Is Cider Fast Fashion? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Popular Brand

Is Cider really a sustainable fashion brand? Dive into the facts behind its rapid production cycles, ethical concerns, and environmental impact. Make an informed choice before you shop.

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Is Cider Fast Fashion? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Popular Brand

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Green Hive is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. To understand our thorough approach to rating brands and products, explore our comprehensive methodology.

Key takeaways

  • Cider (also known as Shop Cider) is a fashion brand that releases new collections incredibly fast.
  • The direct-to-consumer fashion brand relies heavily on social media to promote its products.
  • While Cider has made some efforts to be sustainable, it still has a long way to go to reduce its environmental impact.


The fashion industry has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent decades, ushering in the era of fast fashion. This phenomenon has reshaped how we approach style, trends, and consumer behavior. At the forefront of this revolution stands Cider, a fashion brand that has captured the attention of fashion enthusiasts and casual shoppers alike. With its lightning-fast production cycles, trendy designs, and affordable prices, Cider has emerged as a powerhouse in the fashion world.

In this article, we’ll explore Cider in more detail. From its history and sustainability claims to its labor practices, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Cider to help you make an informed decision before buying clothes from the brand.

The Rise of Cider: A Brief History

In a fast-paced fashion industry characterized by rapid change and constant innovation, Cider has managed to carve out a niche for itself as a fashion powerhouse. Founded in 2020 by four friends, the brand's journey from humble beginnings to a global fashion phenomenon has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Cider's early days were marked by a clear goal: to provide affordable, trendy clothes for women at an unprecedented pace, making fashion accessible to a wider audience. The brand's emphasis on catering to dynamic consumer preferences and its swift response to runway trends captured the attention of fashion-conscious women seeking the latest looks without breaking the bank. 

This goal, coupled with savvy marketing strategies, propelled Cider into the limelight. 

Currently, the brand has a strong social media following with a loyal following on TikTok and over 4 million followers on Instagram, making it one of the most popular fashion brands globally.

However, despite its popularity, Cider has received some backlash for its unsustainable and unethical practices. So, is the criticism deserved? Next, we’ll explore Cider’s commitment to sustainability and ethics and whether it’s indeed a fast fashion brand.

Is Cider a Fast Fashion Brand?

Fast fashion brands often prioritize the rapid production of cheap, trendy clothes. They typically release new collections several times a month, increasing environmental impact and textile waste.

Cider can be considered a fast fashion brand because it releases new collections several times a month, and its clothes are affordable.

Is Cider Ethical?

Ethical fashion brands are committed to providing good labor conditions, paying living wages, enforcing fair trade policies, protecting animal welfare, and ensuring suppliers adhere to ethical guidelines. While Cider has attempted to address these ethical concerns, the brand has faced scrutiny for its lackluster commitment to ethical practices.

Here are some ethical issues associated with Cider fast fashion:

1. Labor Practices

The fast fashion industry employs more than 75 million textile workers worldwide (UNECE, 2018). While this is a boon for the economies of many countries, particularly developing countries, fast fashion workers are often paid low wages and work in dangerous conditions. 

In fact, it’s estimated that 98% of textile workers aren’t paid a living wage and struggle to meet their essential needs like food, shelter, and healthcare (The Lowest Wage Challenge, n.d.).

Worse still, many fast fashion brands use child labor to produce their clothes. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that around 170 million children are engaged in child labor, with many working in the textile industry to fulfill the growing demands of consumers in the US, Europe, and elsewhere (Moulds, n.d.).

While Cider's Zero Tolerance Policy states that its suppliers and partners should provide workers with a healthy environment, pay them wages that aren't lower than the local minimum wage, and refrain from employing workers under 16, it isn't evident how Cider enforces these policies. Additionally, there's little data to show Cider's suppliers and partners abide by these policies.

2. Sourcing Practices

Cider claims that it has an ethical supply chain. On the Cider website, Cider states that it sources ethically to provide consumers with products made in a safe and fair environment. 

