Is Fashion Nova fast fashion? How ethical and sustainable are they? Let’s discuss.

is fashion nova fast fashion?

Eco-Stylist is reader-supported. If you make a purchase using our links, we may earn a commission. We only feature fashion brands that pass our sustainable brand criteria. Learn more here.

Is Fashion Nova Fast Fashion? 

Fashion Nova is an incredibly unique brand, and unfortunately, not in a positive way. Not only are they a fast fashion brand, but they are an ultra-fast fashion brand, similar to Shein and Boohoo.

Their approach is to introduce extreme newness at a very low price, every single week. But at what cost? Everything about the brand is fast and trendy. For example, they release about 600-900 styles every week. They also work with more than 1,000 manufacturers.

According to Fashion United, from the initial concept, the manufacturers create samples in around a day, which are then photographed and ready for the in-house models in another 24 hours. 

fast fashion clothing on a rack in a store
Unsplash – Waldemar

Most of Fashion Nova’s products retail for less than fifty dollars, which is a typical fast fashion pricing point, but they manage to sell jeans and crop tops for even less. Not only that, their Instagram campaigns and marketing are extremely active. If you visit their Instagram page, the team works tirelessly, uploading new content at least every single hour!

Fashion Nova is not the place to find quality jeans that are typically priced $200 because their skin tight denim can go as low as $24.99. CEO Richard Sagian stated that the company can get clothing manufactured “in less than two weeks.”

If you ever wondered what’s worse than fast fashion, it’s ultra-fast fashion.

Fashion Nova Sustainability Efforts: Is Fashion Nova Sustainable? 

If you want a straight answer, no. As we mentioned before, there is nothing more unsustainable than ultra-speedy production and marketing. Once money becomes the centre of the business model, there is nothing left to explain.

However, as we want to keep our customers informed, we will give you an overview of why Fashion Nova is not sustainable. 

jeans in a clothing store
Unsplash – Waldemar

What Materials Does Fashion Nova Use?

What’s the worst thing you can buy for $25? While affordable pricing is typically viewed as a good thing, it might get you a wool coat with cancer as an add-on. And that’s only one of the hidden costs.

Fashion Nova long wool coat with toxic chemicals

This long wool coat by Fashion Nova is labelled with a warning called California Proposition 65, indicating materials that can expose customers to cancer and reproductive harm thanks to the potential Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, lead and cadmium in the materials.

Those chemicals, the small  warning tag further states, “are known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm.”

In addition, polyester and other synthetic materials are commonly found among their products. Good luck finding sustainable and natural materials. Even if they use cotton or linen, we cannot tell where they are sourced from and, subsequently, how good the quality is.

Are you looking for silk? Mission impossible. Customers will end up in a sea of polyester options, also known as fossil fuel derived fabrics.

fashion fabrics being dyed different colors
Unsplash – Linn Legros

Is Fashion Nova Carbon Neutral?

This question is definitely premature for Fashion Nova. They don’t measure or disclose CO2 emissions from manufacturing, let alone take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing the majority of their products.

We cannot find any evidence that the brand is moving in this direction. And we doubt that will happen anytime soon, as there is zero statement on the environmental impact of the brand.

Does Fashion Nova Have a Clothing Recycling Program?

Not at all. We found no evidence that Fashion Nova invests in developing closed-loop capabilities, including design, fabrics, and recycling/reclaiming processes.

The closest thing to recycling that we found is a collection of four jeans called “recycled denim.” And guess what? There is no mention of any recycled materials, certifications, or claims. This is either blatant greenwashing, complete lack of transparency, or both.

Is Fashion Nova Ethical?

Where are Fashion Nova’s Clothes Made?

Our team didn’t identify any publicly disclosed information about where its products are produced, such as a factory list, the actual conditions within their factories, such as wages, or information about the clothing makers.

According to an investigation by the United States Labor Department, which was reviewed by The New York Times, Fashion Nova clothing was being made in factories that owed hundreds of workers $3.8 million in back wages during investigations that took place between 2016 and 2019. It was claimed that those facilities, which fashion brands use to create their clothing, paid their sewers as little as $2.77 per hour. Those are illegally low wages.

According to Mr. Saghian, in 2018, about 80% of the brand’s clothing was produced domestically. Since then, Fashion Nova’s supply chain has changed, and the company reports that fewer than half of its clothing is now produced in Los Angeles, yet the number remains unknown. Fashion Nova also doesn’t work with factories directly, which blurs their supply chain traceability. 

clothing makers in a garment factory
Unsplash – Allan Wadsworth

We are also not surprised that the company has not signed the International Accord, including the extended and expanded Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

Is Fashion Nova Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

Fashion Nova offers some apparel labeled as “vegan.”

Generally speaking, wearing vegan apparel signifies a commitment to abstaining from wearing any animal products. Using fur, wool, cashmere, leather, silk, or any other textile derived from animals is not vegan.

Fashion Nova has a collection of vegan leather jackets, but it’s just a fancy way to say polyester or PU–in short, plastic jackets. Such marketing could be misleading to customers.

We cannot find any vegan certifications on this collection, like those given by PETA or the vegan society. Therefore, we cannot be sure of their claims since non-vegan glues such as beeswax glues or animal dyes may exist in the product. Learn more about vegan fashion in our guide.

In addition, Fashion Nova does not seem to promote a sustainable vegan lifestyle at all. For example, there are much more sustainable vegan options, such as leather made of cactus or mushrooms, which we doubt they will adopt anytime soon until they shift away from their ultra-fast fashion business model.

