Yes, Burton is a fast fashion brand.
Burton is a British high street clothing retailer for menswear. It is owned by the Boohoo Group, and its sister brands include Boohoo, BoohooMAN, Coast, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Karen Millen, Misspap, Nasty Gal, Oasis, Pretty Little Thing, Warehouse, and Wallis.
The Boohoo Group was co-founded in 2006 by by Asian-British businessmen Mahmud Kamani (worth £1 billion), his brother Jalal Kamani, and white British businesswoman Carol Kane (worth £100 million). The business made £1.2 billion in revenue in 2020 and employs over 2,000 direct employees, as well as 5,000 UK-based garment workers and third-party employees.
Burton is a fast fashion brand due to the speed it produces its clothes and the scale of clothes that it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 28/100
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 2/5
Remake Fashion Accountability Report Rating: 13/150
Additional Reasons Why Burton Is A Fast Fashion Brand
- When reviewing the Burton website, I found them to be selling over 700 styles of suit, and over 900 styles of clothing in the Sale. This is simply too many clothes.
- Burton’s sustainability policy links directly to general Boohoo Group sustainability policy, which I criticised heavily in my review of Boohoo.
- In 2021, Burton became an online-only fashion brand, having closed its 400 high street stores after its previous owner, Arcadia Group, went into administration. It was subsequently bought out by Boohoo Group and appears to be following its 12 other brands’ fast fashion business model.
- In 2020, while still owned by Arcadia Group, the business announced the cutting of 500 jobs due to covid-19, as well as refusing pay their garment factories due to covid-19. It left over 2,000 Bangladeshi garment workers facing job losses and poverty.
- Burton’s previous owner, Philip Green (worth $2.2 billion), was personally involved in the following controversies:
- In 2003, he made a racist comment against Irish people
- In 2007, he was accused of using overseas sweatshops by Labour Behind The Label
- In 2010, he was again accused of using sweatshops by Channel 4’s Dispatches
- In 2010, he was also accused of UK tax avoidance, despite being a government advisor at the time
- Across the period of 2000 – 2015, he was accused of taking money out of BHS as dividends (£586 million, to be precise), and leaving a £207 million deficit in employees’ pension funds. Under threat of losing his knighthood, he later settled this by paying £363 million into the pension scheme.
- In 2018, he was accused of sexual harassment and racial abuse of staff
- In 2019, he was found guilty on four counts of misdemeanour assault for inappropriately touching a woman
Sustainable Alternatives To Burton
If you’re looking to stop shopping at Burton, I recommend checking out menswear brands with better ethical and sustainable credentials such as Brothers We Stand, Hiut Denim, Komodo, Sheep Inc., and for formal suits, why not try renting rather than buying.
You can also check out my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands to find more, or consider searching for second-hand Burton 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.