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Is Cider a Sustainable Brand or Fast Fashion in Disguise?

Wondering if Cider is a fast fashion brand? Take a look inside its sustainability practices, supply chain transparency, labor conditions, and more.

is cider fast fashion?
Written by
Riley Baker
With brands like
Princess Polly
, and
promoting inflated sustainability claims, it can be really hard to decipher which clothing brands are actually sustainable... and which are
fast fashion brands
in disguise. One newer brand to the scene is Cider.
At first glance, it seems like Cider is doing things differently. It has vintage-looking clothing and a
"sustainability" page
that brings on the feel-good vibes, making you feel as though you're shopping consciously. But is Cider sustainable and ethical? Here's everything you should know, from the materials Cider uses to its supply chain transparency.

What Is Cider?

is cider fast fashion?
Cider was
founded in 2020
by four friends. While the clothing is manufactured at factories in Guangzhou, China, there's an office located in Los Angeles, California. In September 2021, the brand raised
$130 million in funding,
and the company is now valued at
more than $1 billion
. That growth isn't slowing down a bit.
The brand currently has nearly
5 million followers
on Instagram and
on TikTok, which is no surprise considering Gen Z is its prime audience. One quick scroll through the hashtag #shopcider and you'll find thousands of clothing hauls that have racked up a combined
390 million views
On its website, you'll find fun '70s looks (flares galore and denim jumpsuits), 2000s staples (platform sandals and mini dresses), and countless other on-trend pieces coming out each week—all available at low, unbeatable prices. Despite those ultra-low prices, the brand's "sustainability" page says it's "on a mission to create affordable, everyday statement pieces with sustainability in mind."
$6 dresses
and sustainability go hand-in-hand, or is the brand the latest to dabble in the
art of greenwashing
? Let's find out.

Is Cider Fast Fashion?

Yes, Cider is considered a fast fashion company. Like other similar brands, its clothing is mass-produced and sold at low prices.
On its website, it tries to move away from the term by stating that it has a "smart fashion model that only produces on demand," therefore "producing less waste than traditional retail fashion brands." With no word on how much less waste is produced, these statements are too vague to move Cider out of the fast fashion category. There are also other factors to consider, too, including the materials used, supply chain transparency, and labor conditions.

Is Cider Sustainable and Ethical?

Curious about whether Cider is a sustainable and ethical brand? Let's take a look into some of the most important parts of its business: labor conditions, materials used, and supply chain transparency.

Supply Chain Transparency and Labor Conditions

Cider states its "responsible supply chain is at the heart of our business." However, there are still many unanswered questions about how it's responsible.
Cider says all of its suppliers and factories must adhere to the "Cider's Zero Tolerance Policy" to ensure the following conditions are addressed:
• equality, respect, and dignity
• health and safety
• environment
• raw materials and processing
• anti-modern labor
• child labor prevention
• freedom of association
• wages
Within the zero-tolerance policy, it goes into its standards for four categories: human rights, safety, environment, and integrity. For human rights, it includes statements like "during working hours, employees shall not be restricted from drinking water or using the toilet freely." For the environment, that includes "suppliers shall reuse or recycle all waste sources whenever possible."

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While the standards in this policy are seemingly a good start, many are vague. For instance, reusing or recycling all waste sources sounds nice until you see it's "whenever possible." And while a standard like "the monthly wages of all employees shall not be lower than the local minimum wage" sounds nice, more information is needed. When a clothing brand has super-low prices, that can usually be attributed to cheap labor. In Guangzhou, China, where Cider's factories are located, the local minimum wage as of August 2023 is
, which is just $3.05 per hour.
has a similar zero-tolerance policy
for "discrimination in wages, working hours, and freedom of association," but on many occasions, it has been in the news for issues with its pay and
labor practices
. More transparency is needed from Cider and other fast fashion retailers about various aspects, including exact working hours, pay, and working conditions.


Cider has a
Recycled Fabric Collection
"made of recycled materials certified by Global Recycled Standard (GRS)." That's primarily
recycled polyester
and cotton. While that's a nice start, this line only makes up 375 items of the thousands of products site-wide. The rest of Cider's offerings are primarily made of synthetic plastic-based fibers like polyester and spandex, as well as cotton. In addition, at this point, none of its offerings seem to
carry certifications
, such as Fair Trade or OEKO-TEX.

The Takeaway

There's still a lot to learn about Cider, but for the time being, it resides within the realm of fast fashion. Instead of buying cheap, trendy items, save up and invest in wardrobe staples from
sustainable brands
you can cherish for years to come.
And if you're captivated by Cider's vintage aesthetics, why not explore the real deal? Genuine
vintage items
might carry a higher price tag than the brand's $10 discoveries, yet they come with a rich history. Plus, having endured for decades, they undoubtedly hold the promise of many more years of timeless wear.