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Is Cider Legit? Everything to Know About the Fashion App

The clothes are adorable—but experts have thoughts.

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Everything's getting more expensive these days, so we're choosing cheaper options whenever we can. One of these easiest places to cut corners is on clothes—after all, why drop $125 on an item that you can find for $25 elsewhere? If you're into finding deals, you may have come across the Cider app and wondered: Is Cider legit? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the company, from how it works and why it's so affordable to facts about its safety and reliability. We called in the pros so you can make a more educated purchase.

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What Is Cider?

Screenshot of the shopping website Cider

Cider is an online-only fast-fashion retailer that sells everything from dresses and jeans to swimsuits and sweaters. It was launched in 2020 by Fenco Lin, who currently serves as chief fashion officer, and Yu Oppel, who serves as chief marketing officer. The mysterious brand has its corporate offices in Los Angeles, and its main warehouse is in Guangzhou, China, which is considered a fast-fashion capital.

Although it's much newer than fast-fashion brands like Shein, ASOS, and Boohoo, which launched in 2008, 2000, and 2006, respectively, Cider has already made a splash. According to TechCrunch, the Cider app, which is where most customers shop, was downloaded 7.4 million times. Almost half (43 percent) of those downloads were in the U.S., and the app is also popular in the U.K., Germany, France, Canada, and South Korea. To get the scoop on its size: It's valued at about $1 billion, and it's available in more than 130 countries.

Unlike many other fast-fashion brands, Cider owns its niche as an app for the younger generation.

"It's particularly popular among Gen Z shoppers because it has more trendy items that you won't find at most stores," says Jeanel Alvarado, retail expert at RETAILBOSS. "Although the prices are comparable to those of H&M and Zara, those fast-fashion retailers carry more basic items that would be ideal for a mass market—think cardigans and sweatpants to trench coats and sundresses."

Cider, on the other hand, will have all the trendiest cottagecore dresses, animal print pants, and crochet swimsuit coverups. "It has caught the eye of younger shoppers who are looking for something unique, original, and expressive," says Alvarado.

Additionally, Cider clothes have an inclusive size range from XXS to 4XL (or 0 to 26), making it a draw for shoppers whose sizes aren't available at other retailers. While the clothes at many shops with a large range of sizes might seem frumpy or outdated, Cider serves style for everyone.

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Is Cider Legit?

Screenshot of clothes on the Cider website

Yes, Cider is legit. If you make an order through the app or website, you are likely to receive it without issue. The item may be of lesser quality than you expect, but it will be what was described on the website, and your payment method is unlikely to be compromised.

But there are a few things to consider. For one, if you're looking to avoid another ultra-fast fashion brand, you'll want to avoid the Cider app.

"I've been to Guangzhou, China, where Cider's headquarters are, and there are thousands of new items produced in this province alone, with malls full of wholesale clothing that retailers can purchase to sell online or in their stores," says Alvarado.

Although Cider dedicates part of its website to describing its sustainability efforts, it still falls into the fast-fashion category.

Why Did The Company Go Viral?

TikTok has a lot to do with it! In 2021, actress Christa Allen, who played 13-year-old Jenna Rink (portrayed by Jennifer Garner) in the cult-classic film 13 Going on 30, turned 30. She wore a version of the iconic striped Versace dress worn by Garner in the film, and the internet went wild.

Cider created a replica of the dress, and it quickly went viral. Vogue ran a story about the $13 dress, with quotes from Fenco Lin, and suddenly, Cider was on the map.

But it didn't take long for critics to note that potential theft was at play. Allen bought her dress from designer Wanda Cobar, who sells the made-to-order piece on Etsy. It cost 368 euros, so it's easy to see why Cider's dress ($20) flew off the shelves instead. More accusations of copycat designs followed.

Are the Clothes Good Quality?

There's only a certain level of quality that such a low price point can allow. "Cider's clothes are cheap because they are produced in China, where the cost of labor is low, and most clothes listed are made of lesser-quality fabrics like polyester, so they can afford to sell them for less," says Alvarado.

Because Cider sources its items from a range of manufacturers, some shoppers take issue with the consistency of its sizing. While you might be a medium in one piece, you could be a large or even an extra-large in another, so be sure to check the size chart for each individual item.

