Yes, Next is a fast fashion brand.
Next is a fashion and homewares retailer, originally founded by white British tailor Joseph Hepworth in 1864. It is now a Private Limited Company owned by shareholders.
The business brings in around £4 billion in revenue each year, across its estimated 500 stores. They create far more than four collections of clothes per year, making them a fast fashion retailer.
Next up, let’s look at Next’s sustainability. 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?
They also only disclose their Tier 1 factory list, with over 1000 supplier factories listed in a plain spreadsheet with no analysis. Why are they hiding the results of their auditing against their Code of Practice?
In the UK, Next also tends to do the bare minimum for its staff. 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.
And in 2020, Next stopped paying its garment factories altogether, using covid-19 as an excuse. After external pressure, Next promised to pay their garment factories due to covid-19. But it should have done that anyway.
I feel like these practices show that Next doesn’t really care for its people, so how can we trust them to care for the planet either? Avoid.
Transparency Rating: 36/100
Sustainability Rating: 2/5
This snippet 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, and Wikipedia. The Transparency Rating is from Fashion Transparency Index 2020. The Sustainability Rating is from Good On You.