Yes, J.Crew is a fast fashion brand.
J.Crew is the flagship brand of J.Crew Group, an American multi-brand fashion retailer that also owns J.Crew Factory and Madewell. In 1947, J.Crew was founded by Mitchell Cinader and Saul Charles, under the name of Popular Merchandise, Inc., selling low-priced women’s clothing marketed through in-home demonstrations. In 2016, it reported having over 450 stores in the US, and in 2019, it made $2.54 billion in revenue.
J.Crew is a fast fashion brand due to the speed of production and scale of clothes that it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: N/A
Ethical Consumer Score: 10.5/15
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 2/5
Additional Reasons Why J.Crew Is A Fast Fashion Brand
Despite the brand’s success on paper, in 2020 J.Crew filed for bankruptcy, closing all six of its UK stores, although it continues to sell clothes online.
J.Crew has no clear sustainability policy available on its corporate site, but it does have a shiny CSR minisite with big aims splashed across it, like “100 percent of our key fibers will be sustainably sourced [by 2025] — including 100 percent of our cotton.” …Which at best is vague, and at worst will never be fulfilled due to their bankruptcy.
When looking over their range, it also stumbles on its fibre promises, hiding the exact composition of its clothes, while still using polyamide, polyester/viscose/elastane, and others, yet not including them on their materials page. Greenwashing at it’s finest.
J.Crew also calls its clothes “timeless” and they supposedly “last a lifetime” despite this information being displayed under a banner showcasing a ‘limited time offer’ to buy more of their clothes.
In the same breath, they also acknowledge they “have a responsibility to the planet and to humanity to choose eco-friendly fabrics and to support our factory workers, without compromise.” Saying that, J.Crew is still happy to have its clothes made by garment workers as young as 15, as stated in its Code of Conduct, and does not share its supplier partners, instead preferring to showcase its charity partners and other philanthropic work. Personally, I think that’s a big compromise, and one I wouldn’t be willing to overlook.
Sustainable Alternatives To J.Crew & Madewell
If you’re looking to stop shopping at J.Crew, the J.Crew Factory and Madewell, I recommend looking through the mid-range brands listed on my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands and my favourite places to shop second-hand fashion.
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.