Fast fashion is the term used to refer to clothing designs that move quickly from catwalks to stores to capitalize on trends. So what is fast fashion regulation, and do the benefits and criticisms of fast fashion be mutually exclusive? Let’s find out in this article.
1. What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion concept
Collections are often based on styles shown at Fashion Week shows or worn by celebrities. Fast fashion allows the average consumer to buy hot new designs or the next big thing at an affordable price. Fast fashion became popular because of cheaper, faster methods of production and shipping, increased consumer acceptance of the latest styles and increased consumer purchasing power – especially in young people – to satisfy these desires for instant gratification. Because of all of this, fast fashion is defying the tradition of presenting new collections and lines of new clothing brands in a seasonally orderly fashion. In fact, it’s not uncommon for fast fashion retailers to introduce new products several times a week to keep up with trends.
Fast fashion describes cheap yet stylish clothing that moves quickly from designer to retail to meet trends, with new collections being introduced continuously. Zara and H&M are two giants in the fast fashion industry. Others include UNIQLO, GAP, and Topshop. All of them not only offer fast fashion every day but also tons of discounts on clothing to make you want to buy more: H&M Coupons In-Store Printable, Zara Coupon 10% Off, $10 OFF Uniqlo Coupon Codes, etc. Black Friday is coming, and you will see even more numerous Black Friday Uniqlo.
Learn about fast fashion
Shopping for clothes used to be considered an event. Consumers will save up to buy new clothes at certain times of the year. Style-conscious people will get a preview of upcoming styles through fashion shows that showcase new collections and clothing lines months before they hit stores.
But that started to change in the late 1990s when shopping became a form of entertainment and discretionary spending on clothing increased. Fast fashion imports cheap, trendy, mass-produced, low-cost apparel. That allows consumers to feel as if they are wearing the same “walking the catwalk” or being transported animated by a sensual artist.
Fast fashion was created through innovations in supply chain management (SCM) among fashion retailers. Its goal is to rapidly produce cost-effective clothing items to meet (or anticipate) fast-changing consumer needs. The assumption is that consumers want high-end fashion at a low cost. Although clothes are often made carelessly, they are not intended to be worn for many years, even many times.
Fast fashion leaders
Zara, H&M Group, UNIQLO, GAP, Forever 21, Topshop, Esprit, Primark, Fashion Nova, and New Look are leading brands in the fast fashion industry. See the H&M vs Forever 21 quality comparison here. Many companies are both retailers and manufacturers, although they often outsource the actual production of the clothing.
Moreover, traditional mass-market department stores such as Bloomingdales vs Macy’s, J. C. Penney, and Kohl’s in the United States all take a page from the fast fashion book. For in-house and exclusive brands, they have shortened design and production time to better compete in the market.
2. Advantages and disadvantages of Fast Fashion
Advantages of fast fashion
Fast fashion is a boon for business. Constantly introducing new products will encourage customers to visit the stores more often, which means they will buy more. Retailers don’t replenish their inventory — instead, they replace sold-out items with new ones. Accordingly, consumers know to buy an item they like when they see it regardless of the price because it is not available for a long time. And because clothes are cheap (and made cheaply). It’s easy to get people to return to stores or online for new purchases.
Fast fashion is also responsible for large profits, especially if a manufacturer can keep up with trends ahead of the competition. The speed at which fast fashion moves tends to help retailers avoid price cuts, leading to reduced profit margins. If there are any losses, fast fashion companies can recover quickly by launching a new clothing, design, or product line.
In terms of benefits for consumers, fast fashion has allowed people to get the clothes they want when they want. Plus, it makes clothing more affordable—and not just any clothing, but creative, imaginative, stylish clothing. It’s no longer the latest look or being “well-dressed” or having a large wardrobe. But the rich and famous are owning a large wardrobe.
For that reason, advocates argue that fast fashion has had a democratizing effect on fashion – and society. Even people of modest means can constantly buy smart new clothes, indulge in interesting or impractical pieces, and wear something different every day.
Disadvantages of fast fashion
While it benefits consumers, fast fashion has also been criticized for encouraging a “throw-away” attitude. That is why it is also known as disposable fashion. Many fast fashionistas in their teens and early twenties – the age group the industry targets – admit they only wear what they’ve bought once or twice.
You could argue whether such a disposable mentality is actually driving the economy. If so many cheap, fast-fashion garments are bought, consumers will end up paying a high price. Then buying a few more expensive ones that last longer.
After all, it costs the planet more. Critics argue that fast fashion contributes to pollution, waste, and planned obsolescence, due to the cheap materials and production methods it uses. Poor-quality garments don’t take long to age, but they are not recyclable. As they are mainly (more than 60%) made from synthetic materials. So when they’re discarded, they’ll sit in landfills for years.
Most fast fashion companies outsource the production of their goods – often to manufacturers based in developing countries. And some are not so strict about supervising subcontractors, as well as not transparent about their supply chains. That has led critics to argue that fast fashion is built on poor working conditions, low pay, and other abusive and exploitative practices.
Fast fashion has also been criticized for intellectual property reasons, with some designers alleging that their designs have been illegally copied and mass-produced by fast fashion companies.
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