Is Billabong A Fast Fashion Brand?

Man wears Billabong t-shirt surrounded by sand dunes

Yes, Billabong is a fast fashion brand.

Billabong is an Australian fashion retailer. It is owned by Boardriders Inc., a fashion conglomerate that also owns DC Shoes, Quiksilver, and Roxy. It was founded by white Australian businessman Gordon Merchant (worth $570 million) and today is owned by shareholders. Billabong has over 6,000 employees in its worldwide stores and reported an annual revenue of over $1 billion AUD in 2017.

Billabong is a fast fashion brand due to the speed it produces its clothes and scale of clothing styles that it sells.

Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 7/100
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 1/5

Additional Reasons Why Billabong Is A Fast Fashion Brand

  • Despite its mission to “make the best quality products for surfers around the world”, Billabong does not disclose any information about its environmental policies or impact on the planet.
  • Billabong does not have a clear diversity and inclusion strategy, which flies in the face of its brand name, a word borrowed from the Indigenous language of the Wiradjuri people of Australia.
  • There is no information available on Billabong’s supply chain on its own website or the Boardriders Inc. website either.
  • Billabong does not have a Sustainability section on its website.
  • Billabong does offer an ‘eco shop’ selling over 290 items that are labelled as ‘eco-conscious’. This appears to be in reference to the garments’ use of recycled textiles. Out of the 10 items I looked at, 7 were made with oil-based textiles and would still produce micro-fibres when worn and washed. Billabong also doesn’t label these materials as such in their product titles or descriptions, instead preferring to use the terms ‘recycled yarn’, ‘Recycled Peach Stretch’, ‘Recycled Sunset Rib’, ‘Eco-Conscious Jacquard Knit’, and other variations, while hiding the true textile compositions in the Materials section.
  • Good On You notes that “None of [Billabong’s] supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages or other labour rights.”
  • Due to their lack of transparency, it is unclear as to the minimum age of the brand’s garment workers, as well as the sustainable materials they use (other than recycled polyester), the number of collections they make, or if they design with circularity in mind. I have previously reached out to the brand for more information, with no response.
  • In 2021, Billabong and all the Boardriders Inc. brands received a 0/100 score for transparency in Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index.
  • In 2016, Billabong’s former CEO was found guilty of the fraud of millions of dollars.

Sustainable Alternatives To Billabong

If you’re looking to stop shopping at Billabong, I recommend checking out brands with similar styles and better ethical and sustainable credentials such as Davy J, Ecoalf*, Finisterre*, Patagonia, Vivida Lifestyle, and more in my guide to ethical activewear.

You could also check out my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands to find more, or consider searching for second-hand Billabong garments on 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: October 2022.

Disclaimer: This post features affiliate links (denoted '*')


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