The business model of fast fashion is unavoidable nowadays, it has proven to be successful over time; which in other terms, meaning there will be an increasing number of brands that are running on a fast fashion business model. However, there are still ways to limit the damage fast fashion pasts towards environment, labor and the creative industry.
The reason they have became so successful is because they’ve filled a gap in the market. Much like any other industries, businesses will succeed if it fulfills consumers need. In order to understand why the fast fashion industry is thriving, we must take a look at the backbone, consumers.
Why is fast fashion popular?
The vast majority of consumer follows trend, trend is an important element of fast fashion. As the internet becomes increasingly popular, informations are passed around in a much faster pace; trends are also shifting in a faster rate. With the market-driven approach, fast fashion companies are able to respond to it quickly and churn out new products based on the trend before it dies out. Fast fashion companies releases new products on a weekly bases, the model urges consumers to purchase their latest up to trend products.
Fast fashion products are generally priced at the low-end of the scale, cheap prices attracts consumers to spend; When presented with a low price, consumers rarely think of the consequences and what is happening behind the scenes; who would argues with a low price?
Fast fashion companies spends millions of dollars on advertising; on-site, mobile, web, discounts and referral are common ways of advertising. Consumers are often presented with special discounts that seems hard to pass, they are more than often referred through advertisements displayed on their devices while browsing the internet; and with nowadays technology, advertisements can be targeted to certain consumers with a certain set of interests.
How is fast fashion negatively impacting the industry?
While Fast fashion is ultimately changing consumers behaviour towards apparel products, consumers are unaware cost of fast fashion towards environment, labor, and creative industry.
Environment and labor issues has been the most exposed topics by the media. In order to cut down the price, companies uses cheap material; which is mostly not environmentally friendly. Labors are also payed with extreme low wage and work long hours in order to supply the demand; labors are not paid a “living wage” while companies can easily do so without passing the cost down to consumers. Fast fashion companies have little to no concern over these issues as we have not seen it being addressed or corrected.
High-end fashion are not favorable by the majority of consumers, mainly because of the high price; hence, knock-off’s and copyright issues are rarely part of consumers concern. Knockoff designs wastes resources that can be used on actually innovating. Furthermore, it emphasizes how fast fashion companies are market driven instead of product driven.
How can we make a change?
Educating consumers is the key of making a change, we need to educate consumers on how to preserve clothing and develop ones unique style. Discover, up and coming brands that places importance on material and originality. As well as increasing the awareness of the damage fast fashion companies does through media and campaign.
Set laws to forbid companies from certain practices. I do understand that is is impossible to create laws to forbid companies from practices such as cheap labor, environmentally damaging material; as America is based on a free market and companies will always find holes through the legal system. However, there are reasonable laws that can be enforced to ban knock-offs. Once it is done, companies will be forced to come out with original designs.
As we are expected to see a rise in the apparel industry in the future, it is crucial for us, people who are making fashion to be aware to such business models. While it negatively impacts us in dozens of ways, it fills a need in the market. It is important to understand the business from a consumer’s point of view. Changing the industry is not just about finding a fix, it takes time to educate and bring awareness to the consumers. While there is no law to forbid any of the negative impacts fast fashion companies practice, the final decision is in the hands of us, consumers.
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