However, Cider isn't entirely transparent about its supply chain. 

On the Cider website, the fashion brand only provides three Chinese suppliers it sources garments from, but it doesn't provide much information about their factory conditions and labor practices.

3. Animal Welfare 

Cider has made some efforts to support animal welfare. Unlike some fast fashion brands that use animal fibers like fur, leather, exotic animal skin, and angora to produce textiles, Cider doesn't use any of these fabrics. 

However, the brand uses wool for some of its products and doesn't state how it sources the wool. This issue is of grave concern, as the wool industry is infamous for its animal cruelty (PETA, 2023).

4. Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation in fashion refers to taking or using the elements of a particular culture in a way that doesn't pay homage to the original culture or give it credit for the design inspiration. Fast fashion brands often appropriate cultural designs without citing their influences. 

Cider has been accused of cultural appropriation and even outright stealing designs. For instance, London-based designer Lydia Bolton accused Cider of copying her design for an apple pumpkin jacket without giving her credit (Venn, 2022).

Is Cider Sustainable?

Cider has made some efforts to be more sustainable. The brand uses recycled fabrics to produce some of its products, and it even has a line of bamboo clothing. However, Cider is still a fashion brand that impacts the environment negatively. 

While the brand has a Recycled Cider Collection that uses recycled material certified by the Global Recycled Standard, most Cider garments are made from synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, nylon, and spandex. Clothes made from synthetic materials have several negative impacts on the environment, including:

Microplastic Pollution 

Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon shed tiny plastic fibers when they are washed. These small plastic fibers often end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, and it's estimated they account for roughly a third of microplastics in the ocean (Common Objective, 2021). These microplastics can harm marine life and even affect human health if they enter the human food chain.

Water Pollution 

The dyeing and treatment of textiles accounts for nearly 20% of all global water pollution (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). Tragically, most of the water used to dye fabrics often ends up in water bodies, making the water unfit for human consumption.


Nearly 92 million tonnes of clothes end up in landfills annually (Igini, 2023). Synthetic garments that end up in landfills don’t decompose. As a result, they contribute to landfill waste, making them a huge eyesore.

Climate Change 

Fossil fuels like coal, crude oil, and gas are the largest contributors to global climate change, accounting for nearly 90% of global carbon emissions (United Nations, n.d.). Synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, and acrylic are derived from petroleum.

Besides using unsustainable synthetics to produce many of its garments, Cider doesn't have clear waste management and recycling policies. Cider states that its suppliers use ''membrane technology,'' which is a more effective way to treat wastewater. However, it doesn't provide detailed information about the technology.

Additionally, the fashion brand states that it uses d₂w biodegradable bags to package its products, which it claims break down faster than conventional plastic biodegradable bags. However, in 2018, a European Union (EU) report concluded that there's no evidence the bags decompose in a reasonable time (Crawford, 2018). 

Therefore, while Cider may claim to be a sustainable smart fashion brand because of some of its initiatives, the brand is far from sustainable. In fact, some of its initiatives could be considered greenwashing. 

Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where brands falsely portray their products or operations as eco-friendly, typically to gain consumer trust and boost their reputation, without genuinely implementing sustainable practices.

Fast Fashion Brands Similar to Cider

The fashion industry is littered with fast fashion brands similar to Cider that prioritize the rapid production of cheap, affordable clothing at the expense of the environment and textile workers' welfare. Here are some other fashion brands similar to Cider you might want to avoid:

1. Shein 

Like Cider, Shein is another fashion brand that produces clothes at  ridiculously fast rate. While the brand is popular among consumers because of its low-priced, trendy clothing, it has gained notoriety for its environmental impact and labor practices. 

For instance, a Greenpeace Germany study found that 15% of Shein's products contained high concentrations of toxic chemicals, above the EU's regulatory limits (Greenpeace International, 2022).

