Fast fashion is a type of fashion which is cheap and trendy clothing and where the samples ideas are gathered from the catwalk or celebrity culture and are turned into garments. So we can say that fast fashion has 3 components from the consumers perspective. It’s cheap, trendy and disposable. So it makes clothes affordable to people.
But there is a history behind this phenomenon of fast fashion. Until the mid-twentieth century the fashion industry worked for four seasons in a year. The designers predicted that what would be the choice of customers and relying on this they would work many months in advance. But this method changed drastically in the 1960s and 1970s.During this time, the young generation started to create new ideas using cheap material and this also created new trends. Although most fashion brands tried a lot to get any idea of keeping up with the increasing demand for affordable clothes, but still there was not a fishy distinction between the high-end and high street fashion. Then finally in the late 1990s and early 2000s, fast fashion became a booming industry in America with people enthusiastically partaking in consumerism.
There are some popular fashion brands that helped fast fashion to start and still they are related to this and also adding many new brands. Such as Zara, Asos.com, Inditex, Fashion nova, C&A, H&M, Boohoo, Forever21, New Look etc.
In this world, everything has some merits and demerits. Fast fashion is not out of this matter too.
The benefits of fast fashion are clear. It’s inexpensive clothing.bIn response to the latest trend it is produced to mass market retailers. It also helps to try different styles and trends in a short time without having much change in budget.
There are some disadvantages too. It’s unsustainable. Most of the time the focus lies on imitation of original products. Thus it misleads the customers. Again use of cheap, toxic textile dyes has become a cause of pollution of clean water globally after agriculture.
There is a close relation between fast fashion and Bangladesh. Fast fashion retailers cannot easily own the factories that supply them with their wares. Alternatively, a huge part of garment and footwear orders are outsourced to suppliers in emerging markets like Bangladesh, where overhead is cheap and the cost of human labor is cheaper.
The fact about fast fashion as career can be said that the jobs fast fashion creates are not good enough. Because deaths and injuries are common in our industry, from the infamous Rana Plaza factory collapse to the lesser known but constant truck accidents which injure, kill, and hurt garment makers on their way.
But over the past few years, fast fashion has established itself in an extremely hot segment and become a source to help some clothing companies to increase and be stable on their economic growth.
The merits and demerits of fast fashion is a matter of a never ending argument. So we need to find a way to balance between fast fashion and sustainable fashion.
Nahema Haque Khushi Department of Textile Fashion and Design, Bangladesh University of Textiles,
To read a case study of fast fashion vs slow fashion, you can go here!