Fast fashion may offer consumers quick and simple access to an affordable yet trendy wardrobe, but the convenience comes at a price. Fast fashion isn’t free. It’s being paid for by someone, somewhere.
The Modern Fashion Market’s Landscape
Over the last two decades, the fashion industry’s needs have changed. This can be ascribed to the consumer’s demand for less expensive clothing or even cultural shifts in attitudes regarding purchasing in general.
Several factors have influenced the evolution of fashion, including the need to reduce the cost of manufacturing, labor, and products; an increase in client expectations; globalization; and technology.
Because the market is continually changing, it is possible that similar traits will emerge within the industry. Here are a few examples:
The product’s life cycle is short. That is, the time it is considered suitable for sale might be very brief — months or even weeks — and the selling seasons are frequently short as well.
This refers to the fashion industry’s ongoing requirement to refresh product ranges to keep up with the rest of the store’s goods season (the frequency with which the merchandise within the store is updated); consumers making high-impulse purchases; and a wide selection of products.
What exactly is Fast Fashion?
“Fast fashion” is a means of producing low-cost clothing quickly in response to the newest fashion trends. Shopping has evolved into a sort of entertainment as a result of the rising desire for low-cost apparel products delivered quickly.
Shoppers go to stores in order to be entertained. Customers have a positive experience when retailers give a feeling of atmosphere, which is usually accomplished by appropriate displays, lighting, and even aromas. Visiting a physical site instead of shopping online provides the customer with the ideal shopping experience, which may lead to a purchase.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Fast Fashion
There are certain advantages to fast fashion. However, there are drawbacks, as there are with most things.
The capacity to respond quickly to market trends allows firms to become more competitive and provide consumers with desired goods faster than ever before. Other advantages of quick fashion include:
A significant surge in the creation of reasonably priced garments. Because there are so many retailers to choose from, buyers won’t have to wait long for what they want.
People, especially students and teenagers, may still experience the pleasure of shopping without having to spend a lot of money.
Although quick fashion is inexpensive, it has a number of drawbacks. The following are some of the reasons to reconsider rapid fashion:
Worker Exploitation in Other Countries: Fast fashion retailers are frequently associated with subcontracting manufacturers in Bangladesh and Myanmar due to their need for low prices and quick availability. These countries’ manufacturers may have less-than-ideal working conditions, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as “sweatshops.”
Environmentally Destructive: According to the Huffington Post, the average American discards 81 pounds of apparel per year. In a given year, this amounts to around 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes in landfills.
Part of this could be attributed to the fast fashion industry’s mass manufacture of apparel. The problem isn’t just with people throwing away their garments; it’s also with the way the clothes are made. Fiber manufacturing requires approximately 145 million tons of coal and 1.5 to 2 trillion gallons of water.
What’s Sustainable Fashion?
Fast fashion has contributed to the rise of a “throwaway culture,” as critics refer to it. Throwaway culture refers to the practice of customers discarding items, foods, and other products rather than recycling or donating them after they are deemed worthless or no longer required.
Buying clothing and treating it as if it were throwaway adds a tremendous amount of weight to the earth and is simply unsustainable.
As a result, businesses are looking into solutions to address the fast-fashion and throwaway culture crisis, resulting in the concept of sustainable fashion.
Clothing, shoes, and accessories that are created, sold, and utilized as sustainably as possible, taking into account both environmental and socioeconomic factors, are known as sustainable fashion. Sustainable fashion comes in seven different forms.
- On-Demand and Made-to-Order
- Clean and Green
- Design that is both high-quality and timeless
- Repair, Redesign, and Upcycling in a Fair and Ethical Way
- The terms “rent,” “lease,” and “swap” are all used interchangeably
- Vintage and secondhand
What Retailers Are Doing to Address thi
Transparency is critical since it is thought to be the first step toward revolutionizing the fashion business. Companies may find it difficult to assure their employees’ safety, suitable working conditions, and basic human rights due to a lack of openness in the industry. When a corporation is entirely transparent, the public knows who makes their garments, who farmed the fabric (cotton, wool, etc.), and under what conditions.
Despite being aware of the drawbacks of the fast-fashion sector, some businesses are not as transparent as they should be. In fact, the 2019 Fashion Transparency Index found that of the 200 businesses examined:
- 72 percent of brands have policies on energy and carbon emissions at the corporate level;
- 5 percent say they are active in supply chain capacity-building projects focused on gender equality and female empowerment;
- and 35 percent have a list of their suppliers.
Some brands, on the other hand, are becoming more transparent and undertaking more significant organizational changes in order to lessen their environmental effect.
Finding a Good Middle Ground
One of the reasons why transparency is vital is because it is difficult to oversee a supply chain if a corporation doesn’t even know where its manufacturing facilities are. The transparency of a company’s industrial supply chain makes it easier to spot and assess actual or prospective human rights violations.