% in Scope 1 and 2 by 2030.
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Another concerning thing is lower-impact materials. For instance, plastic waste should be reduced because it harms the environment. Guess claims it's transitioning to use only recyclable packaging made of 100% recycled materials. It aims to use 100% recyclable or bio-based polyester in its mainline by 2024 and 2029 in all brands.
Guess is dedicated to reducing its environmental impact across its entire supply chain. It introduces new product designs and ideas that are more sustainable. For instance, over 20% of its denim is part of its eco collection.
Guess has established a training program for 100% factory workers in key regions at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. The training programs are intended to produce more sustainable solutions. They cover everything from zero waste to lifecycle assessment, innovative materials, circular fashion, and responsible denim production.
Guess states that, while it's trying to be at par with the more sustainable brands, it wouldn't be possible to do it alone. Therefore, it partners with other organizations to fulfil its promise of being more sustainable and ethical. These organizations include GRI Community, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Better Cotton Initiative, Global Fashion Agenda, The Jeans Redesign, CDP, Science Based Targets Initiative, UNFCCC Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, Good360, Inno Community Development Organization, Homeboy Industries, Textile Exchange, and The World Stage.
How Ethical is Guess?
Guess manufactures its clothes in Turkey and other East Asian countries where labor laws and human rights violations still happen. Nonetheless, this American clothing retailer shows labor certification standards ensuring the health, safety, good working conditions, and other human rights of employees in its supply chain.
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Additionally, Guess has a code of conduct applying to all its subcontractors and suppliers based on the set regulations by the International Labor Organization (ILO). It also works with international NGOs to improve its factories' working conditions.
Moreover, Guess prioritizes gender parity and increases ethnic diversity in executive leadership positions. It aims to increase transparency and maintain the highest standards. The brand also assesses compliance with its Code of Conduct by third-party audits.
Guess does not use any exotic animal hair, skin, fur, or angora. However, it uses wool, leather, down feathers, and silk to manufacture many clothing items. These animal-derived materials are unethical and cruel. They also produce high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and waste, harming the environment.
The Bottom Line
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Is Guess fast fashion? While the company produces good quality clothing and accessories at a higher price point than other fast fashion companies, it is still classified under fast fashion brands. It makes trendy men, women, and kids' clothing, but its sustainability is still the primary concern.
However, Guess has put environmental and social policies and practices in place and has increased its transparency. Still, it has much to do to be at par with sustainable fashion brands. Choose the more sustainable clothing brand alternatives for the sake of human rights and the planet.
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