Definition of Fast Fashion and its Potential Customers

The term fast fashion refers to clothes collections which are based on the latest trends which are presented in the fashion week all around the world. The clothes are designed and manufactured at a fast speed which gives consumers the chance to buy them with low and accessible prices. The key to fast fashion is style and price. Most of the designs are similar to high street stores. Fast fashion has implemented a logistic system that is based on going faster than the idea itself, which allow the design, the production and put off the garments in the business. Fast fashion is based on the design with little time in advance at the beginning of every season and usually, most of the designs are produced with low quantities per model. But it is also designed and produced several times during the season. The replacement and rotation of product must be very frequent to motivate customers to buy new products every two to three weeks. People in this industry create the need, the make the garments, they sell them and after a few months, the offer them at lower prices, to recreate the need for new clothing. Most of the people who shop in this category require variety in their closets and do not necessarily focus on the quality or durability of it. “Many fast fashion companies openly say that products will last for about ten washes, after which the product will start to deteriorate due to poor quality materials and manufacturing the latter is some they do not say” (Digital Commons,2016). Although, fast fashion is considered a copy of most premium and exclusive brands at a lower cost because the products have poorer quality. Shopping at fast fashion stores create an instant happiness since customers can purchase a variety of trendy clothes with more than the half prices of high-end stores. The impact of social media has a direct relationship toward the fast fashion. There are thousands of pictures posted every day in different sites like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest of models or influencers wearing expensive pieces of clothes. Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 3 In consequence, those pictures stimulate interests in consumers and increase their desires in purchasing certain things. Marketing Strategies of Fast Fashion Some of the biggest players in the fast fashion industry are, Inditex, a Spanish company which includes brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Oysho, Uterque, Lefites, and Stradivarius. On the other hand, brands like Forever 21 and H&M are representatives in this industry as well. There are three strategies that push the growth of fast fashion retailers in another level. The first one is speed and agility. In most countries, capture millennial consumers is the key to the business. A company like ASOS stocks over 60,000 products at any time in their e-commerce system thanks to their supply chain. ASOS makes sure to understand their consumers by providing the best service online. They study the trend before adjusting their inventory to reduce the risk of unsold stocks. The second strategy that has one the biggest influence is celebrity endorsement and social media. Brands make sure to invest a decent portion in advertising, working with celebrities and influencers to boost brand awareness. They know to get closer to the consumers by using platforms like Instagram and Facebook to promote their newest products. “Many retailers have Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 4 started to act more like media brands- fusing the worlds of shopping, entertainment, and social media” (Econsultancy, 2017). The last strategy that is not used widely is approaching fast but not necessarily the first one to offer. This technique is used mostly by Zara. It only invests 0.3% of sales on advertising. However, it focuses on the exclusivity factor. Even if people know that Zara copies most of its products from exclusive brands however, it still gives consumers the feeling of being unique. Zara’ strategy focuses on its location and the appearance of its stores. Consumers can only find Zara at high street retail areas in major metropolises which will give consumers a higher end feeling. Economic Growth of Fast Fashion The apparel industry, in general, has been growing nonstop since 2011 and does not show symptoms for some decreases for the next couple of years. The interest in shopping has been increasing which the apparel sections take a great part of it. From 2012 to 2018, the average growth is 4.9% which percentage is higher than the global economic growth in general. Without any surprises, the fast fashion industry is taking over comparing to high end or middle-class fashion industry. “Fast fashion has turned from a fringe enterprise into leaders of the fashion industry. These days, high-society brands struggle to keep their market presence Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 5 because fast fashion products are similar to the untrained eye and come at a large fraction of the price.” (Foundation for Economic Education, 2017) Positive and Negative Effects of Fast Fashion Fast fashion entails the manufacture of clothes that have quick trends on the market and also reach the customer at lower prices. Fast fashion has both positive and negative effects. The positive effects of fast fashion are not many as compared to its negative effects. One of the positive effects of fast fashion is that designers can create new designs for the people who love fashion, and also the designers feel great when they introduce a new trend of fashion in the market. Secondly, new talents can be discovered through fast fashion, and they are able to create new designs that have not been seen in the industry. Thirdly, fast fashion also creates employment because more people are employed to make clothes and even provide employment to the people who sell the clothes so as to make a living (Perry, 2018). Fourthly, fast fashion