Yes, Amazon is a fast fashion brand.
Amazon is a global e-commerce website that sells its own products alongside third-party brands and retailers. Amazon Fashion is a subsection of the Amazon site, promoting own-brand Amazon Essentials alongside third-party brands. Amazon was founded by white American businessman Jeff Bezos (worth $145 billion) and is owned by shareholders. The company made $469 billion in revenue in 2021.
Amazon is a fast fashion brand due to the speed, scale, and sheer number of the clothes it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 27/100
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 2/5
Remake Fashion Accountability Report Rating: 2/150
Additional Reasons Why Amazon Is A Fast Fashion Brand
Since its inception, Amazon has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not care for its staff, garment workers, or impact on the planet:
- In Remake’s Fashion Accountability Report, Amazon has shared its suppliers but does not distinguish between fashion producers and other manufacturers. It also ‘faces serious allegations of monopolizing markets, union busting and committing human rights abuses in its warehouses and supply chain.’
- Amazon became America’s #1 fashion retailer in 2021, with an estimated 12% market share for all apparel sold in the US, and 35% share of all fashion sold online.
- In the same year, Amazon refused to sign the next iteration of the Bangladesh Accord, putting its garment workers at risk.
- It also was accused of union-busting in 2021, continuing its poor working conditions and denial of union rights.
- Despite launching a ‘Climate Pledge Friendly’ badge in 2020, Ethical Consumer calls this greenwashing and notes that this only applies to products with efficient packaging, not the product itself.
- In the same year, Jeff Bezos’ announced philanthropic efforts to support the planet through a $10 billion commitment via the Earth Fund, yet Amazon itself emits 44.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year and this commitment wouldn’t even cover the cost of the UK transitioning away from fossil fuels.
- Greenpeace estimates that in just one week in one UK warehouse Amazon sends around 130,000 products to be destroyed. Amazon has 21 warehouses in the UK, meaning that figure could be up to 2,730,000 products every week. (Sign their petition to end this waste)
- In 2020, Amazon stopped paying their garment factories using the excuse of covid-19 to flout existing contracts. After external pressure they agreed to Pay Up, it did not go on to agree to keeping its own-label garment workers safe or sign the Transparency Pledge.
- In the same year, Amazon failed to sign the new International Accord for garment workers, putting their garment workers lives at risk.
- In 2019, Amazon became the world’s biggest offender for tax avoidance, reducing its paid tax by £75 billion globally.
- In 2019, Amazon was found to fund climate denial groups.
- Also in 2019, 1,800 Amazon employees participated in a walkout as part of the Global Climate Strike, protesting Amazon’s environmental impact and inaction to climate change.
- Amazon has been accused of copying successful brands and products that are listed on their site, making these available for less than the original and killing off small brands who use Amazon for its wide customer reach. It has been found to do this in India, but has been accused in other regions too.
Sustainable Alternatives To Amazon
If you’re looking to stop shopping at Amazon, I recommend following Ethical Consumer’s guide on shopping without Amazon, as well as my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands and 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: September 2022.