Not everything that glitters is gold: All about fast and ultra-fast fashion
Let’s talk about some of the most important concepts in the fashion industry. Today, we’ll talk about “Fast Fashion” and how has it evolved over the years. Learn the evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion.
At some point in our lives, we have all worn this type of fashion. Thus, this trend reached the closet of billions.
As a result of this, we are now going to explain this concept in simple words. This way everyone can understand it.
Before explaining this process of evolution we must know…
What is Fast Fashion?
The term Fast Fashion talks about a phenomenon present in the world of fashion.
This comprises the creation of trend clothes at a faster pace and low cost.
Its origins go as far back as the 19th century. However, thanks to technological evolution, it gained more strength in the middle of the 20th century.
Now, due to the speed with which the world moves, the fashion world had to adapt to move forward.
Pioneers of fast fashion
It’s very likely that at some point, you’ve seen something interesting at Zara but couldn’t buy it after waiting for a bit.
Why does this happen? You can blame Fast Fashion.
Zara (Inditex), Bershka, H&M, Forever 21 (which had to close), Topshop, Mango, among others are just some of the best-known pioneers. Not only that, but people consider Amancio Ortega to be the father of fast fashion. All of this thanks to his popular Zara store.
Nonetheless, the truth is that this movement started with small shops in Europe during the 20th century.
Factors of change, the evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion
Digital communication tools, online sales, and consumer demands are some factors that allowed fashion to move forward as fast as it has.
Now, fashion can arrive at your door in a matter of days. Besides, influencers are constantly looking for the next new thing to maintain their audience. This is because today’s youth gets bored very easily.
As a result, social media is the perfect place to show off their recent purchases. It’s also a place to promote a brand and provide new offers.
Another factor that gave way to the evolution of fast fashion is trends. Everyone wants to be like the great artists and celebrities of today. As a result, people will want to wear the most recent trends and clothes. But, to satisfy such want, a larger phenomenon is necessary.
All this has led to the birth of “ultra-fast fashion”, a fashion even faster than what it now exists.
How these phenomena work and their way of business
It reduces the useful life of clothes to their use per season. It usually means that once a season is over, the clothes aren’t useful anymore and thus discarded for the next season. As a result, many fashion brands create 15 to 20 collections per year.
For this, they must constantly study current trends. From this, they can identify the needs and desires of consumers.
High fashion copies. This is very common in fast and ultra-fast fashion.
This means that if brands like Balenciaga, Valentino, or Dior bring out their new beautiful designs, people will copy and produce them with near 60% accuracy for a cheap price.
Creation and production. The evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion. The time needed for this is only six weeks
They base their strategies on rotating their garments quickly. If it is not sold within a few months, they offer all the remaining pieces at auction prices. This, in turn, creates the need for new clothing.
The evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion. An inventory doesn’t exist in this world. Fashion brands regularly renew clothes at least once a week. This way they keep their clients always on the lookout for new products.
The creation of products and marketing takes just a week or two. Brands such as Boohoo, ASOS, and Missguided rank number one in ultra-fast fashion. This is because they create their products in a two to four-week period.
A term that best describes this movement would be “Test and Repeat”. Ultra-fast fashion works by creating designs in a few batches to test the likes of people.
If the demand for those items is good, they will work with supply chains that quickly adapt to inventory. This way, they will produce much more in just a matter of days.
This method makes the sale of the pieces possible at a full price, creating fewer discounts.
Besides, in the fashion world, sales through digital platforms are the most successful. With just one click, the consumer or customer has the option to choose which product to buy and how to receive it. Thus, electronic commerce is the best ally of ultra-fast fashion.
Its audience is mostly young. The boom in social media forced the fashion world to adapt to it. And for a young based social media platform, you need constant and fast innovation.
“Offshoring” or “nearshoring”, two modes of production
Another way of work used by many ultra-fashion brands is “Offshoring”.
This comprises the transfer of production centers far away from the main sales centers. As a result, production costs go down and it allows brands to manufacture in larger quantities.
However, not everything that shines is gold. A major downside of this practice is the fact that these centers are in places where laws and human rights aren’t respected. The evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion. Thus, thousands of people end up working in poor and inhuman conditions.
Other brands have decided to work with the “nearshoring” way. The evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion. In contrast, this works by producing garments closer to the points of sale. This way of creating fashion saves time for brands as production is nearby.
But, according to fashion consultants, like Miebach Consulting, these trends are not in conflict. The company is the one who decides how or when to use them. For this, they must take into account their production.
Which one is better for the fast-fashion business
For the fast fashion movement, the focus isn’t on the competition with companies. Instead, the focus is on supply chains.
If your fashion brand has efficient supply companies, it will always be on top of trends and news. This, in turn, allows you to have good sales without interacting with the competition.
However, if your fashion brand doesn’t have a fast supply chain, it will not keep you stocked with trends quickly. And regardless of your marketing strategies, the company will suffer in terms of its competition.
These are just two ways to create products for sale thinking of several factors such as.
- low costs per unit
- quality standards established by a country
- labor costs
Everything will depend on the needs that they must cover according to their type of market.
Some fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion brands could apply both modalities. As is the case with Zara, the company that has a great mystery about its supply chains, but which shows that it has factories from Spain to Asia.
Marketing strategies used in fast and ultra-fast fashion brands
None of these phenomena has as a strategy to position the brand or make it known by holding fashion shows. This is not possible due to how quickly its garments vary.
All strategies focus on excellent marketing work using digital tools to promote its collections successfully.
It’s very common for companies to use models, influencers, and well-known personalities to promote their brands. This can be through special events for them or using social media to create posts or videos. For example, platforms like Instagram and YouTube are very useful and effective for the advertising of new products.
