Fast fashion is a term that is used to describe a new trend in the fashion industry that is characterized by high speed and low prices in order to provide customers with popular collections that reflect celebrity styles and catwalk presentations. Manufacturers are able to reduce costs by cutting environmental corners. Therefore, fast fashion has many downsides. The most noticeable ones are a high level of pollution and enormous textile waste. However, one particular aspect deserves more careful consideration. It is the impact of fast fashion on the entire fashion industry. The main goal of this paper is to argue that the effect that fast fashion has had on the fashion industry is mostly negative.
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Fast fashion cultivates a new consumer culture. Such companies as H&M, Gap, or Buffalo offer incredibly popular and cheap clothes. For this reason, people buy too many clothing items. Excessive consumption is even considered by some specialists as a mental disorder. They call such people shopaholics. However, this behavioral pattern is perceived as normal by the prevailing majority. A wide range of colors, fabrics, and other features are too appealing to resist the temptation for millions of customers around the globe (McNeill & Moore 2015).
Also, retailers hold big sales to generate more interest. Such offers as two for one or 50 percent discount might be suggested almost in any store. In addition, shopping improves confidence as people feel better when they look better. However, in comparison with the previous generation of customers, this trend is absolutely unusual. In the past, people did not need and have so many different clothes. Another problem is that modern consumers who buy all these products do not even use most of them.
Statistics demonstrate an enormous growth in the fashion industry. The apparel industry market has increased by almost 100 percent for the previous five years (Singh 2017). This is an unprecedented change in this field. Other statistics show that the global fashion industry was valued at approximately $1.4 trillion in sales in 2017 (Singh 2017). Moreover, clothing companies continue speeding up this trend. Some specialists predict that the size of the apparel industry market might have reached $1.65 trillion in global sales by 2020 (Singh 2017).
Therefore, each year people increase their spending on clothes. Different statistics prove that interest in shopping is becoming greater in comparison with previous years. Therefore, it might be expected that in the nearest future the global economy will be faced with a huge burst in the fashion industry.
Many specialists raise the question of what has led to such a rapid development of the fashion industry. The answer is the phenomenon of fast fashion that occurred at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This phenomenon was driven by people’s desire to look trendy. The celebrity culture cultivated the passion for striking appearance among the general public. However, it required a lot of money. That is why many companies began producing clothes that met the expectations of customers.
They tried to replicate designs that had been developed by the leading fashion players, for example, Prada or Louis Vuitton (Brooks 2015). Such companies as Zara and Uniqlo succeeded in this endeavor and became highly popular around the world. The most successful fast fashion companies have developed effective supply chain systems that ensured a fast implementation of their strategies (Turker & Altuntas 2014). Elaborate logistic operations were the key element in their production processes.
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Other companies adopted these methods, making the industry greater and greater. Such production patterns have never been used by traditional clothing companies. Another important aspect of the apparel industry that was affected by the occurrence of fast fashion is a four-season fashion calendar. In fact, it seized to exist. New micro-seasons have become much more relevant. However, the ability to quickly address customers’ wants and needs is not the only change that fast fashion has brought about in the industry.
Another important attribute of such businesses is limited stock on all their products (Cook & Yurchisin 2017). Clothing companies can make unplanned stock orders to respond to the new demands of customers. Such a connection with the latest fashion trends makes it possible to import up-to-date products even several times a week.
As mention above, it is a world-scale issue. Popular and inexpensive clothes cause real addiction in people throughout the globe. Globalization makes it possible to offer such products in every country (Choi et al. 2014). Also, fast fashion provides multiple job opportunities. The industry employs tens of thousands of people each year.
Fast fashion companies got started as outsiders. However, nowadays, the situation has drastically changed. They have transformed the fashion industry and turned into leaders. High-quality, prestigious brands have lost their influential status and needed to struggle to be present on the market. Fast fashion products look similar to products offered by high fashion clothing brands, but the price might be ten times lower. It is almost impossible to compete with shirts that cost $10 if a company adheres to high-quality standards of production and service.
Fast fashion has a significant cultural effect. The people’s perception of attire is absolutely different in comparison with the people living in the twentieth century. The accessibility of products devalues their worth in the eyes of the general public. Also, this trend has affected the prestigious status of high-quality clothing companies. Nowadays, many customers honor fast fashion firms. In addition, celebrities participate in marketing campaigns of such companies. For example, Pharell Williams worked with Uniqlo (Pharrell Williams for UNIQLO UT 2014 spring summer collection 2014). Celebrities have changed the image of fast fashion brands.
Another significant change is that luxury clothing companies have begun to collaborate with fast fashion firms. Such processes benefit either of them because partnership increases their values. However, there are many problems that occur in such unions. The most common issue is intellectual property theft. It is very difficult to prevent and detect.
In conclusion, fast fashion is a negative phenomenon that has changed the fashion industry for the worst. It promotes a distorted consumer culture and encourages manufacturers to produce clothing of low-quality. Also, fast fashion has diminished the special status of luxury brands. Therefore, the entire industry has lost its traditional value. Fast fashion companies mostly replicate products of famous and successful designers. They focus on reducing costs and accelerating manufacturing cycles.
However, it is usually done to the detriment of the quality of products. Therefore, it is necessary to attract attention to this multisided problem. Luxury brands require support as they are leaders who develop the industry. Also, it is very important to emphasize the faultiness of such a consumer culture that cultivates unhealthy ideas and negatively affects a significant sector of the global economy.
Brooks, A 2015, Clothing poverty: the hidden world of fast fashion and second-hand clothes, Zed Books Ltd, London.
Choi, T, Hui, C, Liu, N, Ng, F, and Yu, Y 2014, ‘Fast fashion sales forecasting with limited data and time. Decision Support Systems’, vol. 59, pp.84-92.
McNeill, L & Moore, R 2015, ‘Sustainable fashion consumption and the fast fashion conundrum: fashionable consumers and attitudes to sustainability in clothing choice’, International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 212-222.
Cook, S & Yurchisin, J 2017, ‘Fast fashion environments: consumer’s heaven or retailer’s nightmare?’ International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 45, no. 2, pp.143-157.
Singh, G 2017, Fast fashion has changed the industry and the economy. Web.
Turker, D & Altuntas, C 2014, ‘Sustainable supply chain management in the fast fashion industry: an analysis of corporate reports’, European Management Journal, vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 837-849.
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