Yes, Sports Direct is a fast fashion brand.
Sports Direct is the flagship brand of Frasers Group, owned by white British businessman Mike Ashley (worth £2.71 billion). Its sister brands include 18Montrose, Agent Provocateur, Campri, Cruise, Everlast, Firetrap, Flannels, Gelert, Gul, House of Fraser, I Saw It First, Jack Wills, Kangol, Karrimor, LA Gear, Lillywhites, Lonsdale, Lovell Sports, Miss Fiori, Missguided, No Fear, Slazenger, Sondico, SoulCal, Sports Direct, USA Pro, USC and Van Mildert. As a group, it operates 670 stores with 26,000+ employees around the world. It made £3.62 billion in revenue in 2021.
Sports Direct and its sister brands are fast fashion brands due to the speed of production and scale of clothes that they sell.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 5/100
Ethical Consumer Score: 2.5/15
Good On You Sustainability Rating: N/A
Additional Reasons Why Sports Direct Is A Fast Fashion Brand
Over the past few years, Sports Direct has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not care for its staff:
- In 2020, Sports Direct attempted to keep its stores open despite the covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdowns, despite a YouGov poll showing 95% of Brits believing that sports equipment stores were not key services. After lobbying government, bike shops were added to the list of essential stores.
- In 2017, Sports Direct reportedly failed to inform its workforce of a data breach of their personal information after a hacker gained access to its internal systems.
- In 2016, MPs visiting Sports Direct were placed under covert surveillance.
- In 2015, an investigation by The Guardian found that the company fines staff for late clocking on, does not award overtime for late clocking off, relies on zero hour contracts, and regularly makes staff wait unpaid for a security check at the end of shifts, allegedly meaning workers earned below the minimum wage. Despite Sports Direct then agreeing to disburse unlawfully withheld wages, backpay continued to be withheld.
- In the same year, 200 members of USC staff were given just 15 minutes notice of their redundancy, a breach of UK employment law, resulting in the chief executive of Sports Direct, David Forsey, to be charged with a criminal offence.
- In the span of less than two years, 76 ambulances or paramedic cars were sent to Sports Direct’s distribution centre, one of which involved a woman giving birth in the site’s toilets.
Now imagine how they treat their third-party partners and garment workers…
Sustainable Alternatives To Sports Direct & Its Brands
If you’re looking to stop shopping at all of the above brands, I recommend first checking out the affordable brands listed in my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands and my favourite second-hand fashion sites. For more specific swaps, check out my posts on ethical activewear, lingerie, and more guides.
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.