Some of the most famous brands are experts in creating impactful digital content. Not only that but most of them present their seasonal collections through lookbooks.
A website represents the brand’s showcase. All brands that work under this modality must have a website with their products for sale. It must be attractive and good enough so that users make purchases through it. Besides, this is what will generate the most income.
Advertising without investment, the evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion
These are brands with a large number of sales, famous for having all the trends and comfortable prices. AS a result, young people recommend them which in turn creates organic advertising.
These young consumers passionate about fashion consume fast fashion or ultra-fast fashion products. Not only that but to continue growing their platforms, as a means of work, they use brand products to show them through digital platforms.
An example of this is Haul Videos, here, these influencers open the new products and give their first impression of them. That’s not all, videos, where they express their shopping experiences, are also very popular. However, some of them prefer to just create a post on Instagram about it.
On the other hand, we cannot forget word of mouth, one of the cheapest advertising strategies of all. We all have that friend that says: I like it! Where you bought it?
Press communication strategy
Press releases and press kits are also quite common as communication strategies for brands that fall into this category.
It is very common to create press releases and press kits for the media.
This way, they will also be able to disseminate the most important collections, especially those that are made with the collaboration of some personality.
Disadvantages of fast fashion or ultra-fast fashion for the consumer
Although the sale of this type of fashion is a success in sales and accepted by consumers, there are some notorious negative aspects in these modalities of creating fashion.
They don’t pass the test of time
These phenomena are also known as “disposable fashion”. This term was used due to the poor quality of many pieces.
The fabrics and materials used to create the garments often do not meet sustainability standards. Most of these manufacturing industries use fully synthetic petroleum fibers such as polyester.
Thus, some textures can become uncomfortable, other fabrics tend to fade, pieces can shrink, etc. And the garments are thrown away much more quickly.
Despite this, it is necessary to emphasize that this doesn’t slow down the industry, nor does it reduce its sales. For a consumer who is interested in being constantly with the latest trends and who has enough monetary capital to renew their wardrobe, ultra-fast fashion is perfect.
Fashion as a uniform
Another disadvantage is the loss of originality. Many bet to say that this factor is lost when shopping in fast fashion stores. Despite selling trends, the production is so large and the sales so sought after that everyone ends up buying the same piece to show it off.
But this does not stop the sector either.
Many prefer to buy the trend in these large chain stores and seek originality using their own style.
This means, that they come up with new and unique styles for these clothes.
List of stores that manufacture Ultra-fast fashion
How to know if the brand where we buy produces fashion with these two modalities? Here we are going to give you a list of the most famous stores that produce clothes in a short time. However, identifying them is easy taking into account the aforementioned characteristics.
New look, Oysho, Primark, Pull & Bear, Shasa, She In, Stradivarius, TopShop, United Colors of Benetton, Uniqlo, Uterque, Urban Outfitter, Zaful, Zara, Bohoo, Bershka, Mango, GAP, and more.
She In, Zaful and Missguided are brands that accurately portray ultra-fast fashion for the consumer. These work through the web with their online stores. They sell trends updating in the shortest time possible and use the “test-and repeat” method.
Common people also work in fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion brands.
What does this mean? That fast fashion not only works directly from its stores and business plans.
Latin American countries aren’t considered fashion capitals, thus trends and collections always arrive long after they become “old”. This is because they first pass through the main stores of any brand.
So this, added to a lifestyle where many live from informal commerce, they have created resellers who buy pieces from these fast-fashion big brands that produce ultra-fast fashion.
Your opponent, Slow Fashion: How does it work?
The phenomenon “Slow Fashion or sustainable fashion” was an invention of Kate Fletcher in 2008. As you can imagine, this is the opposite of “fast fashion or ultra-fast fashion”. Meaning that it supports responsible consumption. For this, it teaches the consumer to be mindful when purchasing a product. Understanding the impact that the clothing industry has on the environment and society.
To apply this modality, slow fashion asks its consumer to keep the following in mind:
The duration of the clothing, that it is made with good materials, that it is sustainable and non-polluting and that it is made in fair and humane conditions.
How fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion affect the planet
If we speak of these terms it would be a sin not to speak of the problems that these ways of operating carry.
For these times, where information runs as fast as fashion, it’s no secret how these stores create millions of garments a year.
The constant and accelerated production of fashion has caused environmental and social consequences which are putting the planet at stake daily.
Environmental problems, the evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion
According to a report by the United Nations, the second most polluting industry is clothing.
Only 20% is due to global wastewater.
Since many garments discarded by fashion brands are destroyed creating landfills that end up in the waters.
Besides generating enormous amounts of CO2 due to the chemicals and dyes that the fabrics have.
The success of these famous and successful clothing stores comes from overseas exploitation. To specify, from countries like Turkey, Mexico, Bangladesh, India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.
The exploitation of human capital is another issue that worries consumers of ultra-fast fashion.
Many factories don’t meet the proper conditions that the workers deserve, failing to comply with human rights and favoring exploitation.
People working for extremely low wages are exploited. Not only that but they suffer from inhuman treatment and unsafe work environments.
On YouTube, we can find very interesting information about the textile industry in low-income countries. Here’s a video where you can learn more about the story behind what we don’t see in stores:
Conclusion of the evolution from fast fashion to ultrafast fashion
Is fast fashion or ultra-fast fashion bad? Will it be more beneficial to pause this style of business or try to find solutions?
Where companies see the opportunity to lighten prices, reduce costs and produce unimaginable amounts of clothing per year, viewers see a huge and unforgivable fact that is affecting us in areas such as the environment, human rights, among others.
However, for people living in countries with minimal opportunities for support and unfavorable conditions, these phenomena have allowed them to obtain at least some money to lead their lives.
What we do know is that the world of fashion is a large sector where we all have unconscious or conscious participation.
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