12 American Clothing Brands You Should Steer Clear Of

Today’s world has given way to fast fashion. It has gone to the point where we now consume 400% more clothing than the early 2000s. We are buying more clothes now than ever before.

To keep up, brands are producing more clothes now than ever before. They are also committing illegitimate practices to produce in bulk. Take a look at 12 such American clothing brands that you should avoid.

Forever 21

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While they filed for bankruptcy a while back, Forever 21 still produces cheap clothing. They are infamous for the unethical practices in their LA factories. They refuse to pay their workers a fair wage. Along with that, they have been guilty of body shaming their customers. They have sent diet bars instead of clothing accessories to the ones who asked for plus-size clothes.

Fashion Nova

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As an American retail brand, Fashion Nova became popular due to heavy influencer advertising. Yet, their practices make them a brand to avoid. Why? Simply because they release hundreds of styles every week. All those clothes are made of non-biodegradable synthetic materials. On top of that, they misrepresent their product reviews and pay their employees much lower than minimum wage. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission ordered them to pay a penalty of US$4.2 million.

Victoria’s Secret

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Victoria’s Secret is another brand you should avoid, known as a market leader for lingerie and women’s clothing. There are several reasons not to buy fashion accessories from Victoria’s Secret. They have been accused of using formaldehyde in their lingerie, risking allergic reactions. Also, they are accused of child labor, sexual harassment of the models involved with them, and transphobia among other things.


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Guess Inc is a gender-neutral fashion brand that also dabbles with jewelry and fragrances. They have been a serial offender since the 1980s. Initially, they were alleged to be involved in sweatshop labor. In the early 1990s, they failed to pay their workers minimum wage. In the 21st century, they were accused of infringing on Gucci’s trademark.


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A Gen-Z oriented brand that keeps up with fashion trends, Edikted releases new collections every week. They regularly host flash sales, which lead to overconsumption. According to a report on GoodOnYou, their clothes aren’t made from sustainable fabric, and they are alleged not to be an eco-friendly brand. Along with that, they are not inclusive of all sizes either. They have clothes available only from XS to XL sizes.

Urban Outiftters

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One of the biggest fashion retail brands in the USA, Urban Outfitters targets young adults. They sell activewear, beauty products, footwear, and homeware products, while flirting with fast fashion. Truth be told, they are not a sustainable brand. Their clothes aren’t made of synthetic material. They have been guilty of underpaying their employees and making them work weekends. They are also accused of using sweatshop labor in LA to manufacture clothes.


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Based on global sales revenue, Gap is the fourth-largest fashion brand. They own various smaller but popular brands, too. The primary reason to avoid using Gap products is because of their labor issues. Not only have they violated laws, but they have been involved in child labor as well. They are also infamous for mistreating their factory workers. According to Good On You Directory, Gap Inc.’s “Planet” rating is “not good enough”. The rating considers factors like carbon emissions, wastewater, business models, and product circularity.


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The LA-based brand made in the 1980s, caters mainly to the teen audience. Even though some of their products are created ethically, most of their fashionwear is unsustainable. They leave a huge carbon footprint since they mix their eco-friendly fabrics with synthetic materials. There is also a question mark on whether they pay their workers minimum wage. In fact, they fail to provide adequate security in their dressing rooms.


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With HQs in LA, Cider is another LA-based brand that you should avoid. Founded in 2020, Cider promotes overconsumption as it drops new collections every week. They do not have programs to reclaim their products either. Only one particular category of their products is made with sustainable materials. However, those aren’t made using recycled fabric. They mix those with spandex and polyester. Cider also lacks any policy of not using hazardous materials like lead in its clothing.

American Apparel

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American Apparel was founded in 1989 by Dov Charney. It became famous due to its “Made in the USA” approach to manufacturing clothes. They gained popularity for their simple yet stylish t-shirts and leggings. However, they gained notoriety soon after. They filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and 2016. They shut hundreds of stores and fired thousands of employees in 2017. All of these were the result of criminal allegations of sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement by their founder.

Nasty Gal

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Another company based out of LA, Nasty Gal sells affordable fashion to young women. Their recent sustainable line of clothing does not hide the fact that the rest of their material is made out of synthetic. Despite promising to publish their list of factories in 2021, they haven’t kept the promise. They stooped lowest in 2015, when they fired four employees because of pregnancy.

Hot Topic

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A fast fashion brand that sells pop culture and music-inspired clothing, Hot Topic has close to a thousand stores in the USA. It has a certain Code of Conduct, which is not followed in reality. They have experienced worker protests and walkouts against low wages and poor workplace conditions.

Moreover, his brand lacks adequate information on its efforts to minimize its effects on people, the environment, and animals.Good On You rates Hot Topic as ‘We Avoid‘ overall.

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