Yes, Dorothy Perkins is a fast fashion brand.
Dorothy Perkins is a British fashion retailer. From 1909 to 2021, it was a commonplace to see Dorothy Perkins stores on many British high streets, until its parent company Arcardia Group entered administration in 2021. Later that year, the brand was bought out by Boohoo Group, who quickly closed all physical locations and cut 2,450 jobs.
As of mid-2021, Dorothy Perkins became an online-only fashion brand, owned by Boohoo. Its sister brands include Boohoo, BoohooMAN, Burton, Coast, Debenhams, Karen Millen, Misspap, Nasty Gal, Oasis, Pretty Little Thing, Warehouse, and Wallis.
Boohoo Group was co-founded in 2006 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.
Dorothy Perkins is a fast fashion brand due to the speed it produces its clothes, the huge scale of clothing styles that it offers, and the sheer number of clothes that it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 27/100
Good On You Sustainability Rating: N/A
Remake Fashion Accountability Report Rating: 13/150
Additional Reasons Why Dorothy Perkins Is A Fast Fashion Brand
Over the past few years, Boohoo and the Boohoo Group has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not care for its staff, garment workers, or impact on the planet:
- When I looked at the Dorothy Perkins site in November 2022, I found them selling 7,087 styles of clothing, and 4,660 items in the sale. These huge product ranges demonstrate the brand’s fast fashion business model and focus to profit from the overproduction of clothes.
- I also found clothes being sold on Dorothy Perkins for as little as £3.60. It is not possible to make clothing for this price without some form of exploitation of people and planet – at the very least, it’s made at a quality so low it will not last.
- Dorothy Perkins has a “sustainable collection” which “contains a percentage of more sustainably sourced material that is in line with our sustainability goals”. This vagueness could constitute greenwashing, and especially as over 500 styles are shown in this section.
- The “sustainability goals” that Dorothy Perkins’ sustainable collection abides by are those in Boohoo Group’s Sustainable Action Plan called Ready For Future, where it slaps a label on any clothing that uses “20% or more ‘better materials’”. This definition is not clear and could be constituted as greenwashing.
- …Based on this information, you may not be surprised to learn that Boohoo Group is currently being investigated by the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority for greenwashing.
- As Dorothy Perkins is now part of Boohoo, it’s worth noting Good On You’s findings on Boohoo, such as: “little of [Boohoo’s] supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages or other labour rights.” That means we don’t know how the people in their 1,300 factories are being treated.
- Good On You also found that Boohoo “uses few eco-friendly materials” and provides no evidence it has “taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals” or “minimises textile waste when manufacturing its products.”
- In 2021, Boohoo Group launched its Sustainability Plan called UP.FRONT. Within this, it outlines incredibly vague aims that apply to Dorothy Perkins, such as:
- “[By] 2030, all the materials we use in our garments will be more sustainably sourced”, except there is no legal definition for what ‘sustainably sourced’ means, and by saying ‘more sustainably sourced’, they can achieve this by changing one button…
- Boohoo makes no promise to reduce its use of oil-based textiles, despite polyester being one of the top two textiles its clothes are made from.
- Boohoo aims to make “all garment packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable” by 2023, which means it’ll continue using plastic, as plastic is reusable.
- Within this entire plan, Boohoo has set just one measurable, science-based target, aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 52% by 2030. It’s a good start, but 2030 is also the year when global carbon emissions need to reach net zero.
- The company aims to “announce more goals in 2023”, but I’m not holding my breath on seeing any efforts to stop using oil-based textiles, curb overproduction, or embrace true circularity.
- In 2020, Boohoo Group reportedly paid subcontracted staff illegally low wages, as little as £3.50 per hour in UK factories.
- On its corporate website, Boohoo Group says “our Group of today is a stronger, more sustainable and ethical business.” If this comparison is made to its previous years, where it allegedly paid UK garment workers less than minimum wage, congratulations. Personally, I would describe that as a more “legal” business, not sustainable or ethical.
Sustainable Alternatives To Dorothy Perkins
If you’re looking to stop shopping at Dorothy Perkins, I recommend checking out budget brands listed in my guide to 150+ sustainable fashion brands or consider searching for second-hand Dorothy Perkins 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: November 2022.