facilitates the growth of fashion designers, who put lots of effort and ensure that they use their talent and creativity to keep growing. On the other hand, the talent and creativity applied by fashion designers can produce rapid profits because their products market themselves since they are able to create unique and fashionable clothes for their customers. Lastly, fast fashion can easily recover from losses in case of failure in a particular fashion trend. This is because the fashion designer can easily launch a new product that may become a success over a short period. In contrast, fast fashion has many negative effects. The first one is that most of the fashion designers who do not have new designs might steal the designs of their colleagues to become more successful on the market. Also, the fashion craze can make people non-conformists just because they want to be proven as different and unique (Perry, 2018). Most of the clothes Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 6 created by fast fashion have a particular outward appearance, which might portray negative attributes of the wearer. Fabric finishes and prints, and vibrant colors are attractive elements of fashion outfits and most of them are achieved using toxic chemicals. Polyester is the popular fabric utilized for fashion, and it removes microfibers that increase the amounts of plastic in the oceans (Perry, 2018). As a result, these microfibers pass in the sewage and water purification plants into the waterways, and therefore they become a danger to the aquatic life. On the other hand, the aquatic life consumes the microfibers and is also eaten by fish which end up being consumed by people. Clothes are produced from cotton which is grown and requires a lot of water to avert crop failure. However, this can cause problems for the environment especially in developing countries which lack appropriate investment in the environment. As such, it can create disasters such as drought. Besides, this type of cotton can also breed superweeds which are resistant to normal pesticides, and they can also damage the soil and harm the people and animals because they can only be treated with toxic pesticides (CITI IO, 2017). The chemical used in preventing pests in the growing of cotton causes serious birth defects in children and also brain cancers which are painful to human beings. Fast fashion also affects the working conditions of people in several ways in the developing countries. Firstly, in developing countries, underage children are forced to work because of poverty and sometimes their parents are forced to go to work with their children due to harsh conditions like working overtime without pay (Forbes, 2017). Secondly, most of the workers in the fashion industry work in buildings that are not safe for them. As such, most of the clothes industries can catch fire while workers are still on the building leading to their deaths, and their families not compensated. Thirdly, workers in the developing countri Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 7 treated harshly, for instance, by getting low pay, long working hours, forced overtime without payment, and lack of medical cover. Also, in some countries, women usually experience physical, verbal abuse, and even sexual abuse among others in their working places. Another bad working condition is that in many fast fashion factories, workers are not given clean water for drinking and are also not allowed to use the toilet when they need to. Most of the worker’s reproductive systems health may be harmed due to the exposure to chemicals, noise, heat, overwork, and even exhaustion (Forbes, 2017). Lastly, most of the women working in these cloth industries face harsh conditions such as pregnant women who are forced to work long hours while standing, they are placed in hotter conditions and are also denied maternity leave. Fast fashion also lowers the standards of women and especially young women in society due to poverty. In today’s world, 75 million people are making clothes in industries. However, 80% of the work is done by young women who range from 18 to 24 years old, and most of them earn less than $3 a day (Siegle, 2018). As such, most of the cheap clothes are usually made by underage workers who range from 14 years and above. These young ladies work for 14 hours a day in the sweatshops, dealing with sexual harassment, and getting low wages. Fast fashion has caused pollution on the environment because of the increased disposable clothes that are causing excessive stockpiles of environmentally damaging waste, air pollution, and water pollution. Lastly, fast fashion has also led to human trafficking because of the increased demand for casual workers. Alternatives to Buying Fast Fashion As a consumer, it’s important to be educated on the effects of fast fashion. Not only does fast fashion negatively affect the people making the clothes it also impacts the environment. Even though some of the effects of fast fashion can’t be reversed there are alternatives to buying Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 8 fast fashion. Educating consumers on how to stop supporting fast fashion brands and how to lower consumption will have a positive impact on the world we live in. Since fast fashion encourages consumers to buy clothes to keep up with the changing trends, consumers end up purchasing clothes very frequently even though they might not need it. Consumers need to change their mindset when it comes to clothes shopping. Fast fashion encourages people to always dress on trend which results in excessive clothes buying. The first way that can that a person can be a smarter consumer is by purchasing fewer items. Instead of frequently being low-quality trendy items consumers should focus on better quality pieces that will last for a long time. Also, consumers should try and only purchase items that they love and they will use for years to come. It’s important for consumers to overcome the fast fashion mindset