Is Urban Outfitters Fast Fashion? Analysis and Alternatives

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Urban Outfitters is a global retailer renowned for creating on-trend clothing, accessories, lifestyle, and homeware products.

The brand has headquarters in Pennsylvania, USA, and is owned by parent company URBN, which also parents sister companies Free People, Anthropologie, and FP Movement.

Is Urban Outfitters fat fashion? Source

While Urban Outfitters might have a global fan base, we ask, Is Urban Outfitters Fast Fashion? We’ll discuss what materials the brand uses, where its clothes are made, and whether Urban Outfitters is ethical.

Is Urban Outfitters Fast Fashion?

Yes, we would consider Urban Outfitters a fast fashion brand we’d avoid. The brand produces thousands of styles that are sold for discounted prices.

Is Urban Outfitters fast fashion

When researching, we found styles in the UO sale for as little as $4.99; we would question whether garment workers were paid a living wage if a brand sells clothing at this small price.

Is UO fast fashion

Plus, selling clothing for a low price promotes the overconsumption of clothing, most of which ends up in landfills contributing to the ever-growing problem of textile pollution.

What Materials Does Urban Outfitters Use?

While Urban Outfitters as a brand doesn’t disclose enough detailed information about its materials, parent company URBN gives some information regarding the materials used by its brands.

URBN states that by 2023, 50% of its direct-sourced raw material will be sourced responsibly, either through sustainably sourced virgin fibers or recycled sources. However, as of February 2020, the URBN group had sustainably sourced only 16% of its raw materials.

While this may be a step in the right direction, we believe this target is poor as retail leaders should strive to achieve 100% sustainable or responsibly sourced materials. Furthermore, we don’t think this target sets the example we expect from a large brand actually committed to sustainability.

Looking at the ‘responsible materials’ section of the Urban Outfitters website, we see only 142 products compared to thousands of non-responsibly sourced articles.

Urban Outfitters materials

However, the URBAN renewal initiative by Urban Outfitters uses recycled materials in its collection, repurposing old textiles into clothing. So far, the Urban renewal program has saved 6 million garments from landfills.

Is Urban Outfitters Carbon Neutral?

No Urban Outfitters is not a carbon-neutral brand.

Is Urban Outfitters Ethical?

As far as Urban Outfitters go, the brand has a poor track record of ethical standards in its stores and factories.

Reports of the brand firing employees of a Stockholm store to them rehire under an agency.

In addition to the unethical treatment of workers in stores, the brand gives little information about the factories it works with or where garments are made.

Regarding the information given, Urban Outfitters doesn’t currently work with certified factories such as Fair Trade factories and provides no indication of whether audits are conducted and the audit scores of these factories.

The brand also isn’t championing a living wage for its garment workers, as it only specifies that suppliers must pay only a minimum wage to garment workers.

Plus, Urban Outfitters scored a poor overall score of 16% in the Fashion Transparency Index 2021, a report ranking the largest global fashion brands on their transparency around supply chain practices, human rights policies, and environmental policies.

Where are Urban Outfitters Clothes Made?

While we couldn’t find detailed information on the Urban Outfitters site, parent company URBN lists its Tier 1 and 2 suppliers here. URBN works with suppliers with the majority based in India, China, Turkey, and Vietnam.

The company gives no information on its Tier 3 suppliers.

Is Urban Outfitters Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

No Urban Outfitters is not a fully vegan brand as it uses wool and leather in its collections.

We couldn’t find any information from Urban Outfitters regarding an Animal Welfare policy – we’ve reached out to the brand for more details. Still, they failed to provide us with any information.

Does Brand Have A Clothing Recycling Program?

While the brand doesn’t have a take-back program in store, Urban Outfitters renewal and Urban Outfitters Vintage recycles pre-loved garments such as vintage jeans and textiles into new products.

Ecothes Opinion: Is Urban Outfitters Fast Fashion?

Is Urban Outfitters Fast Fashion - Rating
We consider Urban Outfitters a fast fashion brand and give the brand a 1/5 star sustainability rating overall.

What we liked:

✔We like the urban renewal program and vintage options.

What we didn’t like:

❌The lack of transparency around the conditions of its supplier factories.

❌The fact the brand doesn’t champion a living wage in its factories.

❌The lack of animal welfare policy.

❌The little use of responsible materials in its collection.

Sustainable Alternatives to Brand

1. YesAnd

YesAnd sustainable alternatives to Urban Outfitters

Sustainability: Ethical production, trees planted, sustainable fibers

Best for: Dresses, tops, shirts

Ships to: the US and International

YesAnd ethical alternatives to UO


KOTN ethical alternatives to urban outfitters

Sustainability: Certified B Corp creating ethically made clothing using responsibly sourced Egyptian cotton.

Best for: Cargo pants, tops, dresses

Ships to: Worldwide

Kotn clothing


GOODEE ethical homewares

Sustainability: Ethically sourced homeware

Best for: Homeware

Ships to: the US

GOODEE homewares

4. Made Trade

Made Trade clothing

Sustainability: Women-led online marketplace showcasing sustainable and ethical products

Best for: Sustainable clothing, ethical homewares

Ships to: Worldwide

Made Trade sustainable homeware alternatives to Urban Outfitters

5. Staiy

Staiy clothing

Sustainability: Consciously curated clothing from the best sustainable European brands

Best for: Sustainable clothing, accessories

Ships to: Worldwide

Staiy mens alternative to urban outfitters



Sustainability: Organic and natural fibers, including hemp and organic cotton.

Best for: Dresses, t-shirts, tops.

Ships to: Worldwide


Discover our analysis of other brands including Madewell, J. Crew, Sezane, Brandy Melville, Hollister, and more.

Let us know if you have any feedback in the comments below!


Bethany Worthington BSc (Hons) (she/her) is the Sustainable Fashion Editor and Co-founder of Ecothes. She has a passion for the environment, and a long love of all things clothing, and combines those two interests with Ecothes. In her free time she loves dancing, hiking in the countryside, and laughing with friends.

Articles: 207

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