Yes, Next is a fast fashion brand.
Next is a British fashion and homewares retailer. It was founded in 1864, originally as a tailors, and today it is owned by shareholders on the London Stock Exchange. In 2021 it made £3.2 billion in revenue, making it the largest clothing retailer by sales in the United Kingdom. It has over 44,000 employees across its 700 stores, 500 of which are located in the UK, with an additional 200 in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Next is a fast fashion brand due to the huge scale and high speed at which it sells clothes.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 40/100
Ethical Consumer Score: 3.5/15
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 2/5
Additional Reasons Why Next Is A Fast Fashion Brand
- While Next received a middling score (40) for transparency in the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index, it only discloses its Tier 1 suppliers, i.e. those that serve it directly, rather than its entire supply chain.
- According to Good On You, Next uses “few eco friendly materials” and also continues to use exotic animal hair alongside wool and leather.
- Next has a significant gender pay gap in the UK, where women earn just 72p for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay.
- The company’s website uses two types of dark patterns, i.e. digital tactics that apply pressure to shop.
- In late 2022, Next was found to be sourcing polyester from a manufacturer using Russian oil, despite having suspended sales to the country in protest of the illegal war on Ukraine.
- In 2020 it stopped paying its garment factories all together when faced with covid-19. After external pressure, the group promised to pay their garment factories due to covid-19, but it should have done that anyway if its “sustainable business model” really was just that. Which it isn’t.
- When it comes to social sustainability, Next has standard protections in place – a Code of Practice, and supplier lists on its site (although this covers over 1000 different factories, predominantly in China and Turkey). On its corporate site, Next estimates 98% of all of its products come from compliant factories. My question is – if you can identify that 2% discrepancy, why not eliminate it altogether?
- In 2014, Living Wage Foundation campaigned for Next to pay its 40,000+ staff the living wage (at the time, £7.65/hour, rather than the £6.70/hour Next paid) but the chain declined, despite making £695 million in profit that year.
Sustainable Alternatives To Next
If you’re looking to stop shopping at Next, I recommend checking out the affordable and mid-range brands listed in my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands, as well as 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. The Transparency Rating is from Fashion Transparency Index 2021. All information is assumed correct at date of publication.