of frequently being cheap clothes. The next way that people can be more mindful consumers is by buying second-hand clothing. Instead of giving into the fast fashion mindset and frequently buying new clothes, consumers should attempt to purchase clothes from thrift stores or consignment shops. It’s not necessary to always buy new clothing when there are great options at the thrift store. It’s also possible to buy clothes from online thrift stores such as thredUP and Poshmark that are perfect for consumers who want the online shopping experience but want to buy thrifted clothes. There are also websites such as The Online Marketplace which is geared towards moms that wish to buy and sell clothes that their children have grown out of (Znamierowski, 2016). In today’s world, there are multiple options to buying thrift clothes. It’s not necessary for consumers to go out and go to thrift stores, but they can buy secondhand clothes online on multiple credible websites. Buying second-hand extends the lifetime of a manufactured item and also lowers how much clothes get thrown into landfills. In 2016, 26 billion pounds of clothes ended up in landfills Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 9 (Goldberg, 2016). Buying and selling thrift clothes will lower how much clothes ends being thrown into landfills. Buying at thrift stores also allows consumers to buy unique pieces. Since people donate all kinds of clothes from different time periods to thrift stores, consumers are able to find clothes that fit their style while also not giving into fast fashion. The third way consumers are able to not contribute to the fast fashion industry is by fixing their own clothes once they rip. In today’s society once a piece of clothes rips many people will just throw it out, but instead of doing that consumers should attempt to repair them (Znamierowski, 2016). Simple tears in clothes can be repaired by sewing up the broken area. Today’s society has access to multiple sources of information where it is possible to learn new skills like YouTube. So instead of throwing out clothes with small rips, consumers should fix them and continue to use them. By doing this a consumer can prolong the life of their clothes and won’t have to frequently purchase new clothes. By doing simple things such as sewing up a broken area in a shirt a consumer is able to live in a way that won’t harm the environment. The fourth way that a consumer can avoid buying into fast fashion is by using clothes rental websites. By using a clothes rental website a consumer is able to get new clothes to wear and then once they don’t want the clothes they can return them to the company. This allows consumers to frequently use wear new pieces of clothing without having to own an extensive wardrobe. Consumers are able to feel like they are wearing the latest trends without having to constantly purchase new clothes. A popular clothes rental website is Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway offers various packages so all kinds of consumers are able to find what they are looking for. An example of a package offered by Rent the Runway is called RTR Update which allows a customer to rent four pieces of clothes for $89 a month with the ability to exchange for new Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 10 pieces each month (Paddison, 2017). Using a clothes rental website gives a consumer the opportunity to constantly be wearing different clothes without having to purchase new clothing. The last way a consumer can make better decisions and not contribute to the fast fashion industry is by purchasing from ethical brands. There is an increasing number of brands that are dedicated to ethical and sustainable practices. An example of an ethical company that is trying to decrease the amount of waste in the world is Houdini Sportswear. Houdini Sportswear is a clothing company that sells organic, chemical-free clothes. The clothes from Houdini Sportswear are made to be thrown into the compost heap once they are beyond repair. A composter can make compost from old clothes from Houdini Sportswear (Paddison, 2017). By purchasing from a company like Houdini Sportswear, a consumer can decrease the amount of clothing they throw away that will eventually end up in a landfill. The only downside to Houdini Sportswear is that the clothes are expensive, but the company does offer clothes rental for a lower price. For anyone not able to afford clothes from a company like Houdini Sportswear there many affordable ethical clothing brands like Everlane, Pact, Alternative Apparel, and People Tree (Paddison, 2017). Those are just a few ethical clothing brands, but there are numerous companies that are dedicated to ethical practices. Not only are there ethical clothing companies consumers can also buy shoes from ethical companies like Veja. Veja is a shoe company that sells vegan sneakers that are made in Brazilian factories where workers are treated fairly and paid well (Paddison, 2017). There are many options when looking into ethical companies. There are numerous companies that sell clothes and shoes at different price points it’s just necessary for consumers to find clothes that fit into their budget and lifestyle. With so many ethical clothing brands out there consumers don’t have to give into buying fast fashion. Georgia Gwinnett College The Fast Fashion Industry 11 It’s crucial for consumers to understand how their shopping habits negatively impact others and the environment. Buying from fast fashion companies isn’t the only way to obtain affordable and stylish clothes. By incorporating different habits like buying less, buying thrifted clothes, fixing torn clothes, renting clothes, and buying from ethical companies consumers will be able to make purchases that don’t harm our world and the people that live in it. Consumers need to change their mindset when it comes to shopping if they want to make a positive difference.

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