This report is the second part in a two-part series examining the impact fast fashion has had on the apparel and footwear industry and identifying key opportunities and challenges for brands, as purchasing behaviours shift and new consumerism alters priorities. Fast fashion’s disruptive business model has long dominated the industry, however, as consumers’ sustainability expectations surpass business developments and the concept of agile retail become more widely adopted.
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With the ongoing shifts to digital retailing, particularly among younger generations, fast fashion brands will need to pick up the pace in their digital developments that have until recently been fairly slow.
The move to mobile retailing provides considerable opportunities for fast fashion players. Encompassing the influence of social media and transactional platforms all on one device enables brands to provide a truly personalised service through their brand apps as well as s-commerce concepts.
Traditional players are increasingly moving to more agile operating systems in a bid to compete with fast fashion, while technology start-ups seek to utilise big data and rapid production strategies, threatening fast fashion’s speedy USP.
Despite recycling initiatives and the use of sustainable raw materials, the very nature of disposable fashion continues to contradict the premise of building a sustainable fast fashion company.
With a greater awareness of ethical and sustainable practices, consumers are increasingly turning away from the conspicuous consumption trends of the past to investment items that can be re-used, boosting the popularity of slow fashion.
The throwaway nature of fashion as it stands today is already showing signs of moderation with the rise of ethical orientated brands such as Everlane. However, giants continue to perform well as consumer trends move at a slow pace, providing time to review and implement business strategies.