In the fast fashion world, the style will not last long.
When she moved to New York when she graduated from college, Elizabeth klein liked to be in the old clothes shop, shopping. They’re tucked up in the little streets of Manhattan and brooklyn, where there’s a lot of hunting and a bit of luck that might give you a cheap cocktail dress that no one else has.
Then she found the “fast fashion” world – the eternal 21, H&M and Zara chains, and redefined her whole shopping concept.
“These products are very, very cheap,” says klein, author of “overuse: the shocking high cost of fashion.” “The design is very attractive, and if you go into the store, I think it’s almost impossible for many consumers to go home empty-handed.”
You see some products, it’s just garbage. It’s just crap, you fold it up, you think, yeah, you’re going to wear it to your party on Saturday night – and then it’s going to crash.
Fashion director Simon Collins, parsons new school of design.
‘the sea of clothes’
Over time, klein accumulated 354 pieces of clothing, some of them never worn. She points out that such excesses are not so rare. Chains such as H&M are constantly renovating their wares, introducing fashionable clothing and satisfying customers’ desire for novelty.
“We want to surprise our customers,” said Margareta van den Bosch, the company’s influential fashion consultant. “We want something exciting, and if it always hangs the same thing there, I don’t think it’s that exciting.”
Most of H&M’s clothes are very cheap – for example, a $10 leopard print top or $15 sweater, and consumers can buy fewer than the number of grandparents’ closets. ‘if we go home and decide not to like it, it’s cheap and not even worth paying,’ Mr. Klein said.
But despite their low prices, fast fashion chains can make a huge profit. Sales at H&M’s parent company grew 11 percent in 2012, according to bloomberg. Its chairman and biggest shareholder, stefan persson, is the 17th richest person in the world with a net worth of $26.3 billion. Amancio ortega, the founder of Zara, another highly successful chain, is the third richest man, worth $58.3 billion.
How can these stores sell $10 shirts and make so much money? Mainly because of the quantity.
“Stores like H&M produce hundreds of millions of garments every year,” Mr. Klein said. “They put a little mark on their clothes and make a profit by selling the clothing ocean.” H&M has 2,800 stores in 48 markets and is growing rapidly, particularly in China and the United States, according to the company’s website.
“The price of a store like Forever 21 is so low that it’s almost impossible to go home empty-handed,” said Elizabeth klein, who writes fast fashion.
Michael buckner/getty images.
The success of chains like H&M and Forever 21 represents a paradigm shift in the retail world that has affected every corner of the industry.
In the 1960s, people usually bought their clothes from large retailers like department stores, while department stores bought them from manufacturers. But in the 1970s, retailers began making their own clothing, directly controlling manufacturing and distribution processes.
Stylesight is a company and designers find help retailers, The company’s chief executive, said Frank Bober, this change is one of The pioneers of The women’s clothing chain in Ohio The Limited, The founder of Les Wexner.
“He is the kind of person who admit to it, ‘hey, I can do it yourself, I can understand what my customer need, what my clients want, then I can do it for them, I don’t need to go to a pile of manufacturer to do this,'” said Bober.
The end of the shopping calendar in two seasons.
At the same time, computer technology has changed the whole process, enabling retailers to design, manufacture and deliver products faster and more efficiently. For a while, the fashion industry began with a two-season calendar and began with predictable speed.
“I remember my mother would take me to shopping in the fall, and when I was outside 90 degrees I would wear these itchy sweaters and I would die,” recalls Sharon Graubard, design director of Stylesight. “No more people.”
The relentless drive of speed is now a feature of the industry. Chains like Zara are so fast that they can design, manufacture and store clothes on the shelves within a month. Customers can now easily check the latest fashion online and have become the subject of a new fashion trend that is expected to continue.
This focus on speed has affected all types of retailers, even those that are not normally considered fast fashion.
“What we’re doing is making the industry faster, working faster, and having to produce more products,” said Ed Filipowski, President of KCD, a public relations firm that represents some of the biggest and best-known fashion brands. “It creates a year-round fashion calendar, not a twice-yearly fashion calendar, which makes our job more difficult and makes creativity a constant challenge.”
But now that retailers have stirred up customers’ demands for novelty, they must ensure that their prices are reasonable – a big challenge. That means making in low-wage countries like China, but also means using cheap synthetic materials and basic manufacturing processes.
The simple fact is that fast fashion doesn’t take more than a few washes. Simon Collins, head of the fashion department at parsons the new school of design, loves the way fast fashion brings a certain style to the crowd, but he says it’s so bad.
Author Elizabeth klin remembers buying a shirt when the old navy used to buy a shirt. “My vest has two flowers, a bit like a belt, and… After I started writing this book, I began to look at my clothes, and the flowers were actually taped with some kind of tape. It’s not even sewn. ”
Poor quality has turned fast fashion brands into derogation, so that chains like uniqlo and H&M now reject the term altogether.
The chain also has other image problems. Cline says that a growing number of people agree that the mass production of such cheap clothing is a huge waste of resources such as fuel and water. She points out that while many people donate their clothes to charity and consignment stores, fast fashion is often so cheap that no one wants to buy it. Instead, it will be recycled into industrial rags and insulation, and will even be completely abandoned – creating the term “landfill fashion”.
Fast fashion models can also be cracked in other ways. Chinese factory workers who make a lot of clothing are increasingly looking for higher wages.
Companies have shifted production to places where wages are lower, such as Bangladesh. But these countries lack China’s complex manufacturing infrastructure and sometimes tragedy to fill the void. A suburb of the fire capital of the garment factory, dhaka, killed 112 people in November.
There is no doubt that the industry will adapt as time goes on, but the age of fashion is getting faster and cheaper, and the era may be over.