What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing models that are quickly moving from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. The collections are often based on models presented at Fashion Week events. Fast fashion allows mainstream consumers to buy trendy clothes at an affordable price.
Fast fashion has become common due to cheaper clothing, an increase in appetite for fashionable clothing and increased purchasing power of consumers. Because of all of this, fast fashion is challenging new fashion lines that are introduced on a seasonal basis by traditional fashion houses. In fact, it is not uncommon for fast fashion retailers to introduce new products several times in a week to stay on trend.
Understanding fast fashion
Clothing shopping was once considered an event. Consumers would save money to buy clothes at certain times of the year. But that changed in the late 1990s, with shopping becoming a form of entertainment and the demand for clothing increasing. Get into fast fashion, the cheapest and trendiest clothes that made consumers feel like they were wearing the same clothes that were on the runway at fashion shows.
Fast fashion is made possible by innovations in supply chain management (SCM) at fashion retailers. Its goal is to quickly produce clothing at a lower cost. These garments meet the changing demands of consumers. The assumption is that consumers want high fashion at a low price.
Fast fashion follows the concept of category management, connecting the manufacturer to the consumer in a mutually beneficial relationship. The speed at which fast fashion occurs requires this type of collaboration, as the need to refine and speed up supply chain processes is paramount.
Fast fashion leaders
The Spanish chain Zara is anything but synonymous with fast fashion, serving as an example to reduce the time between design, production and delivery.
Other big names in fashion include H&M from Sweden, UNIQLO from Japan, GAP and Forever 21 from the United States, and Topshop from England.
More traditional department stores such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s in the United States have all taken a page from Zara’s book, shortening design and production times to better compete in the market.
- Fast fashion describes the clothing models that move from the catwalk to the stores to meet new trends.
- Fast fashion competes with fashion houses which continue to introduce new fashion lines on a seasonal basis.
- Innovations in supply chain management at fashion retailers make fast fashion possible.
- The leaders in the fast fashion industry are Zara, H&M, UNIQLO, Gap and Forever 21.
The advantages of fast fashion
Fast fashion is a boon for retailers because the constant introduction of new products encourages customers to visit stores more often, which means they end up making more purchases. The speed at which fast fashion is evolving tends to help retailers avoid markdowns, which reduces margins. The company does not replenish its stock, but replaces items that sell with new items. As a result, consumers know how to buy an item they like when they see it, regardless of the price, because it is unlikely to be available for long.
Fast fashion is also responsible for big profits, especially if a retailer is able to jump on a trend before the competition. And if there are losses, fashion retailers can recover quickly by launching a new line of clothing or a new product. And because the clothes are cheap (and made cheaply), it’s easy to bring consumers back to the stores to buy the new clothes and styles.
Fast Fashion’s reviews
Despite the benefits for customers, fast fashion has also been criticized for encouraging a “disposable” attitude. That’s why it’s also called disposable fashion – clothes are made inexpensively in a style that will change very quickly.
Critics argue that fast fashion contributes to pollution, poor workmanship and poor working conditions in developing countries, where many garments are made. Because the clothes are made abroad, they are also considered to cause a drop in manufacturing in the United States.
This trend has also been criticized for intellectual property reasons, with some designers alleging that their creations had been mass produced illegally by retailers.