2. Fashion Nova

Fashion Nova is a fast fashion brand known for its huge following on social media, particularly Instagram, and its celebrity endorsements from celebrities like Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, and Amber Rose. 

However, behind the brand's glitz and glam, it has received heavy backlash for its environmental impact and labor practices (Kitroeff, 2019).

3. Boohoo

Boohoo is a British fast fashion brand known for its vast selection of affordable clothes. While the brand is popular among consumers looking for inexpensive clothing, it has been criticized for its environmental impact. 

According to a study of 55 brands by Changing Markets, Boohoo was identified as the brand with the heaviest reliance on synthetic fibers, accounting for 64% of its total annual fiber use. Additionally, the fashion brand was found to have the most polyester in its textile products, with the fabric present in 54% of its products (Changing Markets, 2022).

4. Zara

Zara is a fashion brand that's often credited as having the first successful business model in the fast fashion industry. The brand is a subsidiary of Inditex, the largest fashion retailer in the world.

While the brand has pledged to only use sustainable, organic, or recycled materials in all its clothing by 2025, many people view the brand's claims as greenwashing since the brand hasn't committed to producing less clothing or slowing down its production cycle (Conlon, 2019). The brand releases 20 collections annually with a speedy design-to-retail period of about five weeks (Nguyen, 2020). This demonstrates the brand is far from committed to long-term sustainability.

5. Missguided

Missguided is a British fashion brand known for its chic, affordable women's clothing. Like many other fast fashion brands, Missguided has received heavy criticism for its environmental impact. In 2019, along with Boohoo, Missguided was named one of the least sustainable fashion brands in the UK (Petter, 2019).

How to Find Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Brands

Fast fashion brands like Cider, Shein, and Fashion Nova aren't entirely committed to providing ethical and sustainable garments. If you're concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of your clothing purchases, here are some measures you can take:

Look for Brands That Are Transparent

Fashion brands like Cider often don't provide detailed information about their supply chains, labor practices, and materials. Opt for brands that openly disclose these details, as it's a hallmark of an ethical brand. Some fashion brands that openly divulge information about their supply chains and labor practices include Grey State, Made Trade, and Tentree.

Look for Brands with Recognized Certifications

Brands committed to ethical and sustainable practices usually have certifications such as the Fairtrade, OEKO-TEX, or Certified B Corp certifications, which indicate adherence to specific ethical and environmental standards.

Look for Brands That Use Sustainable Materials

Opt for brands that use organic or recycled materials like organic cotton, hemp, Lyocell (Tencel), linen, and recycled polyester. These sustainable alternatives reduce the ecological impact of fashion production. 

Some brands committed to using sustainable materials include Underprotection, Mate The Label, and Vestiaire Collective.

Opt for Slow Fashion Brands

While you may want to keep up with the latest trends, prioritize brands that adhere to slow fashion principles, such as Transcend. Unlike fast fashion brands that churn out clothes rapidly, slow fashion brands focus on producing timeless garments over fast-paced trendy clothing.

Look for Brands with Clear Waste Management Policies

Look for brands with clear waste management policies. Ideally, opt for brands that implement zero-waste practices, upcycling, or take-back programs to reduce textile waste.

Choose Brands with Ethical Labor Practices

Choose brands that ensure textile workers receive a living wage and work in safe conditions across their supply chains. A Fair Trade certification is a reliable indicator of this commitment.

Buy Clothes Made to Last

Since fast fashion brands make inexpensive clothes, they typically use low-quality materials to produce clothes. As a result, fast fashion clothes generally don't last for long. Opt for brands that use high-quality materials to produce clothes, as their garments have a longer lifespan.

Purchase Clothes from Thrift Stores or Consignment Shops

Thrift stores or consignment stores give clothes that would have ended up in landfills a second lease of life. If you want to reduce the environmental impact of your clothing purchases, consider buying clothes from thrift or consignment stores like ThredUP, Beyond Retro, or Swap.