Unfortunately, Fashion Nova does not publicly disclose any animal-derived materials or whether or not they are sourced ethically. We did find some wool products on their website, but it is in a trace amount (for example 10% wool) and there is no information on where they obtain the wool from. Certifications, animal welfare policies, or statements are nowhere to be found.

2 baby lambs. Is Fashion Nova Vegan and Cruelty-Free?
Unsplash – Gemma Evans

Fashion Nova’s Sustainability Rating

Now that we’ve talked about their sustainability, here’s how we rated them with our sustainable brand criteria.

Transparency Rating: 0/14

They scored zero, and no one was surprised.

Our team could not find any information on the factory list, which means no one knows where all these clothing pieces are made. Indeed they mentioned that they used to manufacture their products in Los Angeles, but they shifted away from domestic production.

Now it is even harder to identify their supply chain transparency. And if we have no idea where these items are manufactured, it’s pretty unlikely that they implement any fair labor practices.

We also are disappointed to figure out that their product transparency is null. There is no mention regarding where they source their materials from or any efforts or plans identified to do better in the future.

Fair Labor Rating: 0/33

They score zero for their fair labor rating too!

Just like their transparency, they don’t have evidence of certifications for their factories, or that any of their clothing makers earn a living wage. There is also no reference to any Fair Labor Association or SA8000 standards, and they don’t report if they audit their factories, or how often.

There is no publicly available Code of Conduct for their supply chain, and no evidence that they invest in worker well-being or benefits. Fashion Nova needs to do better.

how ethical is fashion nova?
London, United Kingdom – September 29, 2018: The Fashion Nova mobile app from Fashion Nova Inc. on an iPhone screen.

Sustainably Made Rating: 0/49

Again, Fashion Nova scores zero in environmental sustainability. Where to begin…

Fashion Nova does not have sustainability goals, they show no evidence of intersectional environmentalism, they don’t use sustainable materials in the majority of their clothing (or basically any of their clothing), they have no evidence of sustainable packaging, and they lack certifications for any of their materials.

They also don’t share their CO2 footprint, water footprint, waste footprint, or their goals to improve any of the three. They don’t invest in circularity or degrowth, but that hardly comes as a surprise. They also lack evidence of a safe chemical plan or certifications to ensure that their factories aren’t dumping toxic chemicals into rivers.

In short, Fashion Nova doesn’t make climate change or the planet a priority, and only has room to improve when it comes to the environment.

DEI Rating: 0/4

Another disappointment here. There is no information on diversity within Fashion Nova’s management or executives. We can’t find a commitment to diversity and inclusion either, or a DEI policy on their career page.

Our Principles

One of the ways we identify leaders in sustainable fashion is with our 3 principles. It comes as no surprise that Fashion Nova isn’t a leader, except perhaps in over consumption.

  • Is the brand fast fashion? Yes! As mentioned above they drop up to 1000 new styles per week. This earned them -25 points.
  • Does the brand inspire us? Fashion Nova doesn’t even bother doing the bare minimum, let alone anything inspiring. This earned them -10 points.
  • Do we trust the brand? Transparency inspires trust, and transparency is something Fashion Nova lacks. This earned them -10 points.

Fashion Nova’s Overall Score: -45

Fashion Nova achieves our worst possible rating. This is not a brand we recommend and we strongly encourage anyone to find alternatives that are better for your health, better for the planet, better for clothing makers, and better quality too.

Ethical and Sustainable Alternatives to Fashion Nova

Looking for better alternatives? We picked 5 fast fashion swaps based on product type, all of course from certified sustainable fashion brands.

1) Hoodie Alternative

Introducing Outerknown’s Sunfade Hoodie. With 100% organic cotton, this hoodie is crafted from the most luxurious French terry, which only becomes better with time. With such fun and tasteful colors, they dip-dyed the materials to achieve such hues.

ombre hoodie, cotton hoodie

2) Tank Top Alternative

    Introducing Pangaia’s Tank Top in Andes Green. This item will be your best friend this summer if you like neon for festivals! Made from organic and recycled cotton, this tank top is preserved for an extended period of time using Pprmint™, the brand’s exclusive peppermint oil.

    lime tank top, sustainable tank top, neon tank

    3) One Shoulder Tank Alternative

      Meet Girlfriend Collective’s Citrine Bianca One Shoulder Tank. This one-shoulder compression workout tank offers low-impact support and all the stretchy, quick-drying, and sweat-wicking features you love. Due to its low-impact support, you won’t hesitate to pair this recycled item with your casual jeans or skirts and take it outside the gym.

      gym top, yellow gym top

      4) Ribbed Bodycon Dress Alternative

        Meet Kotn’s Nile Rib Dress. Let’s admit it: we cannot talk about Fashion Nova without talking about bodycon dresses. Luckily, we have your back with Kotn’s rib dress. Made from premium thick-rib Egyptian cotton, the dress has a rear seam vent for comfort and a raw-edge hem for a raw look. It is also ethically made in Egypt.

        bodycon dress, knit dress, ribbed dress

        5) Basic Leggings Alternative

          Meet Pact Apparel’s Grateful Dead X Pact Basic Leggings. These unique cotton leggings are made of organic cotton, saving about 45 gallons of water. The organic cotton is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and is made in a Fair Trade CertifiedTM Factory.

          basic leggings, cotton leggings

          Looking for More Ethical Clothing?

          Check out our shop for a curated selection of men’s and women’s clothing and shoes. From dresses to jeans, swim suits, boots, shirts, underwear and more, you can find it all from brands that are better for the planet and clothing makers.

          Which brands should we review next? Let us know in the comments!


          Leave a Comment

          Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

          Scroll to Top