As many clothing brands now operate largely, or even entirely, online we have used the term ‘high-street’ as a catch-all term to signify brands that are bigger, more mainstream, or clearly less ethical than those found in our guide to Ethical Clothing.
The three brands that scored at the top of our score table (Patagonia, Reformation, Nobody’s Child) are notably more ethical than most of the others in this guide, but we felt they were better suited to this guide because they had a wider and more mainstream reach.
A changing landscape
The Covid-19 pandemic brought about some significant changes to the clothing sector, with two major clothing companies, Debenhams and Arcadia Group, unable to survive the economic hit brought about by UK lockdowns. Debenhams and its associated brands were hoovered up by Boohoo in January 2021, while the Arcadia Group was carved up and its numerous brands split between Boohoo Group and ASOS: the former acquiring Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton; the latter buying up Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, and HIIT.
ASOS and Boohoo have been some of the winners throughout the pandemic as online shopping has increased, though recent years have also seen the rise of a number of other online fast-fashion brands, such as: I Saw It First, In the Style, Missguided, Quiz, and Shein.
We included these brands in our guide because, even though some aren’t nearly as well-established as other mainstream brands, they are growing fast, aiming their products almost exclusively at younger consumers, and have been subject to less scrutiny than the likes of Primark and H&M.
There are a vast array of brands in this sector, so it wouldn’t be possible to cover all of them, but we have made sure to cover the biggest players as well as some of the smaller, but rapidly growing online fast-fashion brands.