Then, there's the shipping. Customers can expect to wait about a week before receiving their orders—and that's best case scenario. "It takes seven to nine business days to ship, which, if you include weekends, is about two weeks before you'll see your order," says Alvarado.

That also helps Cider keep prices low: "They are saving money by not providing express shipping," says Alvarado.

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Is Cider Clothing Ethical?

pink and purple crochet sweater from Cider

There are a few factors to consider.

Waste and overproduction: Cider touts that it has a "smart fashion" model: "We only produce what our customers want," it writes on its website. "We adjust production in real-time based on customer feedback and data, producing less waste than traditional retail fashion brands."

However, watchdog group Good On You gave Cider, like many other fast-fashion companies, a "very poor" sustainability rating and claims the "smart fashion" model could be greenwashing, which is when clothing brands use vague language to make themselves appear more sustainable than they are.

"It uses few lower-impact materials, producing scores of clothes overwhelmingly made from harmful fabrics like virgin polyester and spandex," writes Good on You of the brand. The retailer also promotes overconsumption by dropping new styles frequently.

Chemicals used in manufacturing: There have been no reports about chemicals in Cider's clothing specifically, but clothes from brands like Shein and AliExpress, which use similar manufacturers, have turned up positive for elevated levels of chemicals like lead, PFAs, and phthalates, according to a report by the CBC. These can be harmful to both the wearer and the environment when they're sent to the landfill.

Accusations of intellectual property theft: The 13 Going on 30 dress by Wanda Cobar wasn't the only time Cider was accused of stealing. Like many fast-fashion brands, there are numerous instances. In 2021, designer @crochetbao posted a photo on Instagram of a strawberry-pattern sweater she had crocheted next to an image of a strawberry sweater on Cider. "Cider sole my Picnic Garden design," she wrote. "Sure, they changed the neckline and the back panel a little, but this design is undeniably mine."

In 2022, creator @lydiaboldon_  explained that a jacket she had sold on Etsy had been ripped off by Cider. "I know we always see big brands copying small designers but I kinda thought it wouldn't happen to me because of the way I work from 2nd hand materials and how most things I make are a ONE-OFF!!"

Reports of unethical working conditions: Many fast-fashion brands pay low wages to make cheap, cute clothes. "While Cider does audit some of its suppliers, the fact that it doesn't appear to pay a living wage across any of its supply chain is a huge red flag," writes Good On You.

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Tips for How to Shop Cider

Closeup of a bachelor using his credit card to make online payments. Hands of a man paying for an online order. Shopping online has never been easier. A debit card and cellphone are all you need

Don't Shop for Staples

Because Cider is a fast-fashion brand, the quality doesn't always hold up over time. If you're looking for basics that will last you for years and look crisp the entire time, you'll likely want to shop elsewhere. By investing more in you're clothing upfront, you'll get more bang for your buck in the long run.

Get Familiar With the Return Policy

Cider offers free returns as long as you request one within 14 days of receiving the order and make the return within seven days of receiving the return label.

You can't make exchanges. You can either get the money sent back to your original form of payment or receive store credit. Some items, like ones marked final sale, might not be eligible for returns.

Their customer service team is also available to help out in the case of missing information and lost packages—but only if you act fast. Once the item has left the facility, your chances of getting a refund shrink dramatically.

Check Sizing Charts

You shouldn't go with your gut when choosing your size on Cider. Instead, use the sizing guide, which is available for each item right near the size options. Size guidelines might change from item to item, so you should assess each piece separately.

Read the Reviews

Cider has a comprehensive review section, and you should always check it before ordering. You'll be able to see an item's star rating on a scale of one to five; reviewers can even leave comments and share pictures of the pieces. When deciding to make a purchase, you can scan the reviews to see if most customers seemed happy with their product, if the piece arrived on time, and if the photos that reviewers shared looked the same as the ones advertised.


Cider has lots of cool, trendy items that frequently go viral on TikTok. Before shopping on the website or app, you'll want to decide if the quality is worth it since many shoppers report items don't hold up for the long term. You should also do your due diligence to read reviews of different pieces and read the return policy closely. For more fashion industry news and advice, visit Best Life again soon.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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