Ferociously Fast Fashion

H & M wants you to spend more and buy less.

Back in the day there were two fashion seasons fall/winter and spring/summer but now there are as many as 52 “micro seasons”. The goal with Fast Fashion is to encourage consumers to buy as much as possible as quickly as possible.  Designer selections at mass-markets are soaring out of the stores as quickly as they are stocked. New Merchandise and styles hit the stores about every six weeks making the change of collections very fast. Some Fast Fashion stores such as H&M and Forever21 get daily shipments of new styles, while Topshop presents approximately 400 styles a week on its website. The changing dynamics of the fashion industry have strained retailers to hunger after low-cost and flexibility in design, quality, and speed to market. Quality is lack lustered when it comes to disposable fashion and buyers are becoming more aware of this. “A generation of consumers has grown up wearing what is often referred to as ‘fast fashion’ — trendy, inexpensive versions of runway looks that shoppers wear for one season, or one occasion, and often toss,” reports Elizabeth Holmes at The Wall Street Journal. “Now, many of these shoppers are graduating to a philosophy of quality not quantity.”

H & M-Versace 2011

How will this affect Fast Fashion giants like Zara and H & M? Both companies made the most valuable Fast Fashion Brands list for Forbes and according to Women’s Wear Daily H & M, The Swedish retailer will open nearly 365 new stores this year and will continue to expand. The focus on speed has changed how retailers produce and how much we buy. With global sales of $17 billion in 2013, H&M is the second-largest apparel retailer in the world after Zara parent Inditex. The global apparel market is estimated to be $1.1 trillion.

Karl-Johan Persson, managing director of H & M said, “We want to make fashion affordable, so it’s not throwaway fashion. We see a trend of a lot of companies growing in the low-price area. We want to offer good design and affordable, good quality. We’re investing in improving the quality.” Read more here from the WWD interview with Persson. Maybe fast fashion could slow down a bit. As Coco Chanel would say, fashion changes but style endures.

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