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Fast Fashion

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Over the past few years there has been an apparent change in the fashion retail industry which is taking control of it�s speed. �Fast Fashion’ is the new 21st century phenomenon currently dominating high-street retail.

Stores like H&M and New Look have become the masters of the quick turnaround and are closing in on trends at such a speed that they can have fresh looks on their shelves for the customer, months before the original designer can get their garments shipped out of the factory.

They are racing their competitors to deliver catwalk trends at cost-effective prices and are managing to win the hearts and purses of both wealthy fashionistas and penny-pinching hopefuls! So much so that buying your latest handbag from Peacocks has now become something to boast about than to shy away from and people everywhere are parading their Primark carrier bags!

Stores are making very large profits by selling very large quantities of inexpensive clothing to consumers who look for something new every week and this is due to consumer demands. As fashion continues to grow within society and more and more people seem to take interest and pride in what they and others wear, these high-street stores are feeling more pressure to create new looks faster and cheaper.

“The scrapping of a long-standing quota agreement allows China-which already dominated the market-to increase it’s exports, forcing the price of textiles down even further. Fashion brands may pass this saving on to their consumers”, says Mark Tungate, author of Fashion Brands A-Z “Chain stores could lose out as supermarkets continue to develop lines of cut-price clothing. The gap (no pun intended) between added-value вЂ?fashion brands’ and everyday clothing is likely to become more evident.”

So who is to blame for this dramatic outbreak?

Fashion Weeks are held twice a week all over the world, in order for established designers and fashion houses to display their latest collections. They are held several months before the release in order to allow press and buyers to preview the garments and to give retailers time to arrange purchases or incorporate the designers into their retail marketing.

However in recent years these fashion weeks have evolved into popular entertainment events which are heavily covered by the tabloids and broadsheets. Designers invite celebrity guests to sit in their front rows and it all seems to be about status. Backstage antics, make-up, hairstyles and models will be projected to us using all means of media. Magazines will feature all of the eminent trends for the coming season and celebrities and models will even be given the clothes to wear instantly.

Therefore the consumer is felt as if they are kept waiting. They are not happy with seeing the Spring collections in September and not being able to get them until the following year and high-street retailers are picking up on this frustration and using it to their advantage! Whatever is shown on the catwalks at Yves Saint Laurent, Topshop will be selling one week later at their consumers demand and great delight! (see fig.1)

It used to be the case that trends would be announced at the start of each fashion season but now there seems to be new and exciting trends every week that are published in weekly women’s magazines such as Look the self-proclaimed high-street style bible to cater for our insatiable appetite for shopping! Young females buy ridiculous amounts of clothing to keep up with these ever moving trends which are rooted by the �cool’ celebrity of the moment and what they are wearing.

With the high-street seeming to be taking the lead it is much easier to show readers how to look like their favourite singer because what she is wearing is probably from Miss Selfridge!

The so-called trends put people under pressure to buy more and often. It is portrayed that it would be almost sinful to step out in a jacket from last season! So where better to buy from than the stores that are really helping them to save their money!

Fashion lines within the supermarket also contribute to the notion of �disposable’ fashion. Clothing is now sold so cheap that it can be thrown away after a few wears making room for new purchases. Not so long ago it was seen as lower-class to browse the clothing section at your local Asda, but now the masses are happy to mix their jeans and jumpers with their bread and beans!

Supermarket fashion ranges have really taken off thanks to the fast fashion movement, with Tesco being named as the ninth-most-used clothing retailer in the UK beating River Island and BHS! Asda credit themselves for having created a �fashion democracy’ where no-one is excluded by price.

The secret to their success is trying to create pieces that look like they have flown off the catwalk and are being sold at rock-bottom prices. Their clever marketing pitching themselves at the �high-end of fashion’ means that the items will possibly appear in a glossy magazine as a must-have budget buy!

People find it less stressful and less expensive to shop for clothing whilst conducting their weekly food shop. If you think about the furore that older women want to wear younger looking clothing they may be more likely to buy from Sainsbury’s as they will feel less alienated.

Many people though, are against fast fashion, such as the successful fashion designers who must feel as if their ideas are being stolen. They are getting increasingly resentful at just how quickly ideas and designs get passed around the world. Someone will source the design image before it is revealed, send a photo of it to China, have the item mass-produced and delivered in a few weeks and be selling it for hundreds of pounds cheaper!

In the old days, the great couturiers would present their garments on silhouette and hem length and it would have been up to as much as 5 years later that their influences would trickle down into the



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