Yes, F&F at Tesco is a fast fashion brand.
Tesco is a supermarket chain principally based in the UK. It was founded by white English greengrocer Jack Cohen in 1919. Today it has over 4,600 stores across the UK, makes £57.8 billion annually, and is owned by shareholders.
Tesco has been selling clothing in its stores since the 1960s. In 2001, it started the Florence & Fred line, which is now called F&F. F&F Clothing is sold in Tesco stores in the UK and abroad, as well as online through third-party retailer Next.
Due to F&F being a Tesco sub-brand, information on its supply chains and sustainability has often been rolled in with wider Tesco initiatives. In 2021, Tesco launched a one page summary that skims over F&F’s sustainability principles, including its supply chain, materials, banning of chemicals, and more. Most notably, F&F declares itself as sustainable: ‘Great quality affordable fashion should be sustainable. At F&F, we source our products responsibly and ethically, helping to protect the workforce and communities in our supply chain and minimise our environmental impact.’
However, F&F is a fast fashion brand due to the speed it produces its clothes, the huge scale of clothing styles that it offers, and the sheer number of clothes that it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 49/100
Good On You Sustainability Rating: N/A
Remake Fashion Accountability Report Rating: N/A
Additional Reasons Why F&F at Tesco Is A Fast Fashion Brand
- When reviewing the F&F range online, I found 926 styles of clothing available to purchase. Considering F&F is mainly sold in stores rather than online, I assume the range is even larger than this, and this demonstrates the brand uses a fast fashion business model with a focus to profit from the overproduction of clothes.
- F&F at Tesco promotes the idea of shopping for fashion on a weekly basis, and often on impulse. This encourages unwanted purchases and more clothes going to landfill.
- In terms of its sustainability aims, F&F has a science-based target to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement which is great to see. It also now provides its Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier lists, which corresponds with its new higher score on the Fashion Transparency Index.
- Despite publishing a Responsible Sourcing Manual, it is unclear as to the minimum age of F&F’s garment workers. It seems to follow the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) guidelines, which permit children as young as 14 to work so long as it is the local minimum working age.
- F&F is likely paying its garment workers the minimum wage, which I would not consider to be an ethical practice. It does stipulate that it is working with ACT to increase wages in the countries it operates in, but makes no further promises than this.
- F&F declares that “100% of the fabrics we use to make our products with will be sourced responsibly and sustainably by 2030”. There is no legal definition for either of these terms, so I would take this with a pinch of salt.
- In late 2022, Tesco was found to be sourcing polyester from a manufacturer using Russian oil, despite having removed Russian products from its stores in protest of the illegal war on Ukraine.
- In 2022, Tesco reported a 6% gender pay gap within its stores, meaning that women earned 94p for every £1 that men earned.
- In 2020, Tesco stopped paying its garment factories for existing contracts, using covid-19 as an excuse. After external pressure, Tesco promised to pay their garment factories due to covid-19 – but it should have done that anyway.
- The only real sustainability accreditation that F&F at Tesco has is its membership to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP). SCAP is a voluntary scheme that UK Government insisted was good enough to clean up the fashion industry without the aid of any further regulations, despite recommendations saying otherwise in the as Fixing Fashion Report. (Hint, it’s not).
- Tesco is one of the biggest importers of meat and other goods that cause deforestation, despite saying it would stop doing this over 10 years ago. Find out more about Tesco’s deforestation and sign this petition.
- In a Changing Markets Foundation report, F&F at Tesco has been linked to high polluting factories that make viscose. These are based in Indonesia, China and India and are dumping highly toxic waste water into local waterways, destroying marine life and exposing workers and local populations to harmful chemicals.
- Despite stating in 2018 that F&F would no longer use phthalates (a toxic plastic-based substance), Ethical Consumer found that phthalates were still in their clothes after doing chemical tests in 2019.
Sustainable Alternatives To F&F at Tesco
If you’re looking to stop shopping at F&F at Tesco, I recommend checking out a few of the affordable brands in my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands, or consider shopping at some of my favourite second-hand fashion sites.
This post is part of a larger guide to UK fast fashion brands, which goes into more detail about the issues with fast fashion, why it will never be sustainable, and how to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
Data for this review is taken from the brand’s website, corporate website, Wikipedia, and sites linked throughout. All information is assumed correct at date of publication. Last updated: December 2022.
I purchased a pair of F.F leggings a week or so from a Tesco store, useful for sitting at home in when you have been isolating for months on end, so pleased was going to ask one of my young neighbours to go and buy another pair for me. Meanwhile looking on Amazon for other items ie mens PJs i saw that FF sold on line through Amazon. Ordered a pr of gents PJ’s which arrived today, and was somewhat surprised to fine Top marked small and trousers large OH DEAR!!!!!Amazon are fowrding my comments to FF re a replacement or return and guess what?THEY WANT ME TO SEND A PHOTO, tthe label is the sixe of about half a postage stamp so not an easy task, We have no film our camera at this time,where do we go from here? CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ITS WORST
All I can say is, that’s what happens with fast fashion! I hope things get resolved for you though.