(Image 4, n.d.)
In the early 2000S, Fast Fashion began cut a striking figure in the retail sector. Nowadays, fast fashion may be the key player in the retail industry today. In fiscal 2014, (ended January 31, 2015) Zara had sales of $19.7 Billion, H&M with $20.2 Billion, Uniqlo with $16.6 Billion, Gap with $16.4 Billion, Mango with $2.1 Billion. It’s hard to image that how big for fast fashion market!
Fast fashion collections based on the popular fashion showcase on a runway in every season. The essence for fast fashion clothing is aspects of the supply chain for these trends to be designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively to allow the mainstream consumer to buy current clothing styles at an affordable price. It particularly came to the fore during the vogue for “boho chic” in the mid-2000s. This is actually developed from a product-driven concept based on a manufacturing model referred to as “quick response” developed in the U.S. in the 1980s and moved to a market-based model of “fast fashion” in the late 1990s.
What are the advantages of fast fashion? Firstly, it has short production time. The company can react quickly to recent fashion trends and offers similar styles. Consequently, creates an incentive for the customers to visit the shops more often. Secondly, low price. Those fast fashion products normally will produce in major manufacture countries like China and Turkey. Because of the low labor cost and lower raw material costs, so the final products won’t be high as it was affordable for most people. In generally, if I use two words to describe “fast fashion”, it would be “fast” and “cheap”. Of course, everything has two sides. At the same time, fast fashion also brings in lots problems such as copyright issue, labor conditions, and the environmental impact of the supply chain.
In summary, is fast fashion sustainable and survive for a long term? In the environmental aspect, due to the amount of pollution and waste caused by the fast fashion industry, it’s not encouraged in the realm of sustainability. Some companies like H&M is working to decrease the sector’s environmental footprint. It has created programs that encourage recycling from the public, means provide consumers with bins that allow them to dispose of their unwanted garments that will be transferred into other new products. Although this solution is one way that fashion industry can change the environment, actually the problem is we need new technologies to improve this industry. These technologies offer new ways of using dyes, producing fibers, and reducing the use of natural resources, but it also means that using those new technologies will cause more manufacturing costs, create more value for each production. And it’s not suited for the purpose of fast fashion, which is “cheap”. But how about simply reducing one’s consumption? Since consumers are addicted to fast fashion, but do not they donate those unwanted garments to the charity organizations? Think carefully before you purchase fast fashion products and reuse it in possible.
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Image 4. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/26/forget-fast-fashion-slow-fashion-industrys-sustainable-efforts/