Yes, Urban Outfitters is a fast fashion brand.
Urban Outfitters is the flagship brand of URBN, a group of fashion brands that also includes: Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, fashion rental company Nuuly, outdoor lifestyle brand Terrain, and restaurant concept brand Menus & Venues.
It was founded by white American businesspeople Richard Hayne (worth $1.4 billion), his ex-wife Judy Wicks, and Scott Belair (worth $70 million). Today the company is owned by shareholders and it brings in $3.9 billion in revenue each year.
Urban Outfitters creates and sells multiple collections of clothing per year, making them a fast fashion brand. On top of this, the brand refuses to share any information on its supply chain. Despite having one of the glossiest corporate websites I’ve ever seen, URBN provides no information on where they source their clothes from.
Instead, they focus on micro-campaigns around local communities and charities. This is against the backdrop lots of anti-racist messaging: ‘We support and stand with the Black community, and we recognize that we all must do more than we’ve done to date.’
Meanwhile, they have stopped paying their garment factories, using covid-19 as their excuse, damaging the employment, health and wellbeing of lots of people of colour.
In 2020, they were also accused of racial profiling shoppers in Anthropologie stores.
Actions speak louder than words, in this case. Avoid.
Transparency Rating: 20-21/100
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.