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Is Nasty Gal fast fashion? It all started when Sophia Amoruso founded Nasty Gal in San Francisco in 2006, first selling vintage clothing as an eBay store called Nasty Gal Vintage. To be exact, Nasty Gal as a brand as we know it today didn’t emerge until two years later, in 2008, and achieved instant success: within the first day Sophia sold out. And this success was to continue, over the years the brand’s profits grew dramatically, reaching a profit of $120 million.
But as quickly as that can happen with the height of success, things can go downhill at least as quickly: in 2015, an employee sued Sophia Amuroso because she and two other female employees had been fired shortly before her maternity leave. In 2016, the brand filed for bankruptcy, and shortly after, Sophia Amuroso resigned. Now that’s what we call a roller coaster of emotions – and sales…
Five years later, Nasty Gal is firmly owned by Boohoo, which bought the company for $20 million – a fraction of Nasty Gal’s former value.
The brand moved to L.A. and changed its assortment 90 deg: Today, the brand no longer carries vintage clothing but is very similar to Boohoo’s assortment of new clothing, shoes, and accessories.
The brand today is for women who wear their clothes with a fair amount of confidence and know what they want – and how they want to look. But with all the pride, we must always look at the flip side: What about Nasty Gal’s impact on the planet, people, and animals? Is the brand acting ethically and environmentally friendly here, or is it just like everyone else – a fast fashion brand?
Today, we take a look at one of the fastest growing brands to answer the famous question: Is Nastygal fast fashion?
Table of Contents
What Do Fast Fashion Brands Do?
Fast fashion refers to brands that produce large quantities of clothing throughout the year and release large quantities of new collections and pieces on a weekly – if not daily – basis.
In doing so, these brands produce clothing at very low prices that are considered attractive opportunities for many consumers. But under the high price of poor working and environmental conditions and release of toxic chemicals, high water consumption, as well as many other dramatic disadvantages.
This allows consumers to update their wardrobes very quickly and inexpensively, leading to overconsumption and causing that for every two fast-fashion pieces purchased, in reality only one is worn. The other is disposed of – without having been worn once.
Further Characteristics of a Fast Fashion Brand:
- Trends that are already out after a few weeks
- Poor quality that tears, threads, stretches, or discolors after a few washes
- The items are often characterized by a strong chemical smell
- Low transparency & poor working conditions
- Mainly synthetic materials
- Disposable consumption
- High environmental impact due to pesticides and water consumption
Is Nasty Gal Fast Fashion in 2022? 3 Reasons That Confirm This
1. Exploitative Conditions of Employment
As with any other fast fashion store, workers are mostly exploited for this under unfair conditions – sometimes even children.
Unfortunately, Nasty Gal itself doesn’t disclose any information about suppliers’ policies and working conditions, or practices to ensure gender equality, forced labor, and freedom of association. There is also no indication that a living wage is paid in the supply chain. All of this suggests unfair working conditions.
2. Is Nasty Gal Fast Fashion: Low Prices with Poor Quality
Due to the comparatively low prices, one cannot expect particularly good quality. This alone should make it noticeable that good working conditions are hardly feasible when the low prices mean that profit margins aren’t exactly high.
There are also many sales and discounts so that the products can be purchased at even lower prices. This is exactly the characteristic of a fast fashion brand, selling seasonal clothes at low prices.
3. Oodles of Synthetic Materials
In terms of fibers, many synthetic materials are used (polyester, acetate, “vegan leather”) and viscose without TENCEL.
Nasty Gal doesn’t use eco-friendly materials overall, nor has it made much effort to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals or water in its supply chain.
While Nasty Gal reports greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations, it doesn’t bother when it comes to its supply chain.
The brand does offer a “sustainable store” with 40 items, but it’s unclear how sustainable it is. There are over 500 items in the “New In” section, which makes it clear where the brand’s priorities are.
Summary – Is Nasty Gal Fast Fashion?
Since there are no clear indications about the suppliers and their working conditions, and it is clearly visible that quantity is more important to the brand than quality, it can be said unequivocally: Yes, Nasty Gal belongs to the fast fashion brands.
Does Nasty Gal Offer Good Quality?
While “fast fashion brands” are brands that have their garments made cheaply and offer them for short-term use, “sustainable” (or “ethical”) fashion is the opposite and is sometimes referred to as “slow fashion”. It takes into account the entire life cycle of the product – from design to sourcing to production.
As such, it’s the more ethical, environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion, and promotes the slower, more sustainable approach of buying vintage or second-hand clothing, refashioning old clothes, buying from smaller manufacturers, and buying quality clothing with a longer lifespan.