Is Cider part of fast fashion?

Yes, Cider is part of fast fashion. Fast fashion brands typically produce cheap, trendy clothes in large batches and have a rapid design-to-retail period. In fact, Good on You, a website that rates fashion brands based on their sustainability and ethical practices, describes Cider as an ultra-fast fashion brand.

Is Cider like Shein?

Cider is similar to Shein in various ways. Like Shein, the fashion brand has a direct-to-consumer (DTC) fast fashion business model and is an online-only company. Also, like Shein, Cider frequently releases new collections, charges incredibly low prices, copies the latest runway trends, and heavily relies on social media to promote its products. 

Is Cider ethical to shop from?

Cider isn’t ethical to shop from. There’s little information about the brand’s supply chain on its website, the labor conditions in its factories, and its animal welfare policies. 

If you are concerned about the ethical impact of your clothing purchases, you might want to avoid buying clothes from Cider. Instead, look for brands committed to ethical fashion practices. 

Is Cider an OK brand?

Whether or not Cider is an ''OK'' brand ultimately depends on your values and priorities. While the brand produces affordable, trendy clothing, its production practices harm the environment and textile workers.  

If you're an eco-conscious consumer, you may want to purchase clothes from a more ethical and sustainable fashion brand rather than Cider fast fashion. 

Is Cider good quality?

While some Cider clothing is made from durable, high-quality materials, most of the brand's garments are made from low-quality materials that don't last long. In fact, many of Cider's products can be worn once and then discarded. So, if you want high-quality clothes that will last, you might want to explore other brands.

What country is Cider clothing from?

Shop Cider clothing is a fashion brand that's headquartered in Los Angeles. However, the brand's clothes are manufactured in three partner factories in China.


Overall, while Cider purports to be a sustainable smart fashion brand, its practices are far from sustainable. The brand mostly uses harmful fabrics like virgin polyester, nylon, and spandex to produce clothing, it doesn't trace the sources of its materials, its labor policies aren't transparent, and it releases new collections frequently to satisfy the market's demand for cheap, trendy clothing. So, if you want to reduce the environmental impact of your purchases, you may want to steer clear of Cider fast fashion. Instead, opt for sustainable fashion brands committed to reducing their environmental impact.


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State of The Industry: Lowest Wages to Living Wages. (n.d.).

Moulds, J. (n.d.). Child labour in the fashion supply chain. The Guardian.

Inside the wool industry | PETA. (2023, April 30). PETA.

Venn, L., & Venn, L. (2022, January 27). How Cider became TikTok’s go to brand, despite ‘cultural appropriation’ and ‘stolen’ designs. UK.

Fashion’s Impact On The World’s Oceans. (2021, November 26). Common Objective.

A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future. (2017). Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Igini, M. (2023). 10 concerning fast fashion waste Statistics. Earth.Org.

United Nations. (n.d.). Causes and effects of climate change | United Nations.

Crawford, B. A. (2018, July 19). Could this “biodegradable bag” cut plastic pollution? BBC News.

Greenpeace International. (2022, November 23). Taking the shine off SHEIN: Hazardous chemicals in SHEIN products break EU regulations, new report finds - Greenpeace International.

Kitroeff, N. (2019, December 16). Fashion Nova’s secret: Underpaid workers in Los Angeles factories. The New York Times.

Synthetics Anonymous 2.0: Fashion’s persistent plastic problem. (2022, December). Changing Markets.

Conlon, S. (2019, July 17). Zara clothes to be made from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025. The Guardian.

Nguyen, T. (2020, February 3). Fashion Nova, H&M, Zara: Why we can’t stop buying fast fashion. Vox.

Petter, O. (2019, January 31). Fast fashion: Boohoo and Missguided among worst offenders in sustainability inquiry | The Independent. The Independent.

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Alyciah Beavers

Committed to promoting sustainability and am pleased to